American-based research group finds team morale stronger in remote workers than on-site workers

A survey conducted by the ADP Research Institute (ADPRI) has yielded surprising results about companies’ team morale during the COVID-19 pandemic, finding that a majority of employees working remotely felt a stronger sense of team spirit as opposed to their counterparts who worked in-office.

The survey included 9,000 workers in the United States who either worked remotely or on-site up to March 2021. Among its findings, which were only recently made public, was that when it came to interpersonal relationships among colleagues, remote workers experienced an overwhelming “win”.

“Remote workers surveyed since the pandemic indicate that their teams possess a collective energy that transcends physical separation — or perhaps exists to compensate for it,” ADPRI noted.

“They are more likely to say their team is ‘collaborative’ (62 percent, compared to 47 percent among on-site workers) and ‘supportive’ (66 percent vs. 59 percent), and less likely to say it is ‘gossipy’ (nine percent vs. 20 percent) and ‘cliquish’ (seven percent vs. 10 percent) than on-site workers.

“In contrast to remote workers’ experience, the familiarity of physical proximity for on-site workers may give rise to more instances of workplace gossip and preferential connections that make team dynamics less collaborative and supportive.”

Even more stunning was that the survey found this sentiment shared among two groups with opposite demographics — recent college graduates ages 18 to 30 who were just joining the workforce on one hand, and senior employees ages 50 and older on the other.

Breathing room

The survey also found that remote workers were less likely to feel as though managers were constantly looking over their shoulders, and in some instances were more likely to feel that creativity and innovation were encouraged.

ADPRI outlined, “Perhaps because the remote environment is reported as conducive to collaboration, remote workers also indicate that their work environment is less ‘stuffy’ and more agile than on-site workers do.

“On-site workers are more likely to say they feel micromanaged than remote workers. This is particularly visible among employees working in Information; Professional and Business Services; and Finance and Real Estate, where notably more on-site workers cite feeling micromanaged than remote workers.”

It added, “Additionally, on-site workers surveyed in this study are less likely than remote workers to say that innovation is encouraged in their work environment compared to remote workers — a finding that may be counterintuitive to the traditional perception that innovation is linked to environments of face-to-face interaction.”

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ADP Research Institute report: “On-site, Remote or Hybrid: Employee Sentiment on the Workplace” —

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