Poly, today released a new report outlining the changing workplace and changing employee attitudes towards 9-5. The Poly Evolution of the Workplace report provides an analysis of the results of a survey of 7,261 hybrid workers from the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Poland and the United Arab Emirates. It examines how attitudes and behaviors have evolved – looking at everything from work styles and culture, to frustration and noise, until we wear it.
“Almost two-thirds of hybrid workers (64%) think the office culture has changed forever,” says Paul Clark, senior vice president of EMEA sales at Poly. “Our research found that workers (58%) believed the increase in remote work meant they were ‘always on’ and always available, leaving them unable to relax or disconnect from work. And while many enjoy the benefits of hybrid work – work-life balance, sunsets, and family time – others feel left out and disconnected. For example, 52% believe that hybrid or homeworkers might be discriminated against or treated differently from full-time office workers. Likewise, people feel anxious about returning to the office, with 42% admitting that they will be prone to “noise rage” if coworkers are too loud. Unfortunately, the younger generation – many of whom entered the workforce during all the upheavals – are particularly feeling the pressure. Of the 62% who said they did not go to their new office, 72% say the thought of entering prevents them from sleeping at night. For hybrid work to be successful, these issues must be tackled head-on. Companies must continue to put their people at the center of everything they do and provide them with the tools they need to do their jobs in this new environment.
Always On vs Anytime Working – Why Employers Need To Set Clear Limits To Avoid Employee Burnout
Research suggests that hybrid work is here to stay. 82% of those surveyed plan to spend at least one day a week working from home in the future, and 54% plan to split their time equally between work and home. One of the drivers of this change is the emergence of “anytime work” – where employees have more autonomy over when they do their jobs – with more than two-thirds of employees (69%) saying 9-5 has been replaced by work at all times. When asked about the benefits of working from home, the top three responses given were: avoiding long commutes, achieving a better work-life balance, and feeling less stressed. Likewise, when asked what they would miss in working from home, people pointed out lies, time spent with family, and ending on time.
However, while many workers have reaped the benefits, working from home has not been a smooth transition for everyone. Disturbingly, the lines between working anytime and being ‘always on’ are blurring: more than half of workers (58%) felt that the increase in remote work meant they were ‘always on’. active ”and always available, leaving them unable to relax or change outside of work. Additionally, having to work after hours has been listed as the second biggest downside to working from home – after having less fun with co-workers. The results also show:
· Collaboration difficulties, lack of IT support, and lack of equipment to enable working from home are among the top five disadvantages of working from home, suggesting that many employees have not been given the right tools to work. effectively.
· Almost half (47%) said they feared missing out on learning from peers and seniors when working from home.
· Another 52% believe that hybrid or homeworkers could be discriminated against or treated differently from full-time office workers.
“Working anytime shouldn’t be confused with always being active,” says Paul Clark, senior vice president of EMEA sales at Poly. “Organizations that promote a healthy work environment and empower work at all times will see a much happier and more productive workforce. This is especially important as we live through the “big resignation” phenomenon, where people from all walks of life are leaving their jobs as a result of the pandemic. Companies cannot afford to lose talent and therefore must provide the best possible work experience for all their employees, no matter where they are located.
The future role of the office and the rise of the “noise rage”
Research suggests that there are very mixed feelings regarding the return to power. While many have missed the camaraderie and connection of seeing colleagues and clients, others feel anxious and fear their performance will suffer. What is evident is that for many, the changes of the past year are here to stay – with 64% of workers saying the office culture has ‘changed forever’. As a result, while many intend to return to the office, the role of the office and office etiquette are likely to change.
The survey suggests that noise will be a sore point for returning workers, with the potential to cause friction between workers:
· 56% expressed concern that noise levels in the office make them less productive.
· 42% fear that they will be subject to “noise rage” if their colleagues are too loud.
· 60% think they will be fed up if their noisy coworkers interfere with their concentration.
· 40% worry that they are more prone to explosions in the office now that they can no longer mute or turn off their cameras.
· In comparison, some are eager to return to the office because of the noise at home (33%).
Despite concerns, workers look forward to more person-to-person interactions. Jokes in the office, going to lunch with clients / colleagues, and camaraderie in the office are listed as the top three things employees lack in the office. The results also highlight the changing role of the office. When asked how people would see themselves using the desktop in the future, the results tended to be practical and task-oriented. The “top three reasons to return to the office” were brainstorming / collaborating with colleagues, attending meetings, and having access to better equipment and technology.
The image of the company has also changed. Even industries such as financial services which have always expected employees to maintain a certain level of dress are now becoming more relaxed. 61% of finance workers believe that hybrid work resulted in the costume’s death and that wearing the costume could be gone for good – eight points higher than the 53% average.
“The role of the office and how people use it is changing. It’s obvious that people have craved human interaction since working from home and can’t wait to get back to the office ”, said Clark. “However, noise is a legitimate concern for many, especially for young workers who are new to the job market or to a new environment. To cope with the rise in “noise rage,” organizations need to provide employees with the right technology, such as noise canceling products, to reduce distractions, improve productivity and ensure a level playing field. Whenever possible, organizations should also seek to create spaces dedicated to calm (cubicles, more rooms, office space) equipped with the right technologies.
The impact on young workers and their future careers
The findings highlight the impact of remote working on young workers and how their careers could be threatened, with many worried about the return to power. Two-fifths of those polled were unable to visit their new office – either because the company had moved or joined during the pandemic – a figure that rose to 62% of 18-24 years. Among young workers who have not yet visited their office, 72% said the idea of visiting the office for the first time and the potential noise levels made it difficult for them to sleep at night.
Younger employees were also concerned about the impact of remote working on their ability to build relationships and communicate with their peers, many worried that it would hold them back:
· 52% of workers aged 16 to 24 fear that remote work has a negative impact on their development and career progression, compared to 43% on average.
· 53% of 18-24 year olds fear that working remotely has made them less confident in their ability to communicate and work effectively with their colleagues, compared to 42% on average.
· 50% of young workers fear they have lost the art of gossip, compared to 39% on average.
Poly recommends that companies think carefully about how they handle any future transition to a more permanent form of hybrid work. Here are some recommendations from Poly:
· Understanding your employees
· Equip the workforce from anywhere with the right tools to conduct business from anywhere. Video has quickly become the go-to way for teams to connect, but the quality and experience can vary widely.
· Modernize centralized meeting spaces, while allowing the ability to connect and collaborate from anywhere.
“To reap the benefits of hybrid work, organizations need to keep people, technology and spaces in mind.” Clark comments. “