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Just 7% of UK office workers back fully remote work, according to Sony State of Offices Report

Sony Professional Displays and Solutions Europe State of Offices Report 2023 also reveals a sizeable appetite for dedicated company offices that better support new flexible working styles

Research published by Sony Professional Displays and Solutions Europe and Censuswide has painted a clear picture of new working habits and preferences from the perspective of both employees and businesses. The State of Offices Report 2023 reveals that over two fifths (41%) of UK office workers still prefer to work from a dedicated company office, and across Europe this trend is even more pronounced with over half (53%) favouring office-based work. However, eight in ten (79%) in the UK call for improvements to offices, and the tech within them, to better suit their new flexible, asynchronous working styles. Just 7% back fully remote work.

In the years since the pandemic, trends around preferred working environments have fluctuated as both employees and businesses have struggled to find a new equilibrium. Sony’s research reveals that, despite flexible working now being the norm, businesses are still struggling to meet workers’ needs and provide the right technology to enable their productivity.

In tandem with Censuswide, Sony surveyed 2,600 white-collar workers, business leaders and CEOs across Europe to get a clearer view of their working habits, preferences, environments, and priorities.

A few years ago office trends saw many companies changing the way they operate by opting to use co-working spaces and hot-desking environments that answered to the needs of collaborative employees. While that suited the 5-day-a-week office goers of pre-Covid times, its appropriateness for today’s workforce is uncertain.

More than half (56%) of CEOs and business leaders in the UK still plan to incorporate co-working spaces in future office spaces, despite data revealing that only 15% of employees prefer this setup. While investment into co-working spaces continues, nearly half (48%) of business leaders and CEOs are also looking to increase their owned office spaces in the future, and they agree that the right technology set up (48%) along with flexible hours (58%) will be key to employee wellbeing and satisfied workers. Employees echo this sentiment, with 79% asking for improvements to dedicated company offices and technology to better suit new ways of working.

For employers, delivering the office of the future that employees demand is proving a challenge. 79% say there are barriers to making their office spaces work for employees’ current working habits. The top three barriers cited by UK employers are lack of appropriate real estate solutions (30%), lack of budget (29%), and a disparately located workforce (23%).

Over a quarter (28%) of UK office workers is still entirely office based. Whether in the office or not, this workforce is constantly collaborating with disparately located colleagues, with 85% of all meetings including at least one remote participant.

People increasingly want complete flexibility over where and when they work (44%), indicating that asynchronous working is here to stay. 94% of UK business leaders say they enable asynchronous working patterns and 92% of office workers claim that, when done right and enabled properly by their employer, asynchronous working benefits their productivity (44%), mental health (40%), work-life balance (60%), and stress levels (38%).

With nearly all (93%) office workers agreeing that their working location impacts productivity, overcoming these barriers and achieving the right set-up to enable both remote and in-office employees to collaborate successfully and productively should be a top priority for business leaders. This is especially the case considering that satisfied and productive employees whose working habits are enabled by the right technologies will have increased output, leading to better business opportunity and growth.

“From our latest study, it’s clear that people value going into their company offices and still want to do so when they can,” said Adam Dover, senior trade marketing manager, Sony Professional Displays and Solutions. “With employees’ productivity, happiness and loyalty on the line in an increasingly competitive market, it’s important that business leaders continue to keep this at the forefront of their minds. We know the working world is continually evolving and the offices of the future need to utilise technology to adapt to these changes, but it’s not enough to just offer the option of an office. The space and its tech need to be designed specifically for today’s working habits to support and encourage productive, collaborative, successful and happy employees.”

To download the full Sony State of Offices Report 2023, click here.