Hybrid Working: trend or truth?

A survey commissioned by Snom sheds light on whether talk of hybrid workplaces in 2023 is purely hype – and why smartphones are yet to replace desk phones.  May 3, 2023 - In March 2023, independent market research institute Norstat conducted a representative survey on behalf of Snom Technology, the premium brand of IP telephony, on the topic of hybrid working and telecommunications equipment in the home office. 4,822 employees from Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the UK took part in the survey. Respondents were asked about having a desk phone in the office, their satisfaction with it, the degree to which hybrid working is practiced in their organisation and the communication equipment they use within a home working environment. The IP phone is alive and well! The expected demise of office telephones as a result of changing work patterns has still not materialised, with 62% of respondents still using an IP phone in the office. By comparison, the number of workplaces equipped with company telephones was 66% in November 2021. Of those who have an office phone on their desk (3,003 respondents across all five regions), Snom asked how satisfied they were with their wired or cordless IP device. 69% were positive in their response, highlighting the ease of contact it offered them anywhere in the company building (42% in the UK), the variety of functions (26% on average) and the audio quality of the device (8%). However, the survey also reveals that not all IP telephones are made equal: 31% of participants expressed dissatisfaction with their office equipment. 15% complained that they were tied to the desk when using phones, that there was limited functionality (10%) and that the design of their device was old-fashioned (6%). Hybrid workers using company devices The development of new working models is one of the biggest trends to impact the B2B environment in recent years. Respondents were therefore asked about their personal experience with hybrid working. However, the gulf between presumptions about hybrid working and actual working practice has proven to be quite profound. The study shows that the proportion of employees who actually engage in hybrid working is significantly lower than expected. Of the 3,003 respondents with office telephones in the five regions, only four out of ten make use of more flexible working models such as home or hybrid working. Leading the way is the UK (with 56% describing themselves as "hybrid workers") and Spain (50%). When asked about telephony equipment in the home office, 81% of respondents with a flexible working model (1,295) felt satisfied with their equipment for business calls conducted from home. In the UK, this proportion rises to 82%. More than three-quarters of respondents said they were using a smartphone sporadically for business calls at home - with Spain being the exception, where 42% of respondents use smartphones for all or half of their communications. Germany has the lowest proportion of smartphone users for business purposes (66% of respondents). Spain (87%), followed by Italy (83%), the UK (80%) and France (71%) have significantly more. The figures for headset usage are similar in all regions. Overall, 68% of respondents use headphones when making business calls and usually use them for half the working week. The survey responses regarding telecommunications equipment and its use in the home office shows that companies are more willing to accept this change than their employees. In terms of equipment, the regions have one thing in common. Whether smartphones or headsets, both are company-owned devices among almost two-thirds of hybrid workers. The survey also confirms that UK businesses are providing equipment for the home office. 63% of UK respondents said their smartphones are owned by the company, while this rises to 72% for headsets. “Gathering insight about how users are engaging with telecommunications equipment – both in the office and at home –are of great value to us," comments Fabio Albanini, Head of International Sales at Snom. "This data can be used to clearly determine whether a particular product strategy is aligned with end-user practice and expectations, and to precisely pinpoint whether a trend has the potential to change thinking over the short term.“
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