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Today’s Workplace by the Numbers


Number collage
Image: zphoto -
As much scrambling as seemed to have taken place when work-from-home (WFH) orders began going into effect back in March, only a smattering of enterprise IT professionals who participated in a career and workplace survey recently fielded by our sister event organization, Enterprise Connect, indicated their organizations weren’t at all prepared, from a communications and collaboration perspective, to support remote work at scale. I’ll take that as a sign that creating the connected, collaborative workplace has long been top of mind for the enterprise IT community we serve at Enterprise Connect and the companion community site, No Jitter.
Of the 168 enterprise IT professionals who participated in Enterprise Connect Research’s “State of Enterprise Communications/Collaboration Careers & the Changing Workplace 2020” survey, more respondents indicated they were at least moderately prepared than those who said they were only slightly prepared or worse. By the percentages:
  • 17% — extremely prepared
  • 39% — very prepared
  • 30% — moderately prepared
  • 11% — slightly prepared
  • 2% — not at all prepared
How much WFH had been allowed prior to the pandemic, however, varied. On one end of the spectrum, 8% of respondents said their organizations had no prior support for WFH, while slightly more than a quarter of organizations had already allowed WFH for the entire workweek, depending on role and responsibilities. Workers at another 20% of organizations, again dependent on role and responsibilities, had the option of working remotely at least two days per week prior to the pandemic. More typical, as indicated by 46% of respondents, was to support WFH on a limited basis.
Today, of course, the numbers look much different — with the bulk (74%) shifting to an allowance for WFH five days a week, and another 15% now saying their organizations allow remote work at least two days weekly. But support for remote work all the time isn’t universal. A few respondents (2%) indicated their organizations still don’t support WFH, while 9% indicated that the option is only available on a limited basis.
Regarding a return to the office, whenever that might be, respondents are considering a wide variety of technologies for and approaches to supporting collaboration spaces and meeting rooms. The top five among them are:
  • 71% — Meeting rooms with restricted capacity
  • 61% — Open offices with restricted seating
  • 54% — Increased use of desktop videoconferencing
  • 42% — Increased use of headsets
  • 40% — Huddle spaces limited to single-person occupancy
Most have some time to get these plans squared away. Of those who are supporting remote work, all but 21% of respondents — those who said they expected only to support remote workers through 2020 — see this being a longer-term situation: through mid-2021 for another 21%, through 2021 for 11%, and indefinitely for 30%.