The evolution of the workplace




05 Oct, 2020



The results are in! Prodec Networks' poll to discover what your ideal workplace preference would be has concluded. So, would it be working from home? Working in the office? Or, a hybrid of both? 

Well – drum roll please – the results show a resounding vote for working from home 4 - 5 days a week, with the hybrid option of time evenly split between home and the office coming in second, and taking up the rear, by a good furlong or two, working in the office 4 - 5 days a week.

It may, perhaps, come as no surprise that the overwhelming opinion among workers today is that working from home beats 100% office-based work hands down. However, it would seem that the middle ground of the best of both worlds – a hybrid model of splitting your time between the office and home – definitely has its fans too. Our poll of 100 people showed 57% favoured working remotely, while 37% preferred a hybrid arrangement, but only 6would opt for the pre-pandemic norm of purely office-based work. In fact, this seems to support the findings of an earlier online survey, which actually attracted almost 340,000 responses (see image below) – perhaps not surprising when you consider how topical this has become in the current climate. 

A recent poll that became widely shared on Linkedin revealed 62% of its participants prefer to work from home 4 -5 days a week. 29% favored a more hybrid approach split between home and the office and just 9% stated a preference of 4 -5 days working in an office.

The workplace is evolving…FAST! 

So, what does this mean for the future of work? Well, it seems the evolution of the workplace is inevitable if businesses are to thriveAs Charles Darwin could attest, evolution is usually a gradual process, but sometimes circumstances dictate that sudden and instant changes must take place to adapt to a new reality, in order to survive. Such is the case with the workplace, in these Covid-19 times. Although, pre-pandemic, we were seeing a gradual shift to a more remote-based way of working, since the coronavirus crisis hit, in March, what was once a shift, has now become a surge, out of necessity. In fact, according to research by the Office for National Statistics only 5.1% of UK workers mainly worked from home in 2019, up from 4.3% in 2015, but, according to recent findings, this figure has now jumped, almost overnight, to as much as 60% of the workforce. However, in the long-term, when the current crisis subsides, it could well be the case that many businesses will decide to adopt a more hybrid approach to where we work – taking advantage of the best an office- and home-based workplace can offer. 


Not just a passing phase 

Far from being just a passing phase, for the duration of the pandemic, this move to a more agile workforce looks set to stay. Now the genie is out of the box, so to speak, its unlikely there will be a wholesale move back to pre-Covid-19, 100% office-based working, as employers and employees are waking up to the benefits this new way of working offers. For employers, these include considerable cost-savings from a reduced requirement to rent expensive office space to accommodate workers or pay for pricey overheads like lighting and heating, as well as potential productivity increases, with remote workers reportedly taking shorter breaks and working longer hoursIn additionthere is the prospect of being able to cast the recruitment net wider, without being restricted to just the local talent pool, and, according to one study, the chance to increase employee retention by as much as 50%. For employees, there is the promise of a better work-life balanceimproved mental health and substantial savingswith fewer costly and frustrating hours spent commuting. For all of us, this could also mean a chance to finally combat climate change, by reducing the carbon emissions created by the daily commute. In fact, public opinion seems to support the idea that the way we work is set to change for good, as Opinium Research, on behalf of Ricoh Europe, found that 53% of people believed the traditional office space would no longer exist in ten years’ time – an opinion held by only 24% in September 2019. 


Planning for the future 

It is therefore prudent for forward-thinking organisations to plan for the future and put in place robust procedures and tech products to bolster their businesses and empower their employees to meet the new challenges we all face. Although, initially, many companies may have believed that the changes coronavirus dictated were just temporaryit is now abundantly clear that it is essential to adapt and think in the long term, to ensure business thrives. While there have been pandemics in the past, which have decimated populations, devastated economies and blindsided businesses, for the first time in history, there is now, at least, the technology available to help us ride the storm and remain resilient in the future. From team collaboration tools, that keeps employees working well together, to reliable cybersecurity, which protects against even the nastiest cyber attacks, there are now the means to make sure business can go on, wherever it is based. 


Here at Prodec Networks, we are doing all we can to help our customers to adapt, recover and evolve during these uncertain times, with the very best tech solutions. We will also be offering our thoughts and guidance, in a regular series of blogs, to help you navigate your way through this new era of work. 

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