An estimated 82% of the global workforce will be back in their workplaces within 12 to 18 months, according to a survey commissioned by Xerox Holdings Corp.
The survey was conducted by research firm Vanson Bourne and polled 600 IT decision makers from the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Germany and France in organizations with at least 500 employees. According to the survey, 56% of the respondents were investing in new resources to accommodate a hybrid workforce split between in-office and remote employees, while 58% planned to change their work-from-home policy within the next year.
However, 72% of respondents said they were not fully prepared to meet the digital challenges created by the abrupt transition to remote work. The main problems in this transition involved inadequate technology (29%), communication breakdown with remote employees (26%) and maintaining focus on work in a remote environment (25%).
Prior to the work-from-home requirements created during the pandemic, 33% of respondents said network/data security and privacy was their biggest concern with a remote workforce, while 24% cited concerns over employee productivity and 16% cited technology infrastructure.
An overwhelming 95% of respondents believed that in-person communication was crucial for personal development and assessing talent in the workplace.
Going forward, the U.S. respondents were the most likely to have an increase in confidence in remote working (86%), followed by their counterparts in the U.K. (80%), Germany (80%), Canada (77%), and France (75%).
“While there is no doubt the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we work, our research found that over time many companies plan to have most employees back in an office environment,” said Steve Bandrowczak, president and chief operations officer at Norwalk-based Xerox. “This could be for a variety of reasons, including communication, speed of decision-making and talent development.”