Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Quocirca Future of Work Study Tracks Rise of the Employee-centric Hybrid Workplace

Quocirca today published the third edition of its Global Print 2025 study, analysing how print and digital convergence is shaping today’s workplace. ‘The Future of Work, 2025’ reveals that post-pandemic transformation is proceeding at pace and that the role and requirements of the modern workplace are undergoing fundamental changes. As the energy crisis and ‘Great Resignation’ add increasing complexity to decisions by both employers and employees on the balance between home and office working, changes are set to continue.

The in-depth study was conducted among 1021 office workers and 521 IT decision-makers in SMBs and large enterprises in the UK, France, Germany, and the US.

Key findings include:

PEOPLE: a workforce in flux

  • 42% intend to leave their jobs in the next year with mental health concerns and not feeling valued being key drivers for job changes.
  • 69% said flexible working will force a rethink of what makes good company culture.
  • 67% of businesses expect to lose talent if they don’t offer flexible work options.
  • 36% of workforces are currently working remotely now and 44% will do so by 2025.

Louella Fernandes, Director of Quocirca, said: “The ‘Great Resignation’ is still strongly in evidence and businesses are acutely aware that they must address employee wellbeing. Offering a flexible, hybrid work environment with a rich variety of enabling technology can help retain talent by putting put the employee – rather than the building – at the centre of the corporate experience. Additionally, employers must be mindful of the impact of the energy crisis. This may prompt more employees to consider returning to the office to reduce home energy consumption, but businesses will also be aiming for efficiency in their office footprint to minimise energy costs and emissions.”

PLACE: a new purpose for the office

  • The office will become an occasional destination; 56% said the physical workspace would only be used as an occasional meeting point, primarily for the purposes of in-person collaboration.
  • Office footprints are changing, with 40% anticipating an increase and 35% a reduction in retained space.

Louella continues: “There is a clear change in how employees perceive the role and purpose of offices. The focus is on occasional in-person collaboration rather than daily work. We also found growing anticipation of metaverse-enabling office technology, with 61% expecting workers to mainly communicate through video, augmented or virtual reality by 2025.”

PLATFORM: print-digital convergence accelerates

  • Decision makers and office workers are disconnected on the future of print, with 72% of ITDMs saying print will be important by 2025, compared to only 50% of office workers.
  • 32% say that digitisation of paper-based processes will be extremely important to digital transformation initiatives, rising from 15% today.
  • 20% of print environments will be fully cloud-based by 2025, compared to just 4% today.

“Print volumes are unlikely to recover to pre-pandemic levels,” says Louella. “The digitisation of paper-based processes was catalysed during the crisis and the drive is set to continue. We will see print provision becoming more flexible and cloud-based, with print being reserved for high value documents and customer-facing communications, rather than day-to-day use. This also aligns with companies’ drive towards the less-paper office.”

PLANET: sustainability continues to drive action

  • 67% say sustainability will be a highly important credential for business by 2025.
  • Print policies, cloud print management solutions and managed print services are all being used to address sustainability, with digital leaders having many more print-related tools in place to meet sustainability goals than digital laggards*.

“Sustainability has a strong influence on business decision-making,” notes Louella. “Therefore, suppliers must ensure they are communicating environmental benefits alongside efficiency and financial benefits. The print industry seems to have some catching up to do, as we found organisations that are sustainability leaders** are least likely to say their deepest relationship will be with a print manufacturer by 2025.”

PROVIDER: print manufacturers are losing influence to IT services providers

  • Only 16% of respondents expect their deepest relationship to be with print manufacturers by 2025, a fall from 18% today and 26% in our 2019 study.
  • 26% expect their strongest relationship to be with IT Services providers in 2025.

Louella concludes: “Print manufacturers must prioritise diversifying their offerings to incorporate in-demand services such as security and cloud print capabilities if they are to deepen their customer relationships. We are already seeing manufacturers innovating around security, cloud, and sustainability; exploring the IT services space for themselves. We expect to see more of this as the sector strives to retain relevance with customers.

“Nevertheless, the pace of evolution will need to increase to keep up with demand for diverse, flexible office provision that puts employees at the centre, as customers seek to retain and support a fragile workforce.”

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