The shift to work from home during the pandemic could become a permanent fixture.
Lockdown restrictions in Australia are being eased step by step. And yet, before fully opening their office doors, there are some things that companies need to amend or even rethink completely: from the work models offered to workplace technology equipment, and on to hygiene measures in open-plan offices.
In a recent Citrix survey, 46 per cent of polled office workers state that they would prefer to work from home more frequently. Also, one in three employees (36 per cent) would like to see more flexible work models, allowing them to easily switch between the office and their home office. In the Flexible Work: From Nice-to-have to Must-have Before the Corona crisis survey, respondents said office workers used to work from home five days per month on average.
However, things have changed:
- 46 per cent of those polled believe that in the future, flexible work models and remote work will result in a more digital corporate culture.
- 69 per cent consider the future office to be mainly a location for meeting colleagues and customers in person.
New office culture and new technologies required before returning staff to the office, employers need to get busy. In the light of the current pandemic:
- 68 per cent of those surveyed are concerned about coworking and hot-desking concepts
- 62 per cent of polled Australian office workers consider the home office, if equipped with the proper technology, on par with working in an office.
More than one third of survey participants (43 per cent), however, state that they are currently using software and tools on their work computers that has not been approved by the IT department – or even is explicitly prohibited.
The tools accounting for the largest shares are video conferencing software (48 per cent) and instant messengers (44 per cent). A more digitally-forward culture will require IT teams to be flexible, adaptable and anticipate workers ’technology needs – to avoid shadow IT challenges in the future. Even beyond technology, the effects of the crisis on corporate culture should not be underestimated. The survey showed:
38 per cent of polled employees estimate that more home office usage will improve the employer/workforce relationship. The abrupt switch to the home office due to the crisis required trust on both sides.
29 per cent now hope that this strengthened trust and increased autonomy will be maintained even after the crisis.
Further, a quarter (25 per cent) of polled workers hope that employee well-being will remain the focus of their company.
In general, employees are optimistic that companies will meet these expectations in the time to come.
About 67 per cent of those polled think that there will be a better understanding of the human factor in the workplace, and 46 per cent agree that the Corona crisis experience will help soften established corporate hierarchies.
To avoid ‘shadow IT’, enterprises need to make sure that in the future, employees will have the necessary technologies that empower them to work from anywhere productively and securely.
Technology equipment aside, employers should also keep an eye on their employees’ well-being in the new world of work. In this new, sometimes unusual situation, some people have a hard time drawing a clear line between their business and private lives.