Businesses must adapt the traditional office for collaboration, says Microsoft

Businesses must adapt the traditional office for collaboration, says Microsoft

Microsoft Surface

New survey highlights employee frustration with lack of investment in modern workplaces

Elly Yates-Roberts |

A new survey by YouGov on behalf of Microsoft Surface, titled The re-imagined office: not a re-design but a re-define, has found that 83 per cent of workers are in the same office environments as before the pandemic, despite the drastic changes in how people work. 

However, only 35 per cent of IT decision makers (ITDMs) have been asked to consider whether the IT in their office is fit for their workforce today. 

“Too many UK workers are stuck in the same office spaces as before the pandemic, their organisations having made little investment in building a sociable and collaborative workspace,” said Alan Slothower, Surface business group lead at Microsoft UK. “Employees clearly need more enticement back to offices than an employer mandate. The question for leaders is clear: Are our offices fit for today’s workforce and will they really want to come back?”

Two thirds of respondents believe that the office is a better place to strengthen relationships with colleagues than remote work, however, most find themselves in uncollaborative work patterns when they do make the commute. This may be due to the fact that only 31 per cent of respondents said that their employers had invested in technology to improve collaboration. 

The report shares insights across collaboration, productivity and employee engagement with the aim of helping business leaders, change managers and ITDMs. When asked to imagine a new office workplace, employees highlight a need for the basics: strong wi-fi, temperature control, flexible work hours and good transport links. In addition, four in five employees consider their device paramount for productivity. 

“When the world shifted to remote work a couple of years ago, organisations focused simply on ensuring workforces remained operational by providing people with devices and tools to work from home,” said Slothower. “Now, as organisations and employees experiment with various types of hybrid models and workers head back to the office once more, business leaders must balance the need for continued productivity with employee expectations of the office – and ensure it is fit for purpose. Our research points to a clear need for businesses to not just re-design their offices, but truly re-imagine them for a hybrid future.”

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