Employees across the USA and Western Europe are now spending more time in the office, as businesses adjust to a post-COVID world. That’s according to a new video conferencing end user report from Futuresource Consulting, which captures the opinions and working behaviours of more than 1,000 employees in the USA, France, Germany and the UK.
Not only does the research, carried out in March 2022, show that people are spending more time in the office since the previous annual survey, but it also reveals they are now spending more time working there than working at home.
“Overall, we’re seeing the hybrid working model begin to take precedence,” says Jamie McMullan, a quantitative analyst at Futuresource Consulting, “with 45% of respondents telling us they work from home at least occasionally. Yet there are some regional variations. For example, French employees are more likely to be in the office full-time, and less likely to be permanently based at home. In the UK, employees are less likely to be in the office full-time, with nearly three in five of those we surveyed in the UK working under hybrid conditions.
“Last year, we also saw a trend take hold for more versatile, flexible video conferencing, with new locations like breakout areas, telephone booths and pods increasing in popularity. That trend is staying strong, and most conference calls from locations other than meeting rooms and desks are between colleagues rather than for external communications.”
During the 12 months running up to the Futuresource study, almost three-quarters of employers had bought products to enhance video or audio quality for their employees. Audio devices were the most popular purchase choice. Plug-in microphones were more likely to be purchased by the employer, whereas headsets were more often bought by the employees themselves.
The study also shows that smartphones and tablets are increasingly being used to join video conferencing calls from meeting rooms. Futuresource notes a heightened blending of business and consumer technology, with personal devices often used for work purposes, and work devices being used in areas of the household beyond the home office.
Video conferencing systems continue to be well-liked by employees. Despite this, nearly all respondents still regularly have problems joining conference sessions, with no improvement from last year’s survey.
“We’ve seen a slight increase in the number of employees having problems joining virtual conferences from meeting rooms,” says McMullan. “These are mainly due to difficulties with connecting to in-room systems, setting up the dial-in codes, and systems not allowing external guests to participate. In general, the main issues employees faced when joining sessions were relating to sound and video quality, including background noise from other participants.”
The size of a business also has an influence on how meeting rooms are being used. In larger companies, it’s more likely that meeting rooms will be used to host remote participants when compared with SMEs. Futuresource notes that this may be due to larger employers being more likely to have dispersed workforces, while employees in small companies may all be at home at the same time, or all together at a centralised location.
Latest Enterprise and Professional AV Insights