The pandemic has changed employees’ perception of the workplace, but it has also affected the way they engage in their work in dynamic hybrid and remote environments. No matter what your role in the company may be, you already know that not every work is equally valuable and that your employees dedicate specific portions of time to strategic work, skillful work, and work about work every day.
If you want to gain a better understanding of the way your employees’ engagement has changed over the past two years, start collecting real-time data via computer monitoring. An efficient employee monitoring software like Insightful can help you better understand your employees working patterns and adapt quickly to these changes.
What are 3 Types of Work?
- Strategic work is all about planning, predicting, and controlling risks, defining and aligning goals, and keeping employees engaged in their work. Shortly, this is the most attention-demanding and cognitively challenging work you need to do to secure your team’s success.
- Skillful work involves working on assignments and projects that fit your role in the company based on formal education or informal training you’ve gained over the years.
- Work for work refers to all the routine tasks you and your employees need to tackle.
Daily to ensure seamless communication and collaboration between team members. Time spent on checking and answering emails or on lengthy meetings is unproductive, and it draws your attention from completing tasks and projects. Work for work prevents you from focusing on strategic or skillful work.
Let’s see now how employee engagement and workflow have fluctuated over the past two years regarding these work types.
Work for Work Takes up a Huge Chunk of Employees’Hours
According to the Asana Anatomy of Work Index study, employees have spent a staggering 60% of their time on work for work tasks, dedicating barely over one-third of their workweek to strategic and skillful work.
This number has dropped to 57% in the post-Covid era, but it still indicates that work for work issue is here to stay, and it demands immediate attention.
Further analysis shows that employees tend to spend less time on unproductive meetings. Unfortunately, the numbers also show that 38% of employees feel the urge to check their emails more than they did the year before. The employee engagement survey also indicates that every second of employees’ time is used to complete routine tasks, creating significant barriers to achieving strategic work. Analyzing these data points can help us better understand how to engage employees in their work and increase their productivity.
Employees receive approximately 32 emails a day during work hours, meaning that the email notifications shatter their focus needed for meaningful work every 15 minutes.
If you think that remote workers tend to spend more time on work for work than office-based ones, you’re wrong. This study shows that all employees are prone to spending more time than needed handling unproductive tasks. So work for work isn’t related to where your employees work, but how they work.
Hybrid Work Opportunities May Provide More Time for Skillful Work
While time spent on work for work consumes around 60% of work hours, and this rate is constant, the study shows that employees find more time for skillful, meaningful work in the post-Covid era. They tend to dedicate 27% more of their time to working on their tasks now than they did in 2021.
This increase in skillful work time can be attributed to hybrid work opportunities. Employees believe that they can focus more on their ongoing tasks when working from home, avoiding office clutter and distractions. This may explain why hybrid and remote work are increasingly popular among the global workforce.
Also, more time spent on skillful work reflects positively on overall employees’ performance. By dedicating more time to focused work, employees tend to meet their deadlines more efficiently and frequently than before, lowering the missed deadlines rate to 15%.
Time Spent on Strategic Work is on a Downward Spiral
Strategic work is critical for your company’s long-term success. All your plans, processes, technology, and employees depend on strategy. For this reason, numbers showing that employees spend 36% less time on strategic work than a year before should set off all alarms.
Tackling strategic tasks is demanding, requiring strong problem-solving skills and making tough decisions. This is why employees need in-person, office-based collaboration with their colleagues where they can engage in constructive brainstorming or problem-solving sessions. Thus remote workers may struggle with engaging in strategic work.
Furthermore, if you’re not ready to handle work for work issues and limit the time spent on unproductive tasks or meetings, your strategic work will suffer. More importantly, investing too much time in work for work tasks can easily lead your employees to burnout. While 40% of employees now perceive burnout as a precondition for success, this severe issue can affect their health and ability to commit to strategic work.
How Can You Adapt to These Changes?
The perception of the workplace has changed dramatically, and with it, the way employees engage in skillful, strategic, and work-for-work tasks. If you want to adapt quickly, making the most of their skillful and strategic time at the expense of time spent on working for work, you need to take specific steps.
Try to eliminate unnecessary meetings and introduce asynchronous communication in your workflow. Furthermore, make employee well-being your top priority, identifying and preventing burnout as a serious threat to employees’ health and engagement.
Finally, you can always rely on user activity monitoring to gain accurate data on how your employees use their work hours and see whether your measures have worked or if you need to make further improvements.
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