Business Essentials for Professionals


New Normal For Office Workers Is Flexibility Of Remote Working, Says A Survey

New Normal For Office Workers Is Flexibility Of Remote Working, Says A Survey
A recent study from Staples has shown that only about 32 percent of all employees have spent their time working in their office all the time this year. According to the study, the new normal for office workers is the flexibility to be able to work remotely. And the conclusion of the study also suggests that this has been agreed to by 43 percent of employees surveyed who say that such flexibility is a must-have.
The survey however found that even though a large section of employers say that remote working flexibility is a must-have, only about 38 percent have policies to make explicit offer of such a benefit to employees at this moment. This has therefore, highlighted a gap between the wants and demands of the employees and what the employers are ready to offer at the moment.
A large number of business activities, functions and outcomes – from talent recruitment to productivity, have been influenced by the issue of working remotely and even though many still feel that the office is still home base, working remotely has come from being an occasional event and a nice-to-have thing for companies to being an essential element of the workplace.
The study conducted interviews of 1,004 full-time employees and 200 office managers and facilities managers in the U.S. and Canada and was conducted by KRC Research on behalf of Staples Business Advantage and titled The Staples Annual Workplace Survey.
It is also believed that the traditional office setting may now be a cause for enhanced levels of distractions for employees and could even be responsible for driving more people away from the traditional office, even thigh such offices with open floorplans were once believed to be a positive factor for fostering employee collaboration and creativity, the survey revealed.
“The open office may have gone too far and could ultimately get in the way of itself. While employees in open offices are more likely to think of their office culture and environment as transparent, distractions - like regularly overhearing co-workers’ personal conversations - have become unavoidable. These distractions have the potential to hinder productivity, increase stress, and drive employees away from the same offices that were designed with the intention of fostering collaboration,” said Modupe Akinola, Ph.D., associate professor of leadership & ethics at Columbia Business School.
Distractions are removed by working remotely, said 57 percent of the survey respondents participating in the Staples Workplace Survey. The study also found that 11 percent less time was spent by employees working in an open floor plan office compared to those who worked in a closed environment.
The report also suggested some measures that businesses can take to keep their employees engaged because of the flaw in the in the open model. The connection with the employer is deepened for those employees who are able to sit in different locations throughout the office – a practice known as agility seating, or “hotdesking”, said seventy-one percent of workers in the survey.
“The Workplace Survey arms businesses of all sizes with insight into the latest workplace trends so businesses can stay relevant and keep employees happy, productive, and motivated,” said Neil Ringel, president, North American Delivery, Staples. “Our purpose at Staples is to help the world work better, including the solutions, services and products to help businesses no matter where employees work.”

Christopher J. Mitchell

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