Anywhere WorkspaceCategory 2 min read

Do Your Employees Have to Be in the Office to Be Innovative?

Ralf Gegg
Morsa Images
Businesswoman with smart phone looking at computer monitor. Young female professional is sitting at desk. She is wearing smart casuals at home office.

Navigating the intricacies of office life has never been particularly easy. And I think it’s safe to say that it’s never been quite as complicated as it is now.

Two years of remote work have presented a unique set of challenges for even the highest-functioning organisations. Now, with hybrid- and anywhere-work models becoming board room discussions, these challenges have only become more apparent.

Our recent survey on distributed workforce trends found that two-thirds of decision-makers indicate their company is more innovative – and shows higher customer satisfaction – when employees are in the office. Yet at the same time, it’s clear that employees value the added flexibility of being able to work from any location they want. More than half of employees have even reported they “will never work for a company that does not offer anywhere- or hybrid-work policies”.

Hybrid working models: The best of both worlds – with automation to help

So, what is the solution? According to our survey data, a hybrid model provides the best of both worlds. Organizations with hybrid-work models are most likely to see a positive impact on innovation (28%), while still maintaining a large increase in job satisfaction since before the pandemic (62%). Teams can also dedicate in-office days to ‘innovation’ and ‘collaboration’ to create more meaningful work experiences.

Automation has a key role to play in helping to strike this balance. More and more organisations – particularly those who are following a hybrid-work policy – are investing in automation and digital tools to help increase productivity. This can include simplifying the ways in which companies support hybrid work, from adopting company-wide communications tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams to helping IT teams eliminate manual tasks by automating and unifying endpoint management.

The current economic climate and the near-universal talent shortage has added a layer of complexity to employer-employee power dynamics and therefore hybrid-work policies. However, it’s reassuring to see that among businesses where investment in automation has increased, almost half (46%) of businesses in EMEA are investing in automation to help increase employee experience and productivity. Additionally, 43% are looking for automation to help accelerate innovation, while 49% seek to create faster and lower-cost operations.

The highest levels of investment are concentrated amongst organizations with hybrid- or anywhere-work policies versus those with office-only policies. Again, this suggests that business innovation and productivity must be prioritized, but not at the expense of working location flexibility.

Preparing for the Anywhere Future

Overall, our research suggests that organisations must now look to strike a balance between innovation and working location flexibility for employees. We’ve already seen some promising signs, with 82% of respondents suggesting that their organization is planning to increase investment in line with their anywhere-work policy over the next 12 months.

If you’d like to learn more, download the full report: “The Distributed Work Dilemma: When Innovation and Job Satisfaction Compete”.