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Adjusting to a new normal: The shift to remote work

Cisco Webex Research Blog Series

The Design Group at Cisco is a global team of Red Dot Award winning creatives who explore peoples’ needs through research and empathy to make the world a better place to work. This series explores their research and some best practices to make everyday interactions more effective. 

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Results of research on the transition to remote work and the effect on the future of work

In the past six months, there has been an unprecedented shift to remote working.. With little warning or preparation, workers around the world have had to learn how to navigate and adjust to a new normal- working from home.

The UX Research team at Cisco Webex wanted to learn more about this transition and how it will affect the future of work. In July 2020, we conducted a large-scale survey with 860 knowledge workers around the world who had earlier this year shifted from primarily working in the office to primarily working from home. Here are some of our key findings:

Only 5% of respondents want to return to the office full-time

In the future, the vast majority of respondents (78%) would like to work remotely anywhere from every day to a few days a week. This suggests a hybrid working model may be here to stay.

5% of respondents want to return to the office full-term

No commute, greater flexibility, reduced costs, and better work/life balance topped the list of advantages of remote working

The top advantages seen here suggest that a major advantage of working from home may be improved time management, whether it’s tied to a lack of commute or simply greater flexibility in people’s workday.

Distractions, connectivity issues, and missing colleagues were the most common challenges of remote working

No challenge was selected by more than 30% of respondents, suggesting that different people face different problems working from home, most likely influenced by factors such as working environment, job role, household, and seniority.

Since COVID-19, the usage of meeting tools increased by 123%, and the usage of messaging tools increased by 58%

The percentage of people who use messaging or meeting tools two or more times a week dramatically increased, signaling a large change in how workers communicate and collaborate with each other.

graph of messaging tools and meeting tools

Conclusion

At Cisco Webex, we’re working hard to address the challenges that users face in the new workplace. As a follow up research project, we’re also studying how office environments and behaviors are changing as people around the world begin to return to in-person working. We’ll also dig deeper into what unique challenges and advantages accompany a hybrid working model. Stay tuned!

We would love to hear from you. If you are a worker who has recently gone remote and would like to share about your experience, please email us at mailto:webexresearch@cisco.com

Connect with all of our blogs in the series here

About the Authors

Nishchala Singhal, UX Researcher
Nishchala is a UX Researcher at Cisco Webex. With degrees in Human Computer Interaction and Cognitive Science, she is passionate about using research to bring the user’s voice to the product design process. Her goal is to help create intuitive products that improve people’s everyday lives.

Kathryn Parkes, Senior UX Researcher
Kathryn is an experienced user researcher based in Dublin, Ireland reporting into San Jose. As a member of the UX Research team, she leads research projects across the Webex Suite working with various Cisco Collab teams in Ireland, US and across Europe. The team use a broad variety of research methods, including user interviews, usability testing and benchmarking studies, to get a deep understanding of Webex user needs.

Mani Pande, UX Research Manager
Mani leads the user research team in San Jose. Her team is responsible for understanding the needs of Webex users to inform product strategy and direction, and ensure that the software we ship is not only simple and easy to use, but also delightful. You can find her and her team members huddling with Webex users understanding how they use our software and mapping opportunities of improvement. In another life, Mani worked as a reporter for the Times of India, India’s largest selling newspaper, covering media and crime. Outside of work, Mani loves to travel, cycle, run and cook. She posts photos of food that she cooks and places she visits on Instagram.

Learn More

Virtual backgrounds to inspire remote work culture: the Cisco Webex artist series

Delighting remote workers: Why user experience is important

Why remote work can be more productive work

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