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Remote work has significantly shifted employee expectations

An expert on remote work says employers need to create environments that are enticing to workers for hybrid models.
Remote work has significantly shifted employee expectations
Posted at 9:11 PM, Jan 18, 2024

While experts say remote work is here to stay, leaders are going to have to make the office a magnet and not a mandate, according to Aruna Ravichandran, a senior vice president at Webex by Cisco. She says a significant portion of workers say being in an office, even in a hybrid model, would offer a lower quality tech experience and hamper their efficiency. 

She says that while many companies are offering a heightened experience that would naturally cause employees to want to come back into an office, that's definitely not always the case. 

Stanford University Economics Professor Nick Bloom — considered to be one of the top researchers on remote work — said at least one important paper on the topic has been "massively misunderstood," and said research shows that by 2023, working remotely was shown to significantly increase innovation. 

Ravichandran said AI is playing a role in making people much more productive as well. 

Companies and lawmakers have talked about the need to regulate artificial intelligence, but there could be embedded benefits if used responsibility. 

Ravichandran said AI can perform essential functions like catching employees up on recorded meetings, and other productivity tasks. She says remote workers will not have to compete with AI. Instead, it will improve communication skills for hybrid workers. 

Ravichandran said workers who travel often have to be factored into the conversation, as they've always worked in an style that is similar to a hybrid work environment. 

SEE MORE: Leading researcher on remote work says it improves innovation

Bloom compares working remotely to the work of scientists, and how more and more of them are choosing to work in global teams. Bloom asked his followers on X to share the study with managers and CEOs to show that working remotely improves innovation.

Ravichandran said in her company's study nearly 50% of workers reported having a poor audio-video experience. 

She says employers need to re-imagine the workspace to create an environment that would actually foster better ideation and collaboration. 

She says employers need to focus on these issues from a technology perspective by creating experience centers and improving environments with individual workspaces. 

She says data shows that employees will want to come back to the office, or will choose to come back or want to participate in a hybrid work format in higher numbers if the office environment actually improves. 

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