More mobile workers choosing to work at the office: Survey

Access to technology, co-workers main reasons for coming in

As technology and alternative work strategies free people to work anywhere, many people dream of working at the beach or at home in their pajamas, but the majority of employees are still choosing to work in the office, according to a new study by Steelcase and CoreNet Global in the United States.

Eight-six per cent of companies offer alternative work strategies such as home offices, hoteling, (shared workspaces that can be reserved) and mobile work — up from 50 per cent in 2009 found the 2011 How Emerging Work Strategies are Changing the Workplace.

An additional 16 per cent of respondents said they plan to implement an alternative work strategy this year.

Organizations reported using alternative work strategies to help employees improve work-life balance (49 per cent) and to save on real estate costs (31 per cent).

But despite the trend toward increasing mobility, nearly 50 per cent of all organizations reported they have 10 per cent or less of their employees regularly working remotely. Just three per cent have one-half or more of their employees utilizing alternative workplace strategies.

Employees are choosing to come into the office for two reasons: people and technology. Seventy-two per cent of respondents said the office is the best place to interact with colleagues and 40 per cent said it provides access to much needed tools and technology.

"Workers are coming to the workplace because they need spaces that enhance collaboration with teammates, who are often distributed around the world,” saiud said Jim Keane, president of Steelcase. “They also need to be supported physically and cognitively and to feel a sense of belonging and connection to the organization's culture.”

Organizations continue to rethink their real estate strategies to gain efficiencies and improve effectiveness. For most organizations, net usable space per employee now ranges from 150 to 225 square-feet and nearly 55 per cent of respondents plan to cut their current real estate portfolio by up to 10 per cent this year alone.

Fifty-seven per cent of respondents reported using their real estate savings to reconfigure team spaces and 41 per cent reported accommodating alternative work settings such as cafes that provide the access to people and technology that workers want.

"Employers are realizing the benefits of giving employees more choice and control over where they work. They want a range of spaces, depending on what kind of work they need to do. By revitalizing existing spaces or investing in new spaces, it's possible to achieve more real estate efficiency and create a variety of spaces that allow workers to be their most effective throughout the day," said Melissa Securda, director of knowledge and research at CoreNet Global.

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