You can’t blame remote workers in Europe for feeling they get no respect — at least from their bosses.

That’s because only about a third (35 percent) of employers trust their remote staff, even though only 19 percent feel productivity has suffered during the shift to remote work, a survey by Ricoh Europe found.

Despite the confidence in remote workers’ output, 39 percent of business leaders feel employees don’t work as hard or effectively as in the office, it revealed.

While that suggest that employers will recall workers to the office once pandemic restrictions ease, 42 percent of company decision-makers report that their teams are concerned about returning to in-office work because of Covid-19 fears.

“A failure to acknowledge these concerns could not only impact morale but risk losing good people,” Ricoh Europe said in the study, which polled 1,500 decision-makers across Europe.

The poll showed most European business leaders are beginning to get the message. Fifty-seven percent believe that investing in flexible working technology is essential to attracting and retaining talent.

The ‘onus on leaders’

“The challenge for business leaders is to remain mindful that remote and hybrid working are two different things,” CEO David Mills said in the report. “It stands to reason that less commuting, a greater sense of flexibility, and having the trust of your manager are significant contributing factors to a more empowered and inspired workforce. This puts the onus on leaders to make their hybrid work model as successful as possible.”

Maintaining an office — at least on a part-time basis — will be  key to bolstering collaboration and the creative process, according to Ricoh Europe.

“Having an office-based workforce is vitally important to the success of our business, as it is for most across the continent. The office will never go away — not least as the undisputed environment for optimal productivity, ideation and developing relationships with colleagues,” Mills added.

Blending in-person work with telecommuting has proven to be a suitable arrangement for Ricoh Europe, the company said.

“At Ricoh Europe, we have created a hybrid working policy where staff can opt to spend 50 percent of their time working from home and 50 percent of their time in the office. We’re proud to offer this as we support work-life balance and understand its importance to both existing and prospective employees in search of modern and flexible working,” Chief Operating Officer Nicola Downing said in the study.

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