Courtesy of Thomas Lefebvre via Unsplash

Unify Square, a subsidiary of Unisys whose two North American headquarters are in Bellevue and Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, today released the results of a workplace collaboration survey it commissioned

The survey explores workers’ perspectives on collaboration and communication since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and how the hybrid workplace will evolve post-pandemic.

Nearly 600 full-time enterprise employees working at organizations with at least 500 employees were surveyed. 

Unify Square, which is a management and security software and services provider for Zoom and Microsoft collaboration and communications platforms and a subsidiary of Unisys’ Digital Workplace Services business unit, found, according to a news release, that:

  • As enterprises and employees map their ideal post-pandemic world, many plans focus on more user experience-driven integration between unified communication and collaboration (UC&C) platforms and in-person work models. Spacing desks to avoid interrupting other video calls was the most adopted and desired hybrid work scenario (64 percent), followed by use of virtual whiteboard tools/apps (28 percent), and expanded use of hot desking/shared seating (25 percent). Only a quarter of 18- to 24-year-olds identified spaced-out desks as important.
  • Collaboration apps have eclipsed text messages in terms of response time, with respondents identifying Microsoft Teams, Slack, or Zoom messages as the quickest message they respond to (21 percent in less than one minute). Younger workers also are starting to prefer asynchronous messaging, a communication method wherein the system puts a message in a queue and does not require an immediate response, and one of the emerging trends post-pandemic. Among 18- to 24-year-olds, 48 percent said they’re sending or receiving asynchronous messages either very frequently or frequently, ranking higher than all respondents’ 35 percent.
  • Organizations didn’t make significant changes to the types of collaboration apps offered to employees, mainly Zoom and Microsoft Teams, and employees didn’t significantly change the ways in which they are using UC&C technology.
  • Pre-pandemic, most companies used only one communications and/or collaboration app; now, the majority of respondents use three or more, with Zoom (44 percent), Microsoft Teams (38 percent), and Cisco WebEx Teams (16 percent) most popular.
  • Half of respondents had no remote work option pre-pandemic; now, 55 percent work remotely at least a few days a week. In 2020, 32 percent said their ideal work location would be 100 percent in the office, and 22 percent said work from home (WFH) with some occasional in-office time. In 2021 and beyond, 71 percent say they will be back in the office in some format, either some of the time (29 percent), or full-time (14 percent).
  • Survey respondents identified many factors that make them uncomfortable on video calls, including constant interruptions due to interferences of kids and dogs at others’ WFH sites (21 percent), high volume or frequent noisy sounds at others’ WFH sites (21 percent), and others’ lack of personal grooming (12 percent).
  • Among benefits to a remote-first work environment, survey respondents identified a more flexible work-life balance (34 percent) as the biggest, followed by no commute (21 percent), and enhanced productivity (14 percent).
  • Asked about their companies’ return to office (RTO) plans, almost half of survey respondents identified “real face-to-face human interactions” as the biggest appeal to RTO, with those 65 and older missing co-workers the most (70 percent), followed by 56 percent of 55- to 64-year-olds, and 47 percent of 35- to 44-year-olds. Almost a third of 18- to 24-year-olds reported their company’s RTO plans made them more likely to quit.

“With hybrid work here to stay and the Great Resignation in full swing, it’s crucial for organizations to be attuned to employee needs to build a productive and loyal workforce,” according to the survey news release. “Creating a forward-looking workspace with plenty of room to collaborate — both on- and offline — is key, as well as embracing new methods of communication, like asynchronous messaging. The organizations utilizing UC&C platforms effectively will be best positioned to balance between in-person and remote work and keep both employees and customers happy.”

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