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Cisco signposts the new normal of a hybrid workplace

December 13 2020: Networking leader Cisco has released a study  on the evolution of a new hybrid  workplace --  flowing from the unprecedented challenge of maintaining work continuity during the Covid pandemic.
“The Rise of the Hybrid Workplace”: A Global Survey of Executives, Employee Experience Experts, and Knowledge Workers, reviews research which sought to understand the impact COVID-19 has had on the work environment, the current state of remote workers, their concerns about returning to the office, and the role technology can play in supporting businesses in their transformation to the hybrid workplace. Executives, knowledge workers, and those in key roles responsible for employee environments were asked to participate in a global research survey focusing on the impact COVID-19 has had on employees and the business. A total of 1569 qualified participants completed the global primary research survey.
The survey focused on identifying pre- and post- COVID-19 trends: - Days working from home - Use of collaboration tools - Video-meeting challenges
The research also focused on the new office environment: - Concerns workers had around returning to the office - Changes that would make employees more comfortable. - Types of technologies that workers perceive will increase their safety in the office consistency with periods/no periods - Key technologies and capabilities to help companies transition to the hybrid work environment.|
We bring you the executive summary of the report:
This research finds that moving forward, more than half of all employees will work 8 or more days each month from home, driving the realization that 98% of meetings now have at least one employee attending remotely from home.
This work model change creates dependence on collaboration technology. Yet nearly every research participant cited frustrations with video meetings and the tools available. Executives and employees desire dedicated collaboration devices and digital meeting assistant technology to make remote working more productive.
Nearly every employee is worried about returning to work, with concerns about touching shared office devices, social distancing, cleanliness, and more. The good news is almost every company surveyed is planning to make sweeping changes to make employees safer in their work environment. Participants indicate that collaboration technology can play a role in making the workplace safer and less frustrating by enabling employees to use touchless technology, voice-controlled assistants, social distancing indicators, and digital signage.
Companies must now support a hybrid work environment for in-office and remote employees with work flexibility, increased cleanliness, and the right collaboration technology. They must also prepare for a safe return to the office. As a result of the hybrid model, companies are considering downsizing to smaller offices and are looking at strategies to support workers who may only be in the office a few days per week.
This research indicates that tracking metrics for actual facility, desk, and meeting room use and cleaning schedules is something less than half of companies can do today. Collaboration technology that leverages AI, environmental sensors, and advanced analytics can create intelligent workplaces that support employees in every space, increases workplace safety, and provide insights to optimize costs and office use.
Key Findings
Working from Home the New Normal
- 58% will work 8 or more days each month from home (Post-COVID)
- 98% of meetings will include participants joining from home (post-COVID)
- 98% share frustrations with video meetings when working from home|
• Employees Uncomfortable Returning to the Office
- 97% of employees want changes to make them feel safer at work
- 99% of companies are planning sweeping changes to the workplace as a result of COVID-19|
- 94% of companies say technology would benefit them by providing a safer work environment|
Hybrid Work Environment
- 77% of larger organizations will increase work flexibility while 53% will shrink office sizes
- 89% of employees cite frustrations with in-office experiences
- 96% indicate they need intelligent workplace technology to improve work environments
Detailed Findings
Employees Working from Home is the New Normal
COVID-19’s current effects on the workplace are clear as most knowledge workers were asked to work from home a substantial percentage of the time. However, this research shows that as the pandemic wanes, employees will continue to work increasingly from home, with 58% indicating they will be working from home 8 days or more each month. Additional analysis reveals this change is similar for all seniority levels from front line workers to executives. This shift represents a significant change in work approach and culture as only 9% expect to return to working from the office 100% of the time—which means almost every organization is going to need plans for supporting both in-office and remote workers.
Link to the full report here
Related Cisco studies:
Workforce of the Future
Today’s Changing World/ Krishna Prasad