Two-thirds (66%) of global employers believe their organization is more innovative if employees are in the office, according to research from VMware, a leading innovator in enterprise software.
However, this is at odds with how employees feel about where they are most innovative and productive, with 82% of global employees having higher job satisfaction if they can work from anywhere and 64% who believe their workplace politics negatively impact innovation efforts of his organization.
More than half (53%) of employees with anywhere and hybrid work policies, where they can work in an office and remotely, report increased morale, creativity (53%) and collaboration (52%) across their teams.
With growing economic uncertainty, business leaders might be driving employees back into the office in the hope that it will improve innovation and productivity but with little certainty of its actual benefit. But just over a third (38%) of businesses admitted they have formal measures to measure the impact of workplace policies on innovation.
Greater economic uncertainty is driving businesses to focus even more on productivity, but this should not come at the expense of all the progress made in more flexible work practices. All research has shown that productivity has not been hindered by allowing hybrid working, as it creates happier, more engaged, more collaborative teams.
Employees believe that they can achieve their best work when they are given the choice of hybrid work, combined with the tools to support this, however business leaders believe that the office is where innovation is driven. Evidence suggests that most companies do not measure impact, so perception could actually outweigh reality.
With almost three quarters (72%) of companies planning to invest significantly more in their digital culture, and a third (33%) prioritizing investments that foster innovation and creativity – driving innovation to create business efficiencies, cut costs or increase market attractiveness is. clearly a business imperative.
Automation and digital tools help organizations do more with less. More than half (53%) of businesses are investing in automation to increase employee productivity, 43% are looking to automation to help accelerate innovation and 50% to create faster and lower cost operations. The highest levels of investment are concentrated among organizations with hybrid or anywhere work policies versus those with office-only policies, suggesting that business innovation and productivity should be prioritized but not at the expense of workplace flexibility.
The mythical inflection point where all employees are office based will not happen. Companies must continue to strike the right balance between boosting innovation without crushing employee motivation and productivity. Investing in the digital collaboration tools, automation and team building policies to drive efficiency and accelerate success, to deliver the flexibility of office or remote work – creates that balance.