Global Survey of 24,000+ Workers Shows Need for Flexibility in Workplaces

Productivity and teamwork are both significantly improved when employees can choose where they work, a global survey of anywhere working trends has found. The survey, commissioned by Polycom.

“We predicted that 2016 would be the ‘year of video,’ and it’s satisfying to know that people are really seeing the benefits of working this way,” says Jim Kruger, CMO of Polycom. “The survey results also tell us that businesses need to offer video collaboration tools to enable the human contact that people crave. Organizations that are able to offer flexible working practices and the right collaboration tools will be the winners in recruiting and retaining top talent.”

The survey has revealed the main benefits and challenges for employers and employees when it comes to adopting a flexible working culture. While results vary by country, there are three key trends that remain constant across the board. The vast majority of respondents (98 percent) agree that an anywhere working approach boosts productivity, as people can choose to work where they are most efficient. 92 percent of respondents also agree that video collaboration technology improves teamwork. Meeting colleagues via video helps keep the human interaction element that can sometimes lack when working remotely, enabling employees to develop better relationships. The survey also reveals that 62 percent of the global working population is working flexibly – more than ever before. Digital transformation is partly responsible, as it drives organizations to explore new ways of working at a faster pace. Firms are racing to innovate, develop a better working culture, and retain the best talent to remain competitive.

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“There is a stigma that remote workers are disconnected from the rest of the team, yet this study proves that they are more sociable and proactively reach out to develop strong relationships. The new technology tools that enable communication and collaboration are actually motivating workers to pick up the phone, seek face time and create lasting bonds. This is the upside of remote work we rarely talk about,” Jeanne Meister, partner, Future Workplace.

Sixty-six percent of millennials are worried that they aren’t perceived as hard-working when they are not in the office. This is a big concern globally, shared by 62 percent of all respondents. For organisations to keep up with the fast-pace of digital transformation, there needs to be a shift in attitude, and a new approach to how people work and collaborate. By measuring performance based on outputs, and not hours worked, employees are reassured that management knows presenteeism does not equate to good work ethic. Underlying this shift in work culture is technology. The right collaboration technology needs to be in place to enable teams to collaborate, and employees to have the same access to resources as if they were in the office.

For more information about the survey results, read Polycom’s white paper “Changing Needs of the Workplace.”