Global Hybrid Work Study | Employee Insights, In-Office Challenges, and the Role of AI

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At Enterprise Connect 2024, we unveiled the results of our global hybrid work study, which paints a picture of employee and employer sentiment around return to the office. It also shows employers investing in AI to support collaboration and productivity.

The study surveyed 14,050 full-time employees and 3,800 employers from January 2023 to December 2024 across 19 countries.*

Global Hybrid Work Study Results

It’s no surprise that companies are mandating that employees return to work. We can see the evidence of it with more people on the road than in previous years, through conversations with friends, and in the news articles about return-to-office mandates—and now with our global hybrid work study, which illuminates employers’ and employees’ needs and expectations about returning to the office.

Office Workers Using Webex Connect For The Best Customer Experience Feature

Our study found that:

  • 80% of employers globally are mandating at least a partial return to the office.
  • 78% of employers expect this arrangement to become the norm within the next two years.
  • 72% of employees generally had positive feelings about returning to the office—but not the way it was before hybrid work became the norm. Employees expect increased collaboration, ideation and brainstorming, and an increased sense of belonging from the new workplace experience.

Employers & employees are ready to return to the office – so what’s the problem?

The office is not ready for them.

Why is that?

  • More than 50% of office space is still dedicated to personal working spaces, which are unsupportive of a collaborative environment.
  • Even the spaces designed for collaboration aren’t working, with 76% of employees sharing they do not feel current meeting rooms are enhancing productivity in the office.
  • 34% of the employers surveyed still allocate more than 75% of their office space exclusively to personal working spaces, creating environments that encourage individual working habits.

The top challenges to in-office layouts and current technology are network connectivity, difficulty collaborating with remote team members, and inadequate equipment or tools.

Hybrid Employee Experiencing Network Latency On Laptop During Online Video Conferencing Session

Employers need to redesign their office spaces, and they recognize it.

  • 71% of employers plan to redesign workspaces within the next 24 months to transform them into collaboration-driven spaces.

Webex’s 2024 Global Hybrid Work Study

Recent research uncovers the challenges and satisfaction criteria to creating a successful hybrid work strategy for organizations across the globe.

We at Cisco have heard similar feedback from our employees. We have been on a journey to create hybrid work centers, starting with the floor-to-ceiling transformation in our New York Office, creating a space that draws people in and provides the collaborative experiences they want and expect. Our blueprint for making the office a magnet, not a mandate, includes:

  • Video-enabling every space
  • Creating Distance Zero experiences
  • Digitizing workplace management
  • Giving employees and IT teams the right set of tools

AI is infused throughout every space, software, and device, helping us digitize our workspaces and measure our sustainability metrics while helping our teams increase productivity and help people connect more meaningfully. Simply put, AI is going to play a significant role in the workplaces of the future.

Through the hybrid work study, we asked employers from organizations in the Americas (US, Canada, Brazil, and Mexico) how, and to what extent, AI is influencing their technology strategies. We learned that 73% of responding organizations will invest in AI-powered collaboration software, and 68% are planning to enhance their workspaces with AI technologies by 2025.

Additionally, by providing new ways to improve workplace and collaboration experiences, employers need to focus on upskilling employees with training on new technology. In fact, only 43% of employee respondents feel well prepared to use AI at work.

When we think about AI from the Webex perspective, it’s an intuitive experience that, when enabled, works quietly in the background to make work easier, better, and faster and to deliver unrivaled customer and employee experiences. That’s why we are excited to launch these new features.

An AI Assistant that works for you

The Webex AI Assistant is available across our ecosystem, which is made possible by our platform approach. It is:

  • An AI Assistant that recaps information for you. Work moves quickly across many messaging spaces throughout the day, and the AI Assistant brings you up to speed on your messages in seconds.
  • An AI Assistant that writes for you. Ensure your message lands perfectly every time! The AI Assistant can help you send polished, professional messages – with options for different tones, grammar checks, and even changing the length of the message.
  • An AI Assistant that translates for you. The AI Assistant will translate messages you receive into over 100 languages to remove barriers and ensure the most effective communication.
  • An AI Assistant that summarizes meetings for you. When you need to know crucial details but don’t have the time to watch a recording, you can get summaries of what you missed with enriched meeting transcripts, action items, and chapters that provide information and context.
  • An AI Assistant that finds answers for you. During a meeting, the AI Assistant will help you find answers to questions like: What was the final decision? Are there action items for me? Just ask the AI Assistant your question, and it will search the meeting discussion for the information you need.

Download the full report or read our press release.

*The countries included in the survey are grouped into three regions: the Americas (Brazil, Canada, Mexico, USA), Asia Pacific (Australia, Hong Kong, India, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand), and Europe (France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, United Kingdom). Data was also collected from the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East; That data is included in the global data analysis but is not included in the breakdown of the regional results.

See more from Webex at Enterprise Connect 2024:

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