While Europeans may want to come into the office more often, they have mixed feelings about the way their workplace is organized.
Is it time to go back to working in the office? Many companies around the world are insisting that employees work on site on a more frequent basis. And, contrary to certain headlines, many employees in Europe aren't against it.
Three-quarters of European employees surveyed in a major study* by Cisco Systems are in favor of coming into their company's offices more often. They feel particularly positive about coming to the office to work and talk with their colleagues, and are keen to have a sense of belonging to a group.
A third of European employees also say that coming into the office helps them feel less lonely. Workers in Poland and Italy are particularly likely to complain about feeling isolated when working remotely (39%), unlike employees in Netherlands, only 18% of whom feel this way.
Interestingly, 41% of working people on the "Old Continent" agree with their employers that the office is the optimal place for boosting productivity. The British, however, don't necessarily share this view, as only 34% say they are more efficient when working on their company's premises.
Workspaces not suited to new ways of working
While Europeans may want to come into the office more often, they have mixed feelings about the way their workplace is organized. The majority of those questioned by Cisco Systems feel that their workstation is moderately effective—if not ineffective—at enhancing in-office productivity (61%). They say the same about meeting rooms and relaxation areas provided by their employers.
Their main complaint is the lack of network connectivity in their workspaces. A large number of employees feel that their company's premises are not sufficiently well-equipped from an IT point of view. They would like to see better audio and video capacities, to encourage information sharing and inter-departmental communication. "Further to this, there is a universal feeling that currently available collaboration tools do not integrate with each other seamlessly," says the report.
While European employees don't mind coming into the office, their bosses know that they're not ready to give up remote working altogether. Over 80% of employers surveyed believe that hybrid working will become the norm on the job market within the next two years. But for this to happen, companies need to think about reimagining workspaces to make them both attractive and conducive to new modes of collaboration. *The Cisco Systems report was based on a panel of 4,500 employees and 1,050 employers in the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Poland and Spain.