Work from home: Employees believe offices not ready for new way of working: study

Bengaluru: While most employees in India are willing to return to the office at least a few times a week, many of them believe that workplaces are not ready for the new way of working, a new Cisco study has found.

The study, which examined employee and employer attitudes towards the current workspaces, indicates that workspace design, layout and technology have not kept pace with changing employee expectations.

The study, ‘From Mandate to Magnet: The Race to Reimagine Workplaces and Workspaces for a Hybrid Future’, found that 96% of companies in India have mandated a full or partial return to the office with productivity, team communication and leadership pressure as key drivers.

Around 76% of Indian employees surveyed for the study responded positively to their organisation’s mandate to return to the office, and 82% expressed a desire to return to the office at least a few times per week.

“Our study reveals that employees across the region have embraced hybrid work and are willing to return to the office more often, but with a caveat, workspaces must adapt to their evolving needs and expectations,” Sandeep Mehra, managing director, Collaboration Sales, at Cisco APJC said in a media release.

“In the era of hybrid work, we must prioritise the evolution of our office spaces and technology to meet the needs of employees. Technology has become critical in delivering on these expectations to promote productivity and a collaborative environment – no matter an employees’ location,” Mehra said.Employee motivation for in-office work has significantly evolved. The main reason for their return is not individual work, but rather to collaborate (80%), ideate and brainstorm with colleagues (53%) and foster a sense of belonging (58%). This shift signifies a change in employee expectations and needs for their workspaces.

Changing needs

The study highlights that workspaces are not ready for the new way of working. Across India, when referring to office layouts and seating arrangements, 64% of employees feel these are not conducive to collaboration and brainstorming purposes. While there is a growing emphasis on collaboration, 85% of employers surveyed still allocate at least half of their offices to individual workspaces.

Employees believe that office layouts, seating arrangements, and meeting rooms are not conducive to in-office productivity. Technology infrastructure and integration is also an area of concern.

On a positive note, the study reveals that organisations are making progress to transform their office spaces. Eight out of 10 employers have already made changes post-pandemic and 90% plan to do so in the next two years. The main drivers of transformation include adapting to technological advancements (70%), meeting changing employee expectations for workspaces (67%) and better enabling hybrid work (50%).

The study is based on a double-blind survey of 9,200 full-time employees and 1,650 employers conducted in November 2023. Respondents were from seven Asia-Pacific markets: Australia, Hong Kong, India, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and South Korea.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *