South African employees prefer the hybrid working model with most companies in the country prepared to shift to this new practice, according to the latest Cisco Global Hybrid Work Study.
The study polled 28 000 globally full-time across 27 countries and discovered almost 95 percent South African respondents want to work either in a hybrid or fully remote working model in the future. This compared favourably to global respondents who came in at 92 percent. According to the South African respondents, 87 percent of companies are supportive of hybrid work practices. Additionally, 31 percent said that their companies were ‘very prepared’ for the hybrid work future, an improvement on the 23 percent of global respondents who said the same.
The findings are part of the Cisco Global Hybrid Work Study, an extensive report which – among others – examined five key areas of preparedness for hybrid work, including company culture; technology; employee support; HR policy and processes; and cybersecurity and data privacy.
Employees have experienced the benefits of hybrid work first-hand and many have expectations for it to continue. Even though most companies across South Africa recognise the importance of flexible working, there remains opportunities for further improvement. A successful, future ready hybrid model must, in equal measure, deliver secure connectivity from anywhere, whilst also maintaining trust, wellbeing and unity among highly distributed teams.Smangele Nkosi, General Manager, Cisco South Africa
Additionally, 61 percent of respondents said that they have saved at least four hours per week when they worked from home with another 27 percent saving eight or more hours per week. People are reinvesting this time by spending it with family, friends, and pets. Significantly, 87 percent of South African respondents said that remote working has improved their family relationships.
Fuel and commuting have been ranked by 95 percent of respondents amongst the top areas where the most significant savings have been made since working remotely. Significantly, 92 percent of respondents believe these savings can be maintained over the long term.
Ultimately, hybrid work has resulted in reduced stress levels by 67 percent of respondents, comparing favourably to the global average of 55 percent.
As more people and businesses adopt hybrid work practices, the need to protect sensitive data and information is more important than ever. Employees agree. More than 86 percent of those questioned said it was critical for making the hybrid work practice safe. Progress has been made on this front, with 67 percent in South Africa believing their company has the right cybersecurity capabilities and protocols in place. In fact, more than 62 percent of those polled said all employees across their company understand the cyber risks related to remote work.
Underlying the important role technology plays in hybrid work, 85 percent believe networking infrastructure is essential for a seamless experience for all employees, irrespective of their work location. Encouragingly, 70 percent of respondents said their company currently had the required networking infrastructure in place.
Hybrid work is an approach that designs the work experience around and for the worker, wherever they are. It supports a blend of in-office and remote workers who may work at all levels at the company. They might work onsite or offsite, with many employees switching between those environments regularly, depending on their needs. Flexibility to work offsite or onsite, and how often, depends on the business and the nature of the employee’s work and their job responsibilities.A hybrid model helps employees choose where and how they will work. Advanced technologies, like automation and artificial intelligence (AI), help to deliver new and more intelligent work experiences that employees can engage in fully. Hybrid work also promotes safe and secure collaboration, inclusiveness, engagement, and wellbeing for all employees.