An estimated 82% of the workforce are likely to return to their offices in 12-18 months despite COVID-19 bringing some changes in attitude towards remote working, according to a global survey on Wednesday.
In preparation for a return, companies are investing in new resources to support a hybrid remote / in-office workforce, with 56% increasing technology budgets and 34% planning to speed their digital transformation as a result of COVID-19, said the survey by workplace technology company Xerox Holdings Corp.
"While there is no doubt the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we work, our research found that over time many companies plan to have most employees back in an office environment," Steve Bandrowczak, Xerox President and Chief Operations Officer, said in a statement.
"This could be for a variety of reasons, including communication, speed of decision-making and talent development."
The "Xerox Future of Work Survey" polled 600 IT decision makers including senior C-level professionals, whose organisations have at least 500 employees.
Respondents reported challenges caused by the sudden transition to remote work, with 72% citing they were not fully prepared from a technology perspective.
In addition to technology, the biggest pain points during the required work from home period were communication breakdown across teams/employees and maintaining focus.
Prior to work from home requirements being imposed, 33% of respondents said network /data security and privacy was their biggest concern with a remote workforce, while 24% cited employee productivity followed by 16% citing technology infrastructure.
The results suggest that employees may not be going back to the office all at once -- or even in the same capacity as before -- but the need for organisations to support a hybrid workforce is here for the foreseeable future.