If you’ve ever interviewed for a job, it’s likely you’ve been asked "where do you see yourself in five years." Usually, the interviewer's objective is to get an understanding of your future plans in terms of your professional goals and see if your aspirations align with their vision.  In the pre-pandemic past, at least one thing was for certain: whatever you would be doing for the company, you’d most likely be doing it at the office.

These days the answer is not so clear from a physical and literal perspective. The future is a lot blurrier, not so much related to what you might see yourself doing career-wise but where you might be doing it. According to a global study by Tata Consulting, on average, 40% of the (corporate) workforce or knowledge workers (those whose jobs are primarily performed on a computer) expects to be working primarily remotely by 2025. 

There are many studies echoing similar results on a global level. Work trends are pointing to a hybrid workforce model where more employees who used to spend 100% in the office will be performing their jobs remotely or a combination of both. Quadient addressed these statistics during our recent Small Talk Webinar Series: Hybrid Communications for the Hybrid Workforce. In light of the trends, we polled attendees asking them to anticipate where they saw themselves spending the majority of their workday in the near future. We didn’t project as far out as five years but focused further out than 2021, when life hopefully begins to morph back into something more recognizable. 

Source: Hybrid Communications for a Hybrid Workforce Attendee Poll, March 2021 N=103

Of the attendees polled, 67% or more than two-thirds said they were currently working from home.  Their predictions were very much aligned with the research. Only about a quarter of those polled saw themselves going back to the office exclusively.   That means over 75% saw themselves either splitting their time or remaining at home. The main takeaway is there still much uncertainty as to what the future of work will look like and that it is still evolving.

When the outlook points to employees splitting their time between home and office, how does an SMB support that model especially when it comes to managing document workflow that may have always been completed at the office? That's where automation software and a cloud-based platform can support a hybrid workforce. Many SMBs took charge and made changes to adapt their policies and processes during the pandemic. Some businesses streamlined their document workflow by adding automation or offloaded some of their more cumbersome mailings through outsourcing. According to our second poll, almost 60% perceived themselves to be ahead of their digital transformation or transition, scoring themselves a 4 or 5.  While roughly the other 40% still felt they have a way to go.

digital readiness
Source: Hybrid Communications for a Hybrid Workforce Attendee Poll, March 2021 N=100

While the future is something you can’t control, our latest eBook explains how you can take steps to equip SMB with the right solutions to help you and your employees adapt more easily, and improve customer experience in the process. The flip side of the world’s "largest remote work pilot"  is that many employees have embraced this new arrangement and would like to maintain the flexibility of working partly in the office and partly at home once COVID-19 is behind us.  Regardless of where your business may be in its transition to digital delivery channels, a document automation platform offers you the flexibility to prepare, produce and process documents from anywhere. When you have the applications to support a hybrid workforce there is no reason why your employees can't perform their responsibilities equally as effectively from whether they are sitting now or where they'll be sitting in five years. 

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