A survey from Cisco Canada shows Canadian employees want workplace flexibility despite concern that their in-person counterparts will have more opportunities for career advancement. Its findings underscore the need for a reconfiguration of the modern workplace that puts people first.
Cisco Canada has released a survey that highlights why organizations will need to put employees at the center of hybrid work to create equitable employee experiences.
At the same time, the survey also uncovered some of the challenges and concerns felt by employees when it comes to career growth in the hybrid workplace. The findings mirror Cisco’s recent global Hybrid Work Index, which shows that hybrid workers expect greater flexibility, accessibility and security, while businesses grapple with meeting these increased demands.
The Canadian data shows that almost half (46%) of Canadian employees expect that in-person workers will have more opportunities for workplace engagement and career growth than their remote counterparts. In contrast, 77% agree that flexibility in work location and work hours now directly influences whether they will stay at a job.
These findings highlight a clear tension for Canadian employees – the desire for flexibility versus the impact that flexibility will have on career progression. As organizations shift to hybrid work, they will need to address this head on and ease employees’ concerns by setting expectations around the new workplace culture.
“As we make the shift to hybrid work, we have an opportunity to redefine the modern workplace. And while hybrid work is not one-size-fits-all, we are seeing the key themes of flexibility and choice take center stage,” said Shannon Leininger, President, Cisco Canada.
“No matter where employees work – from their home, office or a coffee shop – organizations need to prioritize employee needs and expectations to retain their talent. The right technology will help them make the employee experience equitable, inclusive and seamless.”
The survey also found that Canadian employees want to see a greater emphasis on wellness (60%) and flexibility (60%) in their new workplace culture more than anything else, putting pressure on employers to create an environment that puts people first. This means ensuring that offices are adaptable to how employees work best, and leveraging technology to create a safe, collaborative and flexible workplace.
A hybrid model and the supporting technology will play a critical role in leveling the playing field, eliminating communication barriers and supporting employees wherever they are. For example, the survey found that 82% of Canadian employees do not actively participate in all the meetings they attend, highlighting the importance of leveraging technology that makes participation – whether verbal or non-verbal – easier.
“Hybrid work is underpinned by strong technology – technology is core to driving inclusivity and connectedness with employees regardless of their location,” said Leininger.
The data below sheds light on the attitudes Canadian workers have on topics central to the future of work, including:
Hybrid workforce culture
• 71% of respondents found that remote work has had a positive impact on their work-life balance, with 31% saying the impact has been very positive.
• When it comes to changes employees want to see to their company culture and management style for a hybrid workforce, 60% want a greater emphasis on employee wellness and work-life balance, 60% want greater flexibility in defining working hours, 51% want greater control over managing meeting schedules and workloads to prevent burnout, and 50% want investment in technology (hardware or software) that will make hybrid work smoother.
Return to office
• 24% say their company plans to return to the office in three to five months and 17% plan to return in less than three months.
• 72% of Canadian employees say their companies are planning to be hybrid or remote going forward – 58% say their companies plan to move to a hybrid work model, while 14% say they will be moving to a fully remote model. Globally, only 47% think that their company will allow working from anywhere vs. in-office over the next 6-12 months.
• Just 13% say they’ll be expected to be in the office full-time or most of the time.
Employee retention and career advancement
• 46% of Canadian employees worry that in-person workers will have more opportunities for engagement and career growth. This concern is even higher in younger employees (18-34) with 56% concerned about the impact on their career.
• 94% of respondents are satisfied with the technology and collaboration tools they use for their job, and 87% say that they feel confident about the future of work based on their company’s current technology and collaboration tools.
The survey was conducted by Angus Reid for Cisco Canada. There were 1,012 respondents from across Canada that are working remotely or hybrid.
Cisco’s Global Hybrid Work Index looks across people, technology and business to identify emerging global work trends. It derives insights from millions of aggregated and anonymized customer data points. Third-party research surveying over 39,000 respondents across 34 countries, including CIOs, IT decision makers and employees, supplements the research alongside Cisco’s own employee data.Click below to share this article