As the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc, large companies around the world made it a priority to transition their workforce to a home environment. In the years to come, managing this remote workforce will be a gigantic challenge for chief executive officers, according to a study by IBM.
In the survey, employees said they love working from home, with many calling it the perfect tool to achieve work-life balance. One in four employees planning to change employers cited the need for a flexible work schedule and location.
“Many employees’ expectations of their employers have significantly changed,” said Mark Foster, Senior Vice President, IBM Services.
“The ‘anywhere’ workforce can require leaders to provide agile technology, to adopt more empathetic leadership models that prioritize employee well-being and to champion flexible and inclusive cultures.”
According to the report, when the pandemic hit, CEOs focused much time on remote-working, indicating that it was a greater strategic priority than cost reduction and customer engagement.
In the survey, best-performing CEOs (chief executives whose companies are making a tremendous profit) expressed concern at the task of managing the new remote workforce.
That’s because these well-performing CEOs are “hyper-focused” on supporting the wellbeing of their employees, says the report, adding that the executives would rather have a cut in their profit than helplessly watch their employees struggle in their workplace.
In the survey, the outperforming CEOs said they would support employee well-being even at the cost of profitability or budget, a 97% higher rate compared to their “underperforming” peers.
As a result, chief technology officers (CIOs) and chief HR officers are increasingly gaining prominence.