LONDON (Reuters) – Nearly nine out of 10 workers want to be able to choose whether to work from home or the office once COVID-19 workplace restrictions ease, and have greater autonomy over their hours, according to research from Cisco Systems CSCO.O.
The pandemic has rapidly shifted attitudes towards home working, the research showed, with two thirds of workers developing a greater appreciation of the benefits and challenges of doing their jobs remotely.
Even though only 5% of those surveyed worked from home most of the time before the lockdown, now 87% of workers wanted the ability to choose where, how and when they worked – blending between being office-based and working remotely, Cisco said in a report issued on Wednesday.
Cisco Vice President Gordon Thomson said companies would have to reconfigure how they operate to help meet the new demands of workers, who prioritised effective communication and collaboration above everything else.
He said technology would also be used to ensure employees were safe and their data was secure in their working environment, whether in the home or the office.
This could include, for example, sensors that monitored the heating and lighting in a home work station, or technology that checked social distancing and whether people were wearing masks in the office, he said.
“It’s not just about connecting people anymore, it’s about the experience you deliver to people as they are connected,” he said in an interview. “We are investing far more in the analytical piece that goes behind the connectivity.”
Cisco surveyed 10,000 people across 12 markets in Europe, the Middle East and Russia for its Workforce of the Future research.
Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Mark Heinrich