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Lack of in-person catch-ups driving workers to quit

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Two thirds of white-collar workers are forecast to leave their jobs this year due to a lack of face-to-face communication with managers, as a result of working from home.

A quarter of professionals surveyed by recruitment consultancy Robert Walters and Walters People said they have no communication at all with their manager when working from home, and half believe that fewer in-person interactions has negatively impacted their output.

Ruth Cornish, founder and director of HR consultancy Amelore, said she is not surprised remote work is taking a toll.

“Human beings crave interaction and whilst face-to-face meetings energise, Zoom can be draining and stressful,” Cornish told HR magazine.

“We have been working remotely for almost two years and this has damaged and hindered relationships that relied on informal social interaction which has fallen by the wayside.”


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England and Wales are to drop coronavirus restrictions, including enforced working from home, from next week. However, employers will need to be mindful of how any new, digital ways of working continue to impact workers.

A third of managers in the survey said they had opted for video or phone call-based catch-ups with their staff for good.

The majority (62%) also said they would decline a job offer if not delivered either face to face, or at least via video call.

Likewise, Cornish believes a vibrant, in-person work culture will be key to talent attraction.

She said: “I keep hearing about employees choosing to join organisations that have an active office space over those that have gone predominantly online. Structured face-to-face interaction is a key weapon against The Great Resignation."

Toby Fowlston, Robert Walters and Walters People CEO, added: “Job satisfaction takes many forms, but these survey results highlight how companies need to be acutely aware of the potentially negative effects of impersonal processes for hiring or managing employees.

“Where in many instances technology and the virtual world can aid proficiency, it is no replacement for human interaction when trying to engage a prospective employee or onboard a new hire.”

Robert Walters and Walters People’s annual employee survey was carried out in January and completed on average by 4,000 white collar professionals.