Survey Highlights Appeal Of Working Remotely Among Today’s Professionals
The option to work remotely is becoming increasingly common at companies today, and is expected by their employees. Staples’ Annual Workplace Survey found that this year, 32 percent of employees spent all their time working at their office, and 43 percent of employees describe the flexibility to work remotely as a must-have. There’s a gap, however, between what workers expect and what employers are providing, with only 38 percent of employers explicitly offering the option to work remotely, according to the survey.
The Staples Annual Workplace Survey was conducted by KRC Research on behalf of Staples Business Advantage. More than 1,000 full-time employees, and 200 office managers and facilities managers, were surveyed in the U.S. and Canada.
Once thought to foster collaboration and creativity, offices with open floor plans are now found to correlate with increased distractions and may even be driving more people away from the traditional office, the survey revealed. According to the Staples Workplace Survey, 57 percent of survey respondents say working remotely removes distractions. Employees working in an open floor plan spend 11 percent less time in the office than those in a closed floor-plan environment.
“The open office may have gone too far and could ultimately get in the way of itself,” says Modupe Akinola, Ph.D., associate professor of leadership & ethics at Columbia Business School. “While employees in open offices are more likely to think of their office culture and environment as transparent, distractions—like regularly overhearing coworkers’ personal conversations—have become unavoidable. These distractions have the potential to hinder productivity, increase stress and drive employees away from the same offices that were designed with the intention of fostering collaboration.”
The survey did suggest ways beyond the open office for businesses to make their employees feel more engaged. It found that 71 percent of workers say being able to sit in different locations throughout the office—a practice known as agility seating, or “hot desking”—deepens their connection with their employer.
For more information about the survey and its results, click here.