With work from home extending to over seven months now, one third of the workforce is keen on their organizations investing in innovative videoconferencing technology to enable hybrid workstyles, according to a major global survey by Barco, a global leader in visualization and collaboration solutions. The survey results emphasize the need for a hybrid workplace, with 77% of Indian white-collar employees finding remote work less enjoyable, with 49% missing office social life and feeling left out while working from home.
The study – which surveyed 1,750 employees around the world (250 each from the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia, India and United Arab Emirates) through global research panel provider Dynata – found that only 15% of employees, globally, want to continue to work from home full-time after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
According to Rajiv Bhalla, Managing Director, Barco Electronic Systems Pvt Ltd, “Our new research depicts that the future of the workplace is not remote, but hybrid. While Indians value family time greatly, with 65% of the respondents stating this as a major benefit of working from home, they are now ready to head back to office. The prevalent office culture has several positives, which are only set to be enhanced with the hybrid workplace trend. Organizations must invest in technologies that enable hybrid work to cater to employee requirements and enable bright outcomes in the workplace.”
“The survey states that the most desired investment by employees was for better video conferencing technologies, with 1 in 3 of the 1,750 employees naming it as an investment priority. Considering 67% of employees in India have used their laptop to host video calls over the last quarter, it is imperative that organizations invest in next-gen visualization and collaboration technologies to boost productivity,” he said.
The Barco ClickShare study states that India is one of the countries with the lowest desire to work from home in the future, wanting only 1.8 days a week at home, on average. Employees are keen on a hybrid workplace model, where most of their time is spent in the office but they have the flexibility and freedom to work from home when it works best for them. Further, employees are looking for organizations to invest in a technology-driven hybrid working environment post-COVID-19.
Next-Gen Technology for Hybrid Workplaces
Employees have high expectations for technology-driven improvements in future meetings. Eight in ten Indian respondents predict that voice recognition tools, such as Alexa, Google and Siri, will become widely used in conferencing sessions. As the use of virtual reality (VR) is beginning to gather pace in other areas, most Indian office workers (87%) believe its use to visualize ‘in person’ remote participants will become standard within the next two years, the study stated. Further, nearly three in four (72%) respondents predicted that hand gestures would be used to control meeting room technology within two years.
Bring Your Own Meeting
The ‘Bring Your Own Meeting’ trend that was growing before COVID-19 – where employees wanted to use their own devices (Bring Your Own Device) and preferred conferencing solutions – has continued during the pandemic. Organizations must incorporate agnostic collaboration solutions in the workplace as almost three in 10 Indians admit that their preferred video conferencing platform is often incompatible with the available in-office meeting room technology. 24% of the office workers often struggle to connect to a conferencing meeting room system, causing unwanted delays and frustrations.
Hybrid Workplaces for the New Normal
The study shows that most employees think the world is already returning to normalcy, post-COVID, with the number of remote-only meetings expected to drop significantly and hybrid meetings set to become the norm. Indian employees are most keen to continue working in large offices (62%) rather than moving to smaller ‘satellite’ offices once the COVID-19 threat has eased, with an overwhelming 88% of respondents wanting a designated desk to call their own. Indians also have the highest preference for formal meeting rooms (58%), the study reported.
Lieven Bertier, Segment Marketing Director Workplace, Barco said, “There is now a burning desire from employees to get back to normal, with the freedom, flexibility and facilities to adopt a better blend of home and office working. Technology will be crucial to achieving this blend. To survive, rebuild and eventually thrive again in the post-pandemic world, businesses will need to invest in new technologies, redesign or at least reconfigure their office spaces, and give their employees the tools they need to work in the best way possible, no matter where they are located or how they choose to connect. If they can make these changes quickly and effectively, they will be fit for the future and ready to deal with the challenges we all face over the coming months and years, and to seize the opportunities that will surely follow.”
Globally, over half of the workforce wants to see meeting room technology designed for more usability and connectivity in the next year. 56% of the global employees are looking for apps that enable users to join a video conference in one click while 67% think Artificial Intelligence should be in place to provide feedback on participants and their engagement in meetings.