The Disconnect Between Remote Workers and Their Companies Is Getting Bigger | Kanebridge News
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The Disconnect Between Remote Workers and Their Companies Is Getting Bigger

More people who work from home say they don’t feel a connection to the mission of their employers

By LINDSAY ELLIS
Fri, Aug 25, 2023 8:50amGrey Clock 3 min

People who work from home are feeling more disconnected from the larger mission of their employers.

In a new Gallup survey, the share of remote workers who said they felt a connection to the purpose of their organisations fell to 28% from 32% in 2022—the lowest level since before the pandemic. The findings are from a survey this spring and summer of nearly 9,000 U.S. workers whose jobs can be done remotely.

By contrast, a third of full-time office workers reported a similar sense of connection, nearly the same as last year. Hybrid workers clocked in highest, with 35% saying their companies’ mission made them feel their jobs were important.

The findings have broader implications for businesses worried about remote work’s effects on employee loyalty and team productivity. For now, many workers say remote work affords them the ability to focus on their essential duties and avoid some of the extracurriculars of office life. This leaves it to companies to try to foster that sense of connection.

In short, more remote workers appear to be approaching their jobs with “a gig-worker mentality,” fulfilling the basic responsibilities of the role rather than anticipating the broader needs of their team or company, said Jim Harter, chief workplace scientist at Gallup, which has tracked worker engagement since 2000. Most professional roles, he points out, tacitly include expectations that go beyond the actual work, such as mentoring others or spurring innovation.

“That’s much more likely to happen if they feel they’re part of something significant,” he said.

Despite the lack of connection, the Gallup survey showed 38% of people who work remotely full- or part-time are engaged, or enthused about their work, compared with 34% of in-office workers.

The conflicting metrics show bosses don’t have any easy answers as they try to provide flexible working arrangements yet fret about worker productivity. Nearly 30% of U.S. workers in remote-capable jobs work exclusively at home, according to Gallup, a share that hasn’t wavered much in the past year. One reason they score higher in Gallup’s engagement metrics than their office peers is that they say they have a clear idea of what’s expected of them.

Many managers are unsatisfied with the current setup. In a Federal Reserve Bank of New York survey of business leaders released this month, the majority said remote work helped in recruiting employees yet worsened workplace culture, team cohesion and mentorship.

“People are a little bit more prone to drift to other employment, feeling less attached to the workplace,” said Howard Liu, chair of the psychiatry department at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, where clinicians can work several days each week from home and see patients virtually.

There’s also a risk that senior faculty may not think to include junior colleagues on presentations or projects if they don’t run into them in person, Liu said. His department now plans large outdoor events each quarter and recently rolled out smaller-group meals, where about 10 colleagues—from clinicians to receptionists—sign up to eat together. The department foots the bill.

Companies are fine-tuning how they manage their remote workforces, adding more virtual check-ins and team-building activities. Some are also bringing them together physically at more critical moments in their work with their teams.

Mr. Cooper, a Dallas-based mortgage lender and servicer, introduced a “home-centric” work model last year, letting staff still mostly work at home while having them come into the office occasionally. But as mortgage rates climbed and business got tougher, the lender’s sales managers asked their teams to come in one to three days a week, said Kelly Ann Doherty, its chief administrative officer.

The managers felt on-site work would help team members learn more from each other, improve individual performance and feel more invested in the organization, she said. It’s paid off: Productivity has improved, and the teams have closed more deals since, she said.

At Microsoft, just over a quarter of teams work together in the same location, compared with 61% of them pre pandemic. The company is now using data from internal research on in-person work and employee surveys to guide managers on when it’s most effective to work face-to-face.

One early finding is that new hires who meet their manager in person in the first 90 days are more likely to ask colleagues for feedback and say they are comfortable discussing problems with managers. These workers are also more likely to say that their teammates ask them for input to inform decisions or solve problems, Microsoft said.

“Think about social connection as a battery—you need to charge that battery every once in a while,” said Dawn Klinghoffer, vice president for human-resources business insights.



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AACCI’s Strategic Vision for Enhancing Australia-Arab Trade Relations
AACCI’s Strategic Vision for Enhancing Australia-Arab Trade Relations

The Australian Arab Chamber of Commerce & Industry (AACCI) is fostering robust trade relations between Australia and Arab countries.

Mon, May 20, 2024 5 min

In an era where global trade and international relationships are more crucial than ever, the Australia Arab Chamber of Commerce & Industry (AACCI) serves as a bridge, for cooperation and growth between Australia and the Arab nations. Led by its Chairman, Mr. Mohamed Hage, the AACCI has taken on projects aimed at strengthening relationships and fostering development across borders.

This exclusive interview explores the initiatives implemented by the AACCI to expand its presence and influence in the region including the significant establishment of a new operational hub in Dubai. We also delve into how the Chamber embraces education through training and research, its participation in major international exhibitions, and its active support for both large corporations and small businesses.

Looking towards tomorrow, Mr. Mohamed shares his vision for broadening AACCI’s reach emphasizing the importance of the on-ground operations and cultural understanding in building business connections.

