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Employees are now at the forefront of workplace strategy and the global success of organisations in Middle East and Africa

The human experience is at the forefront of how individuals view themselves in the workplace. Employees no longer want to be viewed merely as a resource but as individual contributors to the organisations they work for. With many employees not able to separate their work and home life due to the pandemic, organisations have had to prioritise employee wellbeing and their work-life balance.

Progressive companies have advanced and implemented secure-by-design digital transformation to enable frontline, hybrid and remote workers to operate safely and productively. Those who have deployed technology, tied to strategic objectives are doing this well and reaping significant rewards. Our 2021 Global Workplace Report reveals that many organisational leaders, managers and employees are often misaligned in their views of what the future of work should look like – and how to enable it.

Top 5 factors influencing organisations’ workplace strategy

The report indicates that misalignments in executive, operational and employee feedback is showing that employee experience (EX) must be heightened and extended further to enable employees to do their best work.

The report further states: 

While 64.4% of CEOs are satisfied with their EX capability, only 23.3% in the organisation agree.

Just 25% of employees agree that the value of EX is fully embraced, business-wide.

Key Takeouts

Some progress has been made in some areas of EX, but it’s not a strategic differentiator.

Businesses that have optimised their workplace strategies are more satisfied with their current EX capability. A focus on employee wellbeing is delivering marked results, particularly in improving work-life balance and employee wellness. These improvements then guarantee overall productivity and business growth.

Wellbeing replaces productivity as the top factor driving these changes.

Close on two-thirds of chief human resource officers say employee wellbeing levels have deteriorated since the arrival of COVID-19, with work-life balance taking a back-step to an inevitable ‘always-on’ working way. Because of this, only 23.1% of employees are happy working for their current employer. 

It’s now the onus of the employer to implement measures to prevent employee burnout and manage maximum working hours.

The modern workspace can be anywhere. Global commerce has largely accepted that remote-working is viable across most industries and regions. However, and quite interestingly, working from home has been confirmed as the least preferred option among employees – most want the option to work from company premises on occasion.

49.1% of C-suite executives concur that the workplace is no longer a physical building - rather it’s a  variety of spaces where groups of employees can come together in collaboration.

44.0% of organisations have stated they’ll be implementing a higher percentage of regional offices closer to where employees live - not one central HQ.

Just 55.1% of businesses are satisfied with the hybrid work infrastructure on their premises. 

Key Takeouts

The data shows a trend moving away from office-based or factory-based working to remote-only or hybrid models. 

Organisations need to embrace this fact, enable a more diverse workforce to connect, collaborate and be productive across different environments, but continue to remain agile to pivot workplace models for evolving needs. 

Human interaction is still vital.

Face-to-face interaction builds a sense of teamwork, strengthens client relationships and enhances  social and emotional connections at work. Two-thirds of organisations, then, are building videoconferencing, video collaboration spaces and more teamwork spaces into operations and processes.

Hybrid operating models have brought new challenges to implementing and measuring sustainability initiatives. The Global Workplace Report has shown that modern organisations are embracing the new collaborative, yet remote, working world, and implementing measures to drive positive change in their areas of influence.

89.1% of organisations agree that they’re aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in support of their ESG agenda.

30.9% say sustainability is woven into their sales proposition to customers. 

Another 29.8% say it’s part of procurement requirements for vendors.

39.5% of employees say they will choose an employer based on that company’s alignment with their purpose and values. 

Key Takeouts

Sustainability is key to global workspace design. 

Organisations are now taking a more prominent position in how they build their brand, attract and retain talent, differentiate and reduce operational costs. 

Businesses will need to look to increase the scope of their sustainability efforts and drive positive change by engaging employees both individually and collectively. 

This they’ll do by working to comprehend the sustainability of the remote working directive as a whole, across all work locations and employee workstyles, to understand their current situation and where to focus future efforts.

Employee work locations – pre-pandemic and now

2021 Global Workplace Chart 1
Figure 1: Employee work locations pre-pandemic and now
In what type of location do you currently work? And where did you work at the start of 2020? n=1,402

Expected level of remote working for hybrid workers post-pandemic

2021 Global Workplace Report Chart 2



Figure 2: Organisations’ expected return-to-workplace model
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, has your organisation returned to office(s) and workplaces as normal, or are you adopting a more distributed resource and workplace model??n=1,146

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