Global survey reveals ‘need’for flexibility in the workplace

Productivity and teamwork are both significantly improved when employees can choose where they work, a global survey of anywhere working trends has found commissioned by Polycom.

Daniel Schmierer, Polycom
Daniel Schmierer, Polycom

“We predicted that 2016 would be the ‘year of video’, and it’s satisfying to know that people are really seeing the benefits of working this way,” says Jim Kruger, CMO, Polycom.

“The survey results also tell us that businesses need to offer video collaboration tools to enable the human contact that people crave. Organisations that are able to offer flexible working practices and the right collaboration tools will be the winners in recruiting and retaining top talent.”

The survey has revealed the main benefits and challenges for employers and employees when it comes to adopting a flexible working culture. While results vary by country, there are three key trends that remain constant across the board. The vast majority of respondents (98 percent) agree that an anywhere working approach boosts productivity, as people can choose to work where they are most efficient.

Ninety-two percent of respondents also agree that video collaboration technology improves teamwork. Meeting colleagues via video helps keep the human interaction element that can sometimes lack when working remotely, enabling employees to develop better relationships.

The survey also reveals that 62 percent of the global working population is working flexibly – more than ever before. Digital transformation is partly responsible, as it drives organisations to explore new ways of working at a faster pace. Firms are racing to innovate, develop a better working culture, and retain the best talent to remain competitive.

“It is clear that use of collaboration technologies is going a long way to bring colleagues closer together. 91 percent of employees surveyed get to know their colleagues better as a result, and this trend is true in the Middle East region as well as worldwide. Polycom’s survey shows that there is a significant shift in working habits across the region, enabling workers to the have the flexibility to work from home or anywhere is key to meeting the requirement of a majority of those who want a better work-life balance,” said Daniel Schmierer, Area Sales Vice President for Middle East and Africa, Polycom.

The study also revealed that 66 percent of millennials are worried that they aren’t perceived as hard-working when they are not in the office. This is a big concern globally, shared by 62 percent of all respondents. For organisations to keep up with the fast-pace of digital transformation, there needs to be a shift in attitude, and a new approach to how people work and collaborate.

According to Polycom, by measuring performance based on outputs, and not hours worked, employees are reassured that management knows presenteeism does not equate to good work ethic. Underlying this shift in work culture is technology. The right collaboration technology needs to be in place to enable teams to collaborate, and employees to have the same access to resources as if they were in the office.

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