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【Survey for Creators Working From Home】 How distant communication affects team performance.

Live2D Inc., an animation software developer in Japan, conducted a survey with 1,170 respondents (733 in Japan and 437 overseas) in order to understand the communication challenges faced by creators working from home due to the COVID-19 epidemic. The results reveal that the lack of communication is negatively affecting team performance, and that, despite its effectiveness, creators are reluctant to use video calls due to organizational policies as well as privacy concerns.

Most creators has shifted to working from home

Approximately 80% (Japan 84%, Overseas 75%) of creators who previously commuted to office has now started working from home due to the COVID-19 epidemic,​ suggesting that it is relatively easy for creators to change the work environment.

Individual vs. Team : How working from home affectsperformance.

When asked about their work performance while working from home, only a small fraction of creators feel that their team performance improved, which is significantly​ lower as compared to their individual performance.

Communication challenges bring down team performance.

When asked about the biggest reason for their decreased team performance, many creators identified communication related factors with “Lack of communication (meeting & conversation)” being No. 1 followed by ”Lack of clear instructions.” as well as “Lack of motivation / concentration.”

Communication tool of choice: Chat app

Chat app is the most used tool of communication for creators working from home as 70% use it, implying that frequent communication via chat app supplements to the lack of communication. Video calls, which is used for meeting and verbal conversation, is used by abut half of the creators (Japan 54%, Overseas 44%).

Are video calls effective?

The majority of creators (Japan 71%, Overseas 54%) find video calls an effective way of communication for improving work performance while less than 9% do not find it effective.

Effectiveness is not enough for video calls: Organization, Privacy & Appearance.

The most common reason for not using video calls is “Our company/team does not use it.” followed by psychological reasons such as “I have a privacy concerns (showing my face and room).” and “Preparing my appearance is a hassle.”

Tips for improving team performance.

Dr. Akihiko Shirai, Director of GREE VR Studio Lab & Visiting professor in Digital Hollywood University Graduate School, commented on these results as follows:

It is interesting to find that some results are noticeably different for Japan and overseas. There are more people in overseas who feel that their team performance decreased after shifting to working from home. Also in Japan, “Lack of communication” and “Lack of internet or data-sharing system” accounted for 25% each as the reason for the decreased performance, while in overseas “Lack of communication” accounted for 42%, followed by “Lack of motivation/concentration” at 26%.

When it comes to team performance for creators in the remote environment, the most important thing is to find ways to improve ‘the overall ability of team’ with faith in each member rather than micro-managing their tasks with suspicion. Therefore team communication should be designed to foster ‘the overall ability of team’, for example, sharing presence with coworkers, providing opportunities to develop mutual respect, and exploring the joy of working together as a team”.

Moreover, to attract new talents, active extracurricular communications such as "ZOOM drinking party" and "online club activities/study groups" will be important. I hope that together we can develop a unique environment for creators in this country that the world will envy!

--- Survey Outline ---
Project : Survey for Creators Working From Home
Survey conducted by : Live2D Inc.
Survey targets (samples) : 1,170 Creators (Japan 733, Overseas 437)
Survey period : April 23 ~ 27, 2020
Survey method : Online
Cooperation: ​ ​ ​ ​ Akihiko Shirai, Ph.D,
Director of GREE VR Studio Lab
Visiting professor in Digital Hollywood University Graduate School

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