New Microsoft Surface report reveals how a lack of investment in sociable and collaborative workplaces may be holding UK employees back from returning to offices
UK businesses are failing to invest in new, collaborative office environments that could encourage staff back into work after the pandemic, a new Microsoft Surface report warns.
More than four in five UK workers (83%) surveyed by YouGov on behalf of Microsoft Surface find themselves still in the same office environment as before the pandemic. Meanwhile, only around one third (35 per cent) of IT decision makers (ITDMs) surveyed for the same report have been asked to consider whether the IT in their office is fit for their workforce today. What’s clear is that the whole way in which we work has changed irrevocably, but our workplaces have not kept pace.
The majority of those surveyed believe that office work is better suited to both socialising with colleagues (57%) and strengthening relationships with colleagues (65%) compared to remote work.
However, the new research indicates that staff are stuck in uncollaborative work patterns when they do venture into the office – the majority (71%) report ‘doing emails’ every time they go in. Additionally, less than one third (31%) of office workers say that their organisation has invested in technology to improve collaboration in the past year – with just 6% of ITDMs recognising meeting room technology as a priority investment.
Perhaps as a result, half (50%) of employees surveyed only go into the office when they’ve been told that they have to. This is worrying, as Microsoft’s Work Trend Index report recently revealed that getting employees back into the office in person is a concern for 80% of UK business leaders in the coming year.
Alan Slothower, Surface Business Group Lead at Microsoft UK, said: “Too many UK workers are stuck in the same office spaces as before the pandemic, their organisations having made little investment in building a sociable and collaborative workspace. Employees clearly need more enticement back to offices than an employer mandate. The question for leaders is clear: Are our offices fit for today’s workforce and will they really want to come back?”