In February 2020 the PGi team conducted a study to better understand the state of digital communications. While the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed remote work entirely, and perhaps permanently, the study uncovered several interesting findings. These include commonalities between generations of workers and a clear trend: People desired the flexibility to work remotely before it became the government mandate.
PGi’s Digital Communications: Early Adopter Study surveyed a wide array of respondents. These individuals hold roles in different departments ranging from sales and customer support to legal and human resources in industries including healthcare, media/marketing, financial services, and more.
3 Unexpected Similarities
Since the study included respondents spanning several generations, one might believe that their work habits would differ. Yet, PGi’s study concluded workers of all age groups shared three commonalities.
1. Quiet Space, Natural Light, and Music are Key
When questioned about working from home effectively, respondents said that the top three things they need to be productive are a quiet space, natural light, and music. Above all, having a quiet space to work from consistently was critical for a productive at-home work environment.
However, if quiet space comes at a premium in your house right now (think working from home with kids), focus on finding natural light and a great playlist.
2. Home is the Most Productive Place to Work
When asked about where they work best aside from their desk, 53% of respondents ranked “home” as the most productive place to work. Conference rooms ranked second with 49%, and community workspaces took third among 39% of participants.
3. Emailing and Messaging Still Prevail
All generations stated that emailing, messaging with colleagues, and working remotely were the most critical work activities. However, the 25-34 age group was the most interested in sharing calendars, managing processes, and automating workflows in comparison to other generations.
The flexibility of work is not without challenges. Survey respondents stated that learning curves, technical malfunctions, and a lack of internal processes were the top difficulties when using collaboration and communications solutions.
The Long-Term Business Impact of Remote Work
After reviewing the responses from participants, the ongoing impact of remote work was clear. As we look to the future of work, employees desire:
- The freedom to work remotely
- Video communication tools
- A suite of communication and project management tools
- Tools for increasing productivity in the workplace
The most prominent takeaway, however, was that all generations saw a resounding opportunity for digital communications and collaboration tools to better enhance communication, performance, and productivity across remote teams. We’ll be using technology at work like we use it at home.