While flexibility is important, respondents indicated that 100 percent remote work is not ideal for most employees.
If companies want happy workers, they need to give them choices.
That’s the theme from a Cushman & Wakefield and CoreNet Global survey of 339 people from over a dozen countries.
While flexibility is important, respondents indicated that 100 percent remote work is not ideal for most employees. Pre-pandemic, 59% of respondents described their company’s approach to work as office first. Post-pandemic, that number dropped to 10% as 58% of respondents indicated that they wanted to go to an office-first hybrid. After the pandemic, only 18% of respondents said that “mostly working in company offices” described their approach.
“We see a real opportunity for smart employers to transform the workplace experience with flexible options for employees by offering a variety of locations and experiences to support convenience, functionality and well-being,” said Despina Katsikakis, global leader of Cushman & Wakefield’s Total Workplace Global Lead in a prepared statement.
Still, one-third of respondents, including 39% of C-suite respondents, say that companies will allow employees to live anywhere regardless of company office presence.
Millennials are leading the drive to remote work. Fifty percent of that cohort said remote work was better for work-life balance. Nearly 40% of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers said the same thing.
Forty-eight percent of respondents in the Americas said that they were considering changes to their remote work policy. Another 22% said they have already announced changes in remote work policies.
Still, the office plays an important role. Eight-one percent of respondents said it was best for casual, impromptu conversations. Another significant group, 75%, said it helped establish a connection to company culture.
The pandemic has changed attitudes around assigned seating to collaboration spaces and working in “third spaces” (neither home nor the office).
Only 28% percent said “mostly assigned seating” described their approach. Forty-five percent said “mostly open seating” described their workplace.
“When we asked about the physical work environment, we saw significant movement in people’s views and approaches post-pandemic. There is a shift away from “owned” spaces and a move towards flexible space. People want flexibility—including virtual options and collaboration spaces,” said Sandy Romero, senior analyst at Cushman & Wakefield, in a prepared statement.
This theme of flexibility is resonating throughout the industry. A recent JLL survey of 2,000 office workers revealed that two thirds want to work from different locations post-COVID, and office owners are responding by “actively increasing” the space in their buildings devoted to flex work.
“This is more meaningful than a shifting of deckchairs,” says Ben Munn, managing director of flex space at JLL, in the report. “Companies and investors are taking a different view on flex space entirely and are willing to invest because they see this as a bigger proportion of the overall office market than it is currently.”
Source: “The Office is Becoming More Agile”