Issue 25

Work-from-home Survey Shows Hybrid Meetings Wanted 

New global study shows employees are desperate to get back to the office


21 October 2020

New global study by Barco shows employees are desperate to get back to the office and are looking investment in tech-driven hybrid working environment.

  • On average, employees want to spend a maximum of 2 days a week at home in future
  • 49% enjoy working from home less than they did at the start of the pandemic
  • Workers predict a rise in hybrid meetings (meetings featuring both in-person and remote attendees) in the next 12 months
  • Video conferencing technology is the number 1 investment priority for employees worldwide, demanded by 1 in 3 workers surveyed.
  • 56% of employees prefer to host video calls from their laptop over any other device or in-room technology

A major survey of white-collar workers around the world, published by Barco, has revealed surprising findings about employee expectations for the workplace in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The study – which surveyed 1,750 employees around the world (250 each from the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia, India and United Arab Emirates) through global research panel provider Dynata – found that only 15% of employees want to continue to work from home full-time after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. Working from home clearly lost its sparkle, since nearly half of those surveyed said they enjoy working from home less now than they did at the start of the pandemic, citing challenges in collaborating with colleagues, struggling to contribute to meetings and missing the social side of office life as the main reasons for wanting to return to the office.

  • 42% globally say working from home stifles their creativity
  • 37% miss office social life and find it harder to collaborate when working remotely
  • 45% find it easier to work with colleagues in the office

Hybrid working as the next norm

Instead, employees want a hybrid workplace model, where most of their time is spent in the office but they have the flexibility and freedom to work from home when it works best for them or suits the type of work they need to do. Most employees think that we are already returning to something resembling normality after COVID-19, with the number of remote-only meetings expected to drop significantly and hybrid meetings set to become the norm. The survey found the ideal balance on average globally to be 3 days in the office, with a maximum of 2 days a week working remotely.

Video conferencing is the heartbeat of business collaboration

There was a significant demand from workers for their employers to invest in a redesign of the office, including better facilities, and particularly technologies, to enable this hybrid working balance and a laptop-first approach. The most desired investment by employees was for better video conferencing technologies, which 1 in 3 of the employees globally named as an investment priority. The use of video and own devices (BYOM) has become prevalent and plays a fundamental role today in collaboration, communication and productivity for a digitally driven workforce.

  • 56% want apps for joining a videocall in one click within the year, if they aren’t already available.
  • 6 in 10 people believe that a lack of in-person interaction is a key reason for feeling less connected to their colleagues
  • 49% say that collaborating remotely with colleagues and clients does not come naturally

If technology can help to tackle this and enable hybrid meetings that foster better connections between physical and virtual participants, we will see meeting quality and employee engagement continue to rise.

“For companies with a mainly office-based workforce, COVID-19 has meant the greatest and fastest shift in ways of working that we’ve ever seen. But while the world of work will never be the same again, the immediate reaction to the pandemic – that office life as we know it would end and people would move to universal remote working for the foreseeable future – already looks to be an overreaction.

There is now a burning desire from employees to get back to normal. 85% of the workforce wants to return to the office and resume the collaborative and social aspect of working life that they have missed so much, albeit with the freedom, flexibility and facilities to adopt a better blend of home and office working.

Technology will be crucial to achieving this blend. The message comes through loud and clear from our survey: of all the things office workers want their companies to invest in, collaboration technologies are top of the list. To survive, rebuild and eventually thrive again in the post-pandemic world, businesses will need to invest in new technologies, redesign or at least reconfigure their office spaces, and give their employees the tools they need to work in the best way possible, no matter where they are located or how they choose to connect.”

– Lieven Bertier, Segment Marketing Director Workplace, Barco



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