The Future is Flexible: Employees want greater ownership and choice in the new world of work

90% of Indian office workers prefer a hybrid work model in 2021, with the ability to choose whether to work from home or office and manage their hours, even when offices open up

India, December 09, 2020 – Working from home may have been an adjustment at the start of the pandemic lockdown, but according to Cisco’s Workforce of the Future survey, employees want to keep hold of many positives that emerged in our new way of working. In India, increased autonomy (72%) and working well as a dispersed team (70%) are two main benefits. Additionally, 73% want to keep hold of faster decision-making.

“Workforce of the Future”, a Cisco-commissioned survey of more than 14,000 respondents across 14 markets in the Asia Pacific, including over 1,000 respondents from India, asked office-based employees for their expectations of employers from 2021 onwards. Results show that employees see this as a watershed moment, challenging cultural norms around the workplace. 

In India, even though only 21% of those surveyed worked from home most of the time before the lockdown, now an overwhelming majority hope to keep this increased autonomy. One size will not fit all, as 90% want greater ownership in defining how and when they use office space – blending between being office-based and working remotely. 

Reflecting on the last six months, almost three quarters (74%) now have a greater appreciation of the benefits and challenges of working from home. Positive changes were afoot, as leaders showed increased trust in their teams to do their jobs well (58%). Employees were able to better balance life around work, with 72% incorporating more exercise into their daily routine. In a similar spirit, over 68% want to continue traveling less and use that time more productively.

Commenting on the results, Hariharan S, Cisco Managing Director for Software, Cloud, and Collaboration Sales, said: “It is clear that working from home has its benefits, as does going to office. Employers that want their staff to be productive and enable them to collaborate effectively, however, must adopt the right tools – especially if they want to successfully transition to the hybrid work ecosystem demanded by today’s workforce.”

Collaboration and cybersecurity technologies – a solid foundation for business resilience and growth

If given a chance to be CEO for a day, 83% of employees would prioritize ensuring effective communication and collaboration above everything else.

For this to happen, 82% of employees believe businesses need to provide the workforce with similar technology at home as in the office. In fact, 73% agree that one of the big positives to come from lockdown is proof that employees don’t need to be in the same room to collaborate effectively.

Employees believe 2021 budget priorities for their business should be investing in the technologies needed for remote work, bringing in technology to make the office a safer space from a health perspective, and improving cybersecurity.

Employees of all ages are also calling for upskilling – 84% think more training on technology and digital skills will be fundamental to business success in 2021.

About Workforce of the Future

Cisco commissioned Censuswide to survey 14,063 workers who have been working from home for 10 consecutive days or more in 14 countries since the start of lockdown. These countries are Australia, India, China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, New Zealand, and Hong Kong. The survey included workers in businesses from 2 to 500+ employees across a number of sectors. The survey was carried out between September 08 and October 15, 2020.

Link to the e-book on the study: