Out of sight but not out of mind: Employees across EMEAR believe strong company cultures will underpin a successful hybrid world of work

  • New working dynamics increase importance of an inclusive organizational culture
  • Culture and experiences are top employee care-abouts, once logistics and technology are addressed
  • Communicative leadership key to maintaining a sense of stability, recognition and autonomy for employees
Reem Asaad, Vice President, Cisco Middle East and Africa

Riyadh: Businesses planning for new workplace models and a safe return to the office may be well underway, but strong company cultures will be the critical component that make new ways of work sustainable in the long-term. According to Cisco’s Workforce of the Future study, experiences ranging from frequent and effective communication through to greater recognition and professional development are all areas within the cultural matrix where employees believe matter most.

Employees spend on average half of their waking hours working, amplifying the importance of not only optimizing office and virtual workspaces, but building strong, inclusive organizational cultures too. While many remote workers feel empowered and trusted by their managers and teams to do the job at hand, there are still a significant portion of respondents who are concerned about being left behind. 18% of those surveyed in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Russia (EMEAR) do not feel trusted to do their job from home, without extensive oversight, and whilst just over half of the workforce feel recognized, the remainder believe their achievements are being overlooked (49%). 

Opportunity for progression is another prominent concern, with an alarming 46% of employees worried that not sitting near their manager will impact their career goals. Communicative leadership will be paramount to overcoming the challenge of proximity, as well as maintaining a sense of stability and autonomy. 80% of employees surveyed in EMEAR agree that if companies become more widely dispersed, leaders must communicate more to ensure an effective workplace.

Training and development remains front of mind for individuals who now, more than ever, are tasked with mastering technology in their everyday work. 80% of EMEAR-based employees want leaders to prioritise training on technologies and in digital skills, with nearly two thirds (58%) concerned that this will not improve in the new normal. 

Reem Asaad, Vice President, Cisco Middle East and Africa commented, “People choose an employer for many reasons, but they buy into a company and stay for its culture and values. As we continue to work from home and in many cases, navigate new challenges and opportunities of hybrid working, we have to be inclusive, taking everyone on the journey with us. Businesses across the region must take extra steps to ensure that each person within the workforce feels invested in, and tools such as collaboration technology will play a vital role in creating smart workplaces and ensuring that dispersed employees and teams remain connected.”

The pandemic has changed the way we work forever, with employees now seeking greater ownership and choice in where and when they work – blending between being office-based and working remotely. As businesses invest in digital workplace transformation and establish hybrid models, they are faced with the challenge of implementing bespoke long-term digital solutions that truly transform employee experiences regardless of location, and support productivity. Solutions such as on demand conferencing, enterprise instant messaging and secure file-sharing prove vital in this regard, as does security management to protect against advanced threats.

While 49% feel they have the full technology set-up to work from home, there is still a significant proportion who don’t. Investing in digitization and equipping employees with the right tools to connect and collaborate is a key part of this journey. Cloud-based collaboration platforms supported by AI and advanced analytics that enable features such as facial detection, transcriptions, and translations, all while integrating robust cybersecurity measures, play a powerful role in bringing teams together, as well as driving greater engagement and innovation virtually. 

About Workforce of the Future:

Cisco commissioned Censuswide to survey 10,095 workers who have been working from home for 10 consecutive days or more, in 12 countries, since the start of lockdown. These countries are the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Poland, Russia, the UAE, Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. Neutral responses such as ‘neither agree nor disagree’ or ‘don’t know’ have been removed from the base statistics. The survey included workers in businesses from 2 to 500+ employees across a number of sectors. The survey was carried out between 11th – 25th August 2020. Censuswide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.

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