Reply’s Research Confirms Hybrid Work is no Trend

Increased productivity and advanced collaboration are only two of the benefits the hybrid work models bring, and that is why it will be the business world’s new normal, according to Hybrid Work research carried with Reply’s Trend SONAR, the proprietary trend detection and monitoring platform based on Artificial Intelligence – with support of PAC (Teknowlogy Group).

The research estimated the main market trends using sector studies and evidence collected from Reply customers. Data from two different clusters of countries were then compared: the “Europe-5” (Italy, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium) and the “Big-5” (Brazil, China, India, the United Kingdom and the United States). The aim was to understand the maturity of the market after spending the last year and a half of pandemic life.

Companies that have accelerated their digital transformation during the pandemic define the hybrid work model as popular, effective and performing – the very reasons why there will be no turning back.

Aside from a few limitations related to remote collaboration, which technological innovation will increasingly minimize, the new normal does not provide for a full-time return to physical workplaces, but rather it provides for greater flexibility and hybrid work paradigms.

This approach is expected to revolutionize office design, corporate culture and the overall employee experience. This scenario will benefit employees with better work-life balance and increase of work efficiency, as well as companies: smaller office spaces, flexible working hours, hiring of talent without the need for relocation.

To enable the hybrid work scenario, information must be accessible in the cloud and seamless and instant collaboration must be made possible through the adoption of the right tools for each business and activity. At the infrastructure level, cloud computing is an option and is becoming the standard that is driving hybrid architectures. Spending on public and private cloud technologies already represents more than half of the current global infrastructure spending and is expected to reach two thirds by 2024.

Another trend highlighted by Reply’s research is the growth of hyper automation; another approach based on artificial intelligence which extends the use of automation to value-added activities. By 2025, nearly half of the largest global companies are expected to support workers with smart technologies designed to assist with complex interactions.

Cybersecurity is also one of the main enabling technologies for hybrid work, precisely because one of the greatest obstacles to this type of work is the potential vulnerability of corporate networks. For this reason, security is one of the major investment areas in 2021 and it is not expected to be a short-lived trend. It is estimated that by 2025 the market for end-user device security, in other words security solutions for PCs, smartphones, tablets and other corporate devices, will grow by 45 percent among the Big-5 countries and by 34 percent among the Europe-5 countries.

A strong focus on sustainability accompanies the hybrid work model. Reply’s research shows the workforce, and in particular the new generations, search for companies that operate with a solid purpose, that act in a responsible and sustainable manner from an environmental point of view and that have the courage to take a stand in social and cultural debates – with clear and measurable corporate ESG standards.

Hybrid work has become an essential factor in retaining talent and when facing the great resignation phenomenon, with almost half of under 35s who, according to global data, are considering quitting their jobs if forced to return to the office full time.

As the business landscape continues to change, organizations need to improve their existing capabilities and provide access to distance learning platforms. It is estimated that the Big-5’s spending on online learning platforms will increase by 48 percent by 2025.

The full research can be downloaded here.