The shift to remote and hybrid working has led to a rise in productivity, according to a new survey from PwC.

The majority of business leaders responding to its latest Future of Work survey said that their companies had performed ahead of expectations over the past 12 months.

That was despite the impact the pandemic has had on their employees' location.

"Clearly some of those organisations have found super-users - individuals who are able to work at home and to delivery some of those workloads in a more efficient and effective manner," said Ger McDonough, Partner, PwC People & Organisation.

"Only 4% of organisations said they had lower levels of productivity during this period," he added.

However the survey also found that only a quarter of respondents strongly agreed that staff workloads were manageable, raising the potential for employee burnout.

"It’s a massive risk - the survey pointed to the fact that 74% of organisations are not fully confident that their workload is manageable," he said. "The critical thing for organisations to do is to work with employees, to involve them and to think about how you bring your employees into the conversation and involve them in their future.

"Trust is massively important."

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The survey also highlighted companies’ short-comings in regards to building trust between supervisors and workers - which is crucial in the continued success of a workplace, especially a remote one.

The PwC survey is based around responses from almost 4,000 business and HR leaders from 26 countries and regions, including Ireland.

While businesses have managed to adapt relatively well to the pandemic-induced shift to remote working, it found that most were unprepared for future changes.

Less than a third of respondents said they could rapidly adjust workforce strategies to deal with new challenges, while only a quarter were confident they could identify the skills they’ll need in the future.

"A lot of leaders are not confident in terms of bringing in new technologies and digitising their workforce," Mr McDonough said. "They are not very confident that they understand what are the skills they need to plan for in relation to the future.

"And they’re also suggesting that they’re not very good at communicating, in a consistent or clear manner, what the future of work is going to look like."

Meanwhile the potential risk of automation was not fully understood by three quarters of the business and HR leaders that responded to the survey.