According to a new global survey commissioned by tech bellwether Cisco, 95% of workers are uncomfortable about returning to the office given the current health crisis, 98% expect future meetings will have participants joining from home, 53% of companies are planning to optimize their office footprint, and 96% want intelligent technology to improve work environments.
“The future of work will be hybrid: people will work in the home and corporate office to varying degrees depending on the nature of their jobs. Our mission is to make the Webex experience 10x better than in-person interactions,” said Jeetu Patel, GM for security applications group at Cisco.
Despite the gradual reopening of some economies, 58% of those surveyed indicate that they will be working from at least eight days more each month. Following this is the heavy reliance on video meeting solutions as only 2% of the respondents believe that all meetings will be done with everyone physically in the room.
However, businesses still need to catch up with the sudden change in working environment requirements. Since most workers rely on laptops for home meetings, the top three issues that frustrate employees during video meetings are poor audio (50%), too many people talking at once (47%), and other participants being in a noisy environment (46%).
As a result, there is a clamor for dedicated meeting technology. The most requested by participants are a high-quality headset, a digital meeting assistant to capture notes and action items, and digital whiteboards.
Unsurprisingly, 95% of workers are still fearful of returning to the office due to the possibility of contracting Covid-19, the report said.
Naturally, workers will need to see their employers implement changes and policies that will make the workplace feel safer if they were to be asked to return including sanitation and social distancing, it added.
While it’s inevitable for businesses to require some time in physical workspaces, 64% of employees expect more work flexibility that encourages work-from-home setups and adaptable schedules.
There are still questions about how businesses can make workplaces safer, but both employers and employees agree that technology can make a work environment feel safer more comfortable, according to the report.
The shift in work environments is necessary, but businesses will still need to mitigate costs and capture savings. 53% of businesses, led by larger enterprises are already looking into downsizing office locations while 77% are promoting work flexibility.
Despite the challenges of the pandemic, decision-makers are already taking necessary steps to help employees thrive in the workplace. While sanitation of physical workspaces are important, businesses are focusing on enabling work-from-home employees with increased use of video meetings, collaboration applications, and collaboration devices.
“As the world carefully begins to move towards a deceleration phase of the Covid-19 pandemic, attention is shifting towards reducing restrictions and resuming normal life,” said Karrie Ilagan, managing director of Cisco Philippines.
“The key is to accept that these changes are here to stay, and organizations need to assess the gaps in their operations that can be addressed by early investments in technology,” advised Ilagan.