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Employers Reluctant to Adapt to a New Workplace Reality, Study Shows

Density, YouGov, The People's Workplace
Photo by Harman Sandhu on Unsplash

Employees value privacy protections above all else in the workplace despite wanting tech-enabled operations

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 15, 2022 — Density, Inc., the leading analytics platform for measuring and optimizing workplace performance, commissioned ‘The People’s Workplace’ study to better understand how employers are embracing the emerging new normal of hybrid work. Recently conducted by YouGov on behalf of Density, the research shows that most employers fail to recognize that their employees want greater flexibility, increasingly value optionality, and the protection of individual privacy rights in the workplace.

Smart offices are very much a work in progress

Research findings revealed that employers continue to embrace a traditional approach to work, with two-thirds (63%) of large companies remaining open throughout the pandemic and more than half of all companies (59%) neither closing during the pandemic nor offering any hybrid working option (55%). This is in addition to 88% of companies saying that they are keeping their offices open in 2022, with only 10% limiting the number of employees allowed back at one time.

However, the data shows that just under half of the companies polled (48%) have not implemented any new technologies to support employees returning to the office, despite employees wanting their places of work to feature connected technological devices for a seamless workplace experience.

Employees are concerned about privacy and want a flexible approach to the workplace 

The data revealed that the most important element for employees in a smart office is the ability to protect workers’ identities from hacks and data leaks. In addition, nearly two-thirds (61%) of employees at companies with a workforce of more than 1,000 employees would be concerned about their privacy if their company used camera-based technology in the office to monitor how space is being used.

When asked about the quality valued most in a hybrid workplace, more than half of employees (57%) said a flexible work schedule. This is especially true of employees (59%) at large-scale companies (500–999 employees). The study also showed that one in three employees (32%) want the flexibility to choose where they work day-to-day, despite 39% saying they were working full time from the office.

This study shows that the office has a role to play as part of a hybrid working strategy, but that its current model is fundamentally outdated in meeting the changing needs of employees,” said Darren Graver, Research Lead at Density. “We believe that this period of change can either be a reckoning or a renaissance for employers as they re-examine the purpose of the physical workplace. Our anonymous by design technology provides a better understanding of employee behaviors and informs workplace design and real estate strategy through data.”

“At Gensler, we have launched our own research survey since the beginning of the pandemic as the Delta variant was active,” said Janet Pogue, Global Director of Workplace Research at Gensler. “While the Omicron variant has added additional concern and further delayed returns, we found that of the 4 out of 5 employees who knew their company’s plans, about half are flexible work policies that range from requiring everyone in the office at least part-time, to providing WFH options for those that need it, to encouraging staff to be in the office during set ‘core’ days or hours. Our data, like the data in the Density report, also showed that only 9% of companies have given everyone the option to define their own in-office schedules.”

A full copy of the Density and YouGov The Future Workplace Study can be accessed here.

For more information on Density please visit: www.Density.io

About ‘The People’s Workplace’
The Future of Workplace’ was co-produced by Density and YouGov to look into employees’ workplace preferences and was conducted among 1,002 U.S. adult employees augmented in two groups of companies with 1-499 employees and companies with 500-999 employees; results were averaged. The study was conducted from December 10 through December 22, 2021.

About Density
Density is the leading space analytics platform for measuring building and workplace performance. We are on a mission to measure and improve our footprint on the world. To learn more, visit density.io.

About YouGov
YouGov is an international research data and analytics group. It has operations in the UK, North America, Mainland Europe, the Nordics, the Middle East, India and Asia Pacific, and has one of the world’s largest research networks. Its mission is to offer unparalleled insight into what the world thinks.

It achieves this through its ever-growing source of Living data made up of over 17 million+ registered panel members. This continuous stream of accurate data enables companies, governments and institutions to make the most informed decisions possible with thousands of data points on consumer opinions, attitudes and behavior. Furthermore, its fully integrated suite of products and services operates as a systematic platform, serving YouGov data and intelligence for all stages of the marketing workflow.

Testament to YouGov’s capabilities, The Financial Times stated, “YouGov was startlingly effective… Their model worked astoundingly well”. Bloomberg also commented, “The YouGov model is more than a poll. It’s a hybrid of a traditional opinion survey and an exercise in big data analysis”.

Our data is regularly referenced by the press worldwide and we are the most quoted market research source in the world, according to Meltwater. For further information visit yougov.com