The Future Workplace – a Canadian Perspective

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Author: KJ Burke, Principal Technology Strategist, Hybrid Cloud at CDW Canada

As we begin to plan our return to the office, it is essential that we take the positive aspects of collaboration learned from the pandemic and apply the knowledge as we shape what the future workplace will look like. Therefore, the first thing we need to do to prepare for this “next” normal is to analyse how Canadian professionals feel about the current state of the workplace, what is working and what is not.  To learn more, CDW Canada commissioned a survey with Angus Reid to understand better how businesses functioned during the pandemic.

The Good

Overwhelmingly, working from home was a positive experience where organizations allowed their employees to have a flexible work schedule. For example, some Canadian Government employees moved to a 4-day work week, which was very positive. In addition, new tools have been adopted at a swift pace to support collaboration, continue and complete projects. Almost unanimously, coworkers felt that the tools deployed kept them in touch with their coworkers. Whether it was via MS Teams and the Microsoft 365 suite of tools, Slack, Google Docs, Git, or ServiceNow, businesses believe the tools rolled out by their IT teams during the pandemic will continue to be a critical part of their day-to-day work.

Organizations who supported flexible workplaces also benefited, with 59 percent of those organizations stating that productivity for their teams increased during the pandemic. In addition, before the pandemic, 79 percent of IT professionals believed their organizations valued the available collaboration tools compared to 94 percent when the survey was taken. 

The Struggle

Not all the aspects of working from home were an improvement for organizations and individuals. For example, relationships between teams and coworkers have been strained over the pandemic, as 44 percent of study respondents noted that their relationships with fellow coworkers suffered over the pandemic.

The Opportunity

When employees are empowered to work on individual deliverables remotely and leverage the office as a collaboration space, this hybrid work model seems to provide organizations with the best of both worlds.  

Here are three ideas that could help toward implementing that hybrid working model: 

1. Maintain Flexibility: Employees can enjoy the flexibility and continue improving their work-life balance without the restrictions from the pre-pandemic normal. Organizations can use this as a key differentiator in how they support their workforce. However, they need to continue to evaluate security and data protection for remote users and invest in training to empower employees to get the most from the collaboration tools at their disposal.

2. Re-evaluate the office: With fewer people in the office day-to-day, organizations can look to repurpose space to improve the ways coworkers collaborate. In this next normal, organizations will have the opportunity to dedicate workspace and rethink how to use existing office space for in-person and virtual collaboration.

3. Manage the office space more effectively: Smart technology, such as sensors and cameras, can help with office utilization and help businesses make better decisions about their office space.In addition, automating office support systems like lights, heating and cooling can be done even more efficiently, leveraging much of the same smart technology by implementing IoT (Internet of Things) solutions.

Closing Thoughts

The future of work will be better defined as we move forward, but having Canada-specific data, such as our market trends report, provides essential insights to help businesses meet the needs of the evolving Canadian workplace.

To learn more about how to empower your workforce and improve workplace productivity, flexibility and engagement through collaboration and mobility solutions, connect with our team of experts today at CDW.ca/digital-workspace.