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Large disparity between decision-makers and employees around return to office
Fri, 2nd Jul 2021
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Research reveals a significant disparity between the views of decision-makers and employees about returning to the office.

The research commissioned by EPOS finds 56% of global business decision-makers expect employees to spend more time at the office, but the figure falls to 26% when looking at employee expectations.

The disparity between employees and employers signals a global trend. The widest margin is in the US, with 74% of employers expecting the workforce to return to the workplace, compared with just 29% of employees.

Virtual work has some clear benefits, and generally, employees are keen to maintain at least some of the convenience, flexibility, and adaptability that remote work allows.

The research from Ipsos finds that end-users today spend an average of seven hours per week in virtual meetings, increasing by two hours per week in the last year. And 99% of decision-makers in the workplace see the advantage of virtual meetings, which save time and cost, and enable meetings to occur seamlessly across time zones.

The survey results indicate that decision-makers may need to engage and align with their employees to comprehend their expectations on a global level better.

EPOS says by understanding and meeting employee needs, business leaders create a robust hybrid working model, which will, in turn, help secure future talent.

“Forward-thinking sectors are already recognising an opportunity to fully support remote work programs to tap into a vast and global talent pool, thereby creating greater business agility while gaining significant cost savings,” says EPOS.

According to the research, many critical challenges in the hybrid working set-up stem from bad audio or visual tech experiences, with 89% of end-users experiencing difficulties in virtual meetings.

The most common experience issues include misunderstanding what is being said in a meeting (26%) and missing critical information (21%). In comparison, 17% feel they appear unprofessional because of poor sound and video experiences.

User experience issues extend to collaboration tools used, with 16% reporting the equipment they use is not fit for purpose, and 13% report having difficulties seeing details shared on screen.

“Over time, these negative experiences can affect employees ability to focus, engage and actively contribute,” says EPOS.

“Fortunately, decision-makers are recognising the impact that bad audio can have on their business and employee wellbeing, with 88% accepting it has caused their company issues over the past year. “

The research finds a further 77% believe the right technology can overcome collaboration experience issues and are prepared to make necessary investments in equipment and infrastructure.