Hybrid work is here to stay, according to a new report, titled Workplace of the Future. The report, by audio and video solution provider EPOS and consumer trends agency Foresight Factory, explores how business leaders can define a hybrid strategy that will be effective in the long term, and considers current and emerging trends set to shape the future of work.
It also identifies several key themes that can help business leaders deliver a positive hybrid solution for their workforce.
Over half (53 per cent) of employees are now, since the pandemic, more likely to put their well-being first, according to the Microsoft’s 2022 Work Trend Index. As a result, workers expect more from their employers in this area. Over a third (38 per cent) are calling for their employers to support staff by allowing them time off for mental health needs. A further 30 per cent say they want to see businesses dedicating hours for employees to use for mental and physical well-being pursuits.
Another key theme highlighted in the report is the pursuit of happiness. Employee burnout is a persistent issue and 36 per cent of respondents say they have suffered burnout in the last 12 months from working too hard. Less than half of workers (43 per cent) are happy with their current work-life balance, and almost a third (30 per cent) said they intend to change careers to improve their overall happiness.
Despite the popularity of remote working, the report also identified the need for a physical office. Employees want to avoid feeling isolated and want to see businesses offering both physical and virtual opportunities for connection and collaboration. Half of employees said they miss spending time with colleagues in person now they can work remotely. This trend is highest among Gen Z and Millennials (80 per cent) who are keen to use physical office spaces to learn, grow and establish themselves in their workplace community, the Microsoft’s 2022 Work Trend Index also highlighted.
This need to learn cropped up in other areas, as the working landscape becomes more demanding of employees, who are expected to upgrade existing skills or pick up new ones. More than half of respondents (60 per cent) indicated that they are keen to continue learning and 44 per cent said they want to progress and upskill within their current job.
Employers also need to more carefully consider the technology with which they equip their employees to reduce the risk of cognitive fatigue. EPOS research has shown that noisy environments cause the brain to work harder to focus on the most important source of sound. Over time this can lead to cognitive overload and brain fatigue, impacting employee stress levels, information retention and performance.
“The world of work has never been as complex as it is today,” said Jeppe Dalberg-Larsen, president at EPOS. “Business leaders who are invested in the future of their company and the future of their employees need to think intentionally about their hybrid strategies. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. Though we have, in recent years, seen how technology has revolutionised modern work, it is no substitute for leadership and culture. Leaders today face a new set of challenges and must put their people at the heart of creating a workplace community that keeps employees engaged in the long-term.”
Download the full Workplace of the Future report from the the EPOS website.
This article was originally published in the Spring 2023 issue of Technology Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.