Research Firm Finds Hybrid Work Becoming the Norm

The office has become a lonely place on Fridays, according to data from U.K.-based Advanced Workplace Associates (AWA), which indicates that just 12 percent of employees are coming into the office on Fridays.

In June, AWA introduced the AWA Hybrid Working Index to track hybrid working and office attendance around the world.

In its latest report, the AWA Index indicates that office attendance is down to 26 percent, with an average of two-thirds of desks staying unused every day. According to AWA, the preferred days to come to the office are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, with 88 percent of employees choosing to work from home on a Friday.

AWA’s global Hybrid Working Index Report represents nearly 80,000 employees across 80 offices in 13 countries, primarily in North America, South America, and Europe.

According to the research, office attendance and desk usage is highest in the banking sector, and is lowest in the tech sector. The ratio of desks to employees is highest in North America, with 96 desks per 100 employees, compared to 79 desks per 100 in the U.K., and 56 per 100 in Latin America.

AWA’s latest survey also showed that organizations with hybrid working policies have higher attendance than those that don’t, although in these organizations attendance is still lower than expected at 42 percent.

The company also says the hybrid-work model is here to stay, stating: “In the UK, six months after the removal of regulations, people are no longer fearful of contracting COVID from a daily commute, yet they are not returning to pre-COVID travel patterns, preferring to work hybrid.

“Offices in most sectors are under-occupied which, if these trends continue, will result in excess space being re-purposed or sub-let. We believe this will have a profound impact on the property market, which is not currently being recognized by the industry.”

Other findings from AWA include:

  • On average, two-thirds of desks in offices are now unused daily, and even on peak days, offices are more than half empty.
  • Office attendance and desk usage is highest in the banking sector, and is lowest in the tech sector.
  • Desks are very poorly utilized. On average 67 percent of desks are unused.
  • Offices in most sectors are under-occupied which, if these trends continue, will result in excess space being re-purposed or sub-let.

Source: Advanced Workplace Associates

AWA conducted its research in the U.K., U.S., Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Columbia, India, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, and Singapore. It surveyed companies in banking, energy, engineering, healthcare, insurance, logistics, media, pharmaceutical industry, professional services, and technology. It surveyed 28 organizations and 79 offices, with a total represented population of 77,410.

Our Take

What does the hybrid work model mean for the document-imaging industry? First, several document-imaging companies have been forecasting about an 80 to 85 percent reduction in print volumes.

Second, the hybrid work model has resulted in a new category of hybrid-work printers and MFPs/All-in-Ones. These hybrid-work models are more advanced than consumer models, and much more suitable for office work at home, with faster print speeds, more advanced scanning and security, workflow add-ons, and management and tracking capability versus consumer units. But, because they’re typically deployed in homes, for practical reasons they need to be small A4 desktop models. Those companies that have best taken advantage of this new market include Canon Inc., Brother, HP Inc., Epson, and Lexmark, all of which have strong business-class A4 lines suitable for home hybrid work.

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