Hey honey, I shrank the office: Companies adjust to ‘new normal’

Almost all the respondents in a new survey say they are uncomfortable returning to offices because of the coronavirus.

Shrinking offices [Bloomberg]
A growing number of workers say they will work from home permanently but many express frustration at conference calls [File: Cole Burston/Bloomberg]

More than half of companies plan to shrink their offices as working from home becomes a regular fixture after the Covid-19 pandemic ends, according to a survey by Cisco Systems Inc.

Some 53% of larger organizations plan to reduce the size of their office space and more than three quarters will increase work flexibility. Almost all of the respondents were uncomfortable returning to work because they fear contracting the virus, the poll found.

Cisco, the largest maker of networking equipment, recently surveyed 1,569 executives, knowledge workers and others who are responsible for employee environments in the post-Covid era. The findings suggest many of this year’s radical changes to work life will remain long after the pandemic subsides.

The poll, conducted for Cisco by Dimensional Research, concluded that working from home is the “new normal.” More than 90% of respondents said they won’t return to the office full time. 12% plan to work from home all the time, 24% will work remotely more than 15 days of each month, while 22% will do that eight to 15 days every month.

Work from home trend chart [Bloomberg]

Cisco’s Webex video conferencing service has benefited from lockdowns that have kept millions of people working and studying from home. It’s also faces rising competition from Zoom Video Communications Inc.

For employees who do return to the office, Webex is adding environmental sensors that plug into its current video-conferencing gear. That will help companies identify over-used and under-utilized spaces, while complying with room capacity limits.

Underscoring the importance of conferencing software, according to the survey, 98% of all meetings post Covid will include a remote attendee. That doesn’t mean users are happy with their current experience. Some 98% shared frustrations with video conferences.

Conference call gripes chart [Bloomberg]


Source: Bloomberg