The Sony report on the Office of the Future unveils the keys to how work will be done in the coming years.
The study published by Sony Professional Displays and Solutions Europe offers a clear picture of new work habits and preferences, from both the employee and company perspectives. The report reveals that more than half (55%) of Spanish professionals still prefer to work from a company office, but 35% say that the technological setup and office layout don't align with their current work style.
In the years following the pandemic, trends regarding workplace preferences have fluctuated, and both employees and companies continue to seek a new balance. Sony's study reveals that, despite flexible work now being the norm, companies still struggle to meet workers' needs and provide the right technology to enhance their productivity.
In collaboration with Censuswide, Sony surveyed nearly 2600 professionals, business leaders, and CEOs from across Europe (UK, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, Denmark, and Sweden) to gain a clearer understanding of their work habits, preferences, environments, and priorities.
Shared Workspace vs. Personal Workspace
A few years ago, the trend led many companies to change their operations by opting for shared workspaces without fixed desks, which catered to collaborative employees' needs. Although this was suitable for those working five days a week in the pre-pandemic era, its suitability for today's workers is uncertain.
More than half (67%) of CEOs and business leaders throughout Spain still consider incorporating shared workspaces in future offices, even though data shows that only 17% of employees prefer this setup. While investment in shared workspaces continues, 48% of business leaders and CEOs also intend to increase personal office spaces in the future. They agree that the right technological setup (55%) along with flexible hours (56%) will be key to employee well-being and satisfaction. Employees echo this sentiment, with 89% calling for improvements in company offices and technology to better adapt to new flexible and asynchronous work styles.
For employers, providing the future office demanded by employees is proving to be quite a challenge. 87% say there are obstacles to adapting their office spaces to current employee work habits. The top three cited barriers are a lack of suitable real estate solutions (27%), budget constraints (33%), and a geographically dispersed workforce (19%).
Some Employees Always Work in the Office, but Most Prefer Flexibility
Just over a quarter (30%) of Spanish professionals still work full-time in offices. Whether in the office or out of it, these workers constantly collaborate with colleagues located in different places, and reports indicate that an average of 85% of all meetings include at least one remote participant. Employees increasingly want full flexibility in where they work at any given time (43%), so this asynchronous way of working is here to stay. 96% of business leaders say they support asynchronous work models, and 95% of Spanish office workers say that when implemented correctly and supported by the company, asynchronous work benefits their productivity (33%), mental health (32%), work-life balance (40%), and stress levels (39%).
"What we are currently seeing in businesses are two opposing viewpoints: on the part of employers and especially C-level executives, there is a demand to have the team physically in the office, based on the belief in a lack of commitment and therefore productivity. On the part of employees, there is an aspiration to maintain the flexibility gained in the past, allowing them to better adapt to their other daily tasks, combined with a lack of understanding of why they should be physically in the office if much of their work is done through online meetings and with a dispersed workforce. It's worth mentioning that this dispersed workforce is one of the positive effects of remote work, where companies can recruit top talent from anywhere in the world. However, for this to work, the company needs to provide a hybrid environment in which both remote employees feel connected to those in the office and those in the office feel they gain something valuable by being there. It is crucial to provide the employee not only with the reason to come to the office - which may or may not be based (and demonstrated) on productivity - but also an environment that effectively promotes the benefit of meeting colleagues face-to-face, online, or both, while also promoting teamwork," explains Alessandra Neves, Talent and Culture Expert.
Given that nearly all Spaniards (91%) agree that their workplace influences productivity, overcoming these barriers and achieving the right setup for both remote and in-office employees to collaborate successfully and productively should be a top priority for business leaders. Especially considering that satisfied and productive employees, whose work habits are supported by the right technology, will increase their performance, leading to greater business opportunities and growth.
According to our latest study, it's clear that people value going to their company's offices and still want to do so when they can. With productivity, satisfaction, and employee loyalty at stake in an increasingly competitive market, it's important for business leaders to pay attention to this and continue prioritizing it. We know that the workplace is continually evolving, and the offices of the future must use technology to adapt to these changes. However, it's not enough to offer the option of an office; the workspace and its technology must be specifically designed for current work habits to drive and foster productivity, collaboration, success, and employee satisfaction," says Adam Dover, Chief Commercial Marketing Officer of Sony Professional Displays and Solutions.