Trust and Productivity

Productivity isn't about where you work; it's about how you're managed

With many employees working remotely for the first time, there was much speculation on the effect this would have on employee productivity. Our findings underline the importance of workplace relationships based on trust to support a productive workforce.

Management Transformed: Managing in a Marathon Crisis is a CMI research project exploring the extraordinary challenges and new ways of working that emerged in 2020.

Our Key Findings

In August 2020, CMI polled nearly 2,300 senior leaders, managers and employees to understand their experience of managing during the pandemic.

The headlines from our findings around productivity and trust were:

  • We have seen a massive shift to remote working, but our research actually shows that where you work does not impact on workplace happiness or productivity.
  • Trust is critical to productivity in the era of Covid: the location that staff work in has little impact as to whether managers perceive that productivity has increased.
  • Management is universally important and employees’ needs remain broadly the same.

You can find more detail on these findings below.

Management Transformed Report

The research underpinning this study was conducted when management was on ‘high alert’, and managers’ capabilities were under unprecedented pressure and scrutiny. That makes this snapshot particularly powerful.

For each theme, the report sets out the practical steps that aspiring managers, middle managers and senior leaders should take, to learn from the experience of this marathon crisis.

Because after all, we know the future success of UK businesses will depend on how managers and leaders step up to the next set of challenges.

Read the report to see what you can learn today.

View Report Online Download Report

Our Detailed Findings

Here we unpack some of the report’s key data insights and the experience of practicing managers.

Remote Working

Covid-19 led to a previously inconceivable large-scale move to remote working - 48% of UK employees now work remotely or in a hybrid way. But our data shows productivity is not about place - at least not the physical workplace - and concerns about where your staff work driving up or reducing productivity appear unfounded. 41% of managers said direct reports had increased their productivity - broadly the same regardless of workplace settings.

If you're working remotely and want to keep up with your CPD, check out CMI Bitesize - our new, innovative series of practical online programmes which cater to the growing demand for micro-learning.

Managerial Trust

Instead, the secret to improved productivity is trust. Where managers trust their direct reports, they find that productivity rises. Where managers say they don’t trust their direct reports, they were more likely to say that staff are less productive. Positively, most of those we surveyed reported high trust levels between managers and direct reports.

To explore this further, you may like to check out Ann Francke OBE’s Better Managers Briefing with the FT’s Andrew Hill where they discussed trust and Management Transformed - you can watch the webinar online, or read Ann’s blog on the briefing.

Importance of Managers

Managers play a key role in building workplace trust and are therefore critical to ensuring the productivity of teams, wherever they are based. A manager’s role is becoming ever more critical in this new world: 85% of those we surveyed say their managers will be more or as important in the future world of work.

Are you ready for the future? Take a look at the opportunities for education and learning that CMI offers to supercharge your CPD. Looking for the ultimate professional accolade for managers? Read more about starting your journey to Chartered Manager status.

Resources for Trust and Productivity

We have collated a number of resources to help you put into action the practical findings from Management Transformed around productivity and trust. You can find these below.

CMI Members have access to a wealth of CPD tools and resources, which equips you to deal with any professional challenge. Check out our different membership options, and find the one which suits your needs.

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Latest Resources

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Topic: Flexibility

How to manage a ‘hybrid’ workforce

Some people are working from home; some are in the office; many are doing both. It’s a potential management nightmare

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The four drivers of employee engagement at a time of crisis

We’re at a fork in the road. Leaders must resist their command-and-control instincts and instead dig deeper for re-engagement

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Topic: Flexibility

The surprising benefits of fully remote organisations

With so much uncertainty ahead, is it time to become a FROG (a Fully Remote Organisation)? We ask those working virtually

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Topic: Governance

How not to be a micro-manager

When managers create a ‘freedom framework’ for decision-making and empowerment, they enable their teams to be more autonomous

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Topic: Productivity

Five tips for improving as a manager of a distributed team

Don’t demand constant check-ins. Give your remote team flexibility on working hours.

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Topic: Mental Health and Wellbeing

What managers need to know to help employees cope and perform well

In this exclusive, one of the world’s most respected leadership gurus highlights the five traits of charismatic leaders.

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Topic: Mental Health and Wellbeing

A new psychology of work: workplaces in the post-coronavirus era

With teams working from home, the way we communicate with colleagues has transformed.

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