-Could you elaborate on the Australia Arab Chamber of Commerce & Industry, including its objectives and main areas of focus?

The Australia Arab Chamber of Commerce & Industry (AACCI) plays a fundamental role, in promoting business partnerships and trade between Australia and the 22 Arab countries. As a member of the Union of Arab Chambers affiliated with the Arab League, AACCI focuses on strengthening trade and investment ties, across these countries.

To nurture these connections effectively AACCI has outlined four objectives: facilitating trade and investment activities, certifying documents, educating stakeholders, and offering marketing assistance.

Our initiatives are designed not only to empower trade and investment endeavors but to also ensure engagement with specific sectors that drive these activities. With an understanding of the characteristics, strengths and preferences of each country, AACCI prides itself on its specialized knowledge customized to suit the distinct business environments of these nations.

– As the AACCI approaches its 50th anniversary, what have been some of the key milestones and achievements?

I believe one of AACCI’s accomplishments is the opportunities it has opened up for numerous Australian companies to access markets, in the region. Moreover, the strong bilateral trade relationship that has developed between Australia and the 22 Arab nations over the five decades has led to trade transactions amounting to billions of dollars.

This extensive trade covers industries such as food and beverages, luxury hotels and many more services. Each successive generation, within AACCI has built upon the foundation laid by its predecessors enriching their knowledge base and expanding their range of services.

– How does the AACCI leverage its diverse leadership team to enhance trade and investment opportunities between Australia and the Arab region?

Since taking on the role of chairman, my main focus has been on expanding our presence in the region. This led to the idea of opening an office in Dubai, which symbolizes our dedication to deepening our engagement in that area. We have successfully secured the license to open our first office in Dubai after 50 years, which will serve as a gateway to the GCC and North Africa.

I strongly believe that building two-way trade and investment ties requires more than a degree of business connectivity; it demands having local representatives present in each region. With trends emphasizing strategies the value of face-to-face engagements cannot be overstated.

Setting up offices in the region is essential for the Chamber to truly serve as a link and support system for business activities. Ultimately this expansion will bring benefits to our members and partners by providing them with access, to dynamic markets and diverse prospects.

– Can you discuss the significance of AACCI’s role in cultural and business exchanges between the two regions?

The importance of understanding cultures in our operations cannot be overstated. To address this, we have included a training platform within the Chamber to strengthen our cultural awareness initiatives. This new program offers our members access to modules on our website focusing on global business practices.

Furthermore, we have set up a Center of Excellence specifically dedicated to researching areas like food security and cultural awareness. These research endeavors are essential for promoting knowledge between the two regions.

By combining the resources of the Center of Excellence, our training resources, and the forthcoming local office in Dubai, we’re providing cultural awareness not only in the region but also in Australia. This approach ensures that our members are well equipped and knowledgeable boosting their effectiveness and involvement, in markets.

– What is the objective of your on-ground presence at conferences and events?

Participating in conferences and on ground events is very important for increasing awareness in industries like construction where knowledge of opportunities in the Arab world may not be widespread. When we see projects such as NEOM or notice the construction boom happening in the region it becomes important for organizations like the Chamber of Commerce to highlight these prospects. By taking part in large scale expos such as the Sydney Build Expo we position ourselves at the forefront of these advancements.

Our presence at these events enables interaction giving entrepreneurs a chance to visit our booth engage in discussions and learn more about the region in an approachable and personalized manner. This plays a role in simplifying the process and making opportunities concrete.

– With such a diverse membership base, how does AACCI tailor its services to meet the needs of both large corporations and small startups?

When it comes to discussing business it’s important to grasp how influence and vision come into play. Businesses looking to expand are often motivated by a desire to achieve something whether they are big companies or small enterprises. Small businesses typically aim to raise their brands profile while larger corporations seek recognition and market dominance.

Standing out in this area can be tough mainly because the key driving force is the passion to showcase the brand and products on a platform. This determination serves as a motivator for entrepreneurs.

At the Chamber we make a point of recognizing the needs of both big and small players by understanding each members individual situation. We ensure that every member is well informed about the opportunities and risks that come with expanding. For small businesses, this means being aware of the financial demands, while large businesses are advised on the necessity of both financial and emotional resilience.

– How does AACCI plan to expand or evolve its services in the coming years to further support its members?

The importance of having resources on the ground cannot be emphasized enough. Having local staff is key to establishing connections with the communities we serve. Without a presence in the area staying updated on events and activities becomes quite challenging.

This is why, as I’ve mentioned before, we have established an office in Dubai, staffed with personnel dedicated to supporting our members. This local office will help us effectively bridge the gap between Australia and the Arab world. And our members will benefit from insights and assistance from someone who truly knows the landscape.

In Australia we have equipped offices throughout the country staffed by individuals who play a significant role in our operations. This strong domestic network complements our efforts ensuring that we provide support to our members both locally and globally. This strategic approach is crucial, for nurturing business relationships and fostering continental understanding.

 

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