It isn’t too far-fetched to state motivated people are at the heart of any business success. And throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, workforces throughout Europe have struggled to maintain a certain level of motivation. To find out how unmotivated the workforce was exactly, HR software provider Workday commissioned research with newly-launched Yonder Consulting to better understand the employee sentiment and priorities across Europe.
Yonder undertook just over 17,000 online surveys across the countries, with employees who were below Director level and work at an organisation with 250+ employees.
The research was conducted in nine European countries: the UK, France, Sweden, Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Italy, Belgium and Switzerland. “These nine countries were chosen as they represent a large geographical spread across Europe, capturing the five biggest European economies and were all accessible using an online survey methodology”, as per the report. In total, Yonder undertook just over 17,000 online surveys across the countries, with employees who were below Director level and work at an organisation with 250+ employees.
’61% of Europe worked from home’
As business discussions in Q1 of 2020 seldom mentioned remote workforces — companies were forced to throw everything overboard when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. That lead to large numbers of people working from home. In total, an average of 61% of Europe’s workforce worked from home during 2020. The UK lead the charge, with 71%, while Germany was the last-ranked country with 52%.
A lack of motivation
Overall, one primary point came out of the research: a sincere lack of motivation across the continent. In Europe, British (53%) and Swedish (51%) employees were said to feel the most challenged in terms of motivating themselves at work, while Italians and Germans (39%) came out best (relatively speaking). The largest issue for employees overall was a fairly logical one: worsened communication with colleagues. While the world turned en masse to Zoom and Teams, employees couldn’t interact with colleagues in the ways they used to.
“Despite the conscious effort of many leadership teams to keep employees informed, when the different building blocks that make a successful working culture are examined in isolation, a different story emerges.”
Meanwhile, throughout much of 2020, leadership has been held under a loop. Poor leadership is cited as the number two, primary reason why employees struggled to motivate themselves at work. In France, Switzerland and Italy — it was the number one overall issue. “Despite the conscious effort of many leadership teams to keep employees informed, when the different building blocks that make a successful working culture are examined in isolation, a different story emerges”, the report adds.
‘A smooth, cultural reboarding’
As offices gradually re-open, and makeshift home-offices are once more replaced by on-location workstations — the next challenge arises. As working cultures have changed significantly since the last moment employees set foot in their respective offices — the onus is on leadership to ensure the reboarding process goes smoothly.
“Companies that are able to do that successfully, will be the most effective in retaining employees”
The report sees an opportunity for business who are able to blend the positives of remote working with the benefits an office environment can have. Primarily with regard to connectivity and collaboration. “Companies that are able to do that successfully, will be the most effective in retaining employees”, the report concludes.