Office redesigns seek to bridge home, office disconnects: Cisco

Dive Brief:

  • Workplace operators should put more consideration into layout and seating arrangements, sustainability and eco-friendly features and health and wellness amenities, according to a Cisco 2024 Hybrid Work survey. 
  • In addition, nearly two-thirds of employees want better technology and infrastructure that can accommodate different types of work and activities, the report said. These upgrades are also the main focus for employers, who see hybrid work as an opportunity to create more enriching and productive workplaces that can boost employee engagement and corporate performance, the report says. 
  • While collaboration with colleagues is one of the key reasons employees want to go into the office, 85% of employers said that most of their organization’s office space is allocated to personal working space. Three out of four employees said they are looking to redesign their office space in the next couple of years, with about half of all employees and employers saying that individual workspaces are ineffective or just moderately effective at enhancing in-office productivity. 

Dive Insight:

As employers look to redesign their office space to meet evolving expectations, they must also make spaces attractive and effective for a multi-generational workforce, the report says. Different generations perceive the effectiveness of dedicated areas differently, according to the global survey of 14,050 full-time employees and 3,800 employers taken between December 2023 and January 2024. 

Employers also felt that meeting rooms, small and large, were ineffective or only moderately effective. Insufficient video or audio endpoints in these rooms were cited as a barrier to effectiveness by 46% of employees, with 41% saying a low quality audio-visual experience made meeting rooms ineffective. Thirty-two percent cited a lack of consistency in the experience of remote versus in-office participants, with 86% of employees in the Americas saying that workplace tools do not integrate seamlessly. 

In order to improve the effectiveness of these spaces and the office in general, 81% of global operators said they have or are working to redesign their office. While 24% of respondents in the Americas say their organization has completed a redesign, 35% said they have one planned and another 17% said they have a redesign underway. 

The report says that these redesigns are taking place as employees increasingly seek to use the office for different purposes than before the pandemic, with “flexibility and adaptability to tailor a more individualized work experience” ranked as the top-rated function that employers and employees seek out of the office. In turn, both organizations and workers ranked enablement for local collaboration and teamwork and better integration between work and home life as the most important functions of their office redesigns, Cisco says. 

While 78% of employers say they are providing the right technology to “ensure a seamless transition from the home to the office,” there is a sharp decline in the number that are actually providing the necessary practical supports, the report says. Just 49% of employers are providing project management and collaboration tools, with 48% providing interactive virtual meeting rooms, with even fewer providing office footprint monitoring and smart meeting room assistants.