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237 global companies weigh in on remote working and returning to offices

The survey results are in as 237 global companies weigh in on what they really think of remote working and the return to the office. As government restrictions are eased and Australian businesses prepare to reopen, employers, in accordance with the government’s ‘return to work’ roadmap, are beginning to ask their employees to return to the workplace. 

The question remains: what will the post-pandemic workplace look like and how will businesses and their respective employees adapt to a post-COVID office model?

In light of this, global design and workplace strategy firm, Unispace, with a varied suite of clients – includingANZ Bank, Optus, Coca Cola, EY and Deloitte – has recently surveyed 237 companies among their clientele to gather data and insights on the global impact of remote working and what the workplace future holds for these high-profile companies.

The survey results shed light on what workplaces of the future will look like and emerging cultural and behavioural trends to be taken into consideration for future office design.

5 changes after COVID-19 remote working

As told by Unispace’s suite of clients:

  1. The overall office footprint will shrink
  2. Staff will work from home at least 2-3 days per week
  3. Companies will send staff back in waves
  4. Video conferencing will replace most audio conferencing, phone calls, and F2F external meetings
  5. Employees will use more collaboration spaces within the office than before, and focus work will predominately be conducted at home

Productivity

Interestingly, 45% of respondents have found themselves more productive while working remotely while 36% have found it more difficult to maintain productivity as a result of ineffective setups and caregiving requirements. On top of this, 37% have witnessed a decrease in productivity due to the increased need to communicate more regularly with colleagues.

Internal/external changes 

The primary challenges from both an internal (63%) and external (55%) standpoint has been around connecting with peers and clients. Participants in the survey have seen challenges arising when talking to external parties with 42.7% of respondents indicating some frustration with a mismatch of software and being unfamiliar with their client’s tools, which may have been better solved in a face-to-face office environment.

Returning to the workplace 

Although respondents feel the office will go back to normal within 3-6 months (27%), they also believe the overall office footprint will shrink (36%) and staff will work from home at least 2-3 days per week (68%).

Remote working arrangements 

In line with higher in-office rates, 25% of respondents in APAC have indicated that they don’t have a suitable home internet arrangement. While 70% of organisations were prepared to work remotely, 30% already had some teams working from home and were more equipped with this change to remote working.


Established in Sydney in 2010, Unispace has been leading change in the workplace transformation for a decade. It has enjoyed rapid growth on the back of an integrated workplace methodology that brings together strategy, design, project management and delivery.

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