Few workers see employers ready for a new normal

A Sony Professional Solutions study has revealed that only one in five (20%) workers feel that employers are fully prepared to support the “new normal” of mixed work arrangements after the pandemic.

Yet even though Covid-19 has changed work in ways that no one could have anticipated, with a flexible mix of remote and office work, the study reflected concerns about the need for employers to better plan their future workplace, with a hybrid work set. to become standard.

The survey found that since the first shutdown in March 2020, more than half (51%) of office workers felt employers could have done more to support remote work, and only 30% felt fully supported.

Nearly three-quarters of workers (72%) now expect to work remotely at least one day a week after the pandemic, and 65% expect to work from home for at least two days a week.

Attitudes around going back to the office for a day or more have also changed since December, with more than a third (35%) believing they won’t return until the second half of the year or at least 2022. Only 20% felt the same a month ago.

Almost one-third (31%) believe that a return to five-day office work won’t happen until 2022, if at all.

The shift to a more hybrid work model is being led by 18-24 year olds, with three-quarters (75%) expecting to work from home for at least two days a week. Sony Professional Solutions deemed this finding somewhat surprising given that Millennials and Gen Z are less likely to have dedicated home office space than Gen X.

However, the results showed that only 13% of 18-24 year olds ever expected to return to full-time work, compared with more than half (51%) of 35-54 year olds.

Sony believes that a number of different job trends are likely to emerge: work will become flexible and people will need choices; home is a new opportunity; collaboration will become critical; the emergence of virtual and physical social spaces; and meeting rooms will become key.

While acknowledging that the home office is clearly here to stay, Sony said it has a long way to go in optimizing productivity, health and for companies to be able to monitor employee work to improve collaboration. He hoped that companies would come up with new ideas around home offices.

He also said that collaboration technologies, already a growing pre-pandemic market, have become critical for businesses and, with fewer people able to interact in person, innovation and productivity will depend on effective collaboration technology.

However, the survey cautioned that while virtual conferencing platforms like Microsoft Teams and Zoom have established a place in the modern workplace, there is a real gap between in-person social stimulation and virtual interactions.

In this regard, the company quoted Aristotle, who said that humans were essentially social creatures and needed to be around people and feel a sense of community. As a result, Sony said, a key focus for offices would be how to make people feel socially connected and satisfied.

The company admitted that it is difficult to predict whether the meeting room market will grow today because some companies will downsize their real estate footprint to cut costs. You are more confident that meeting room design will be more important and that this also meant that communication and collaboration technology will grow in selected areas, including conference cameras, conference and presentation displays, wireless presentation technology and new systems. for a more creative collaboration. .

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