Research Hub > Enabling Collaboration in the Workplace of the Future
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Enabling Collaboration in the Workplace of the Future

Our recent survey commissioned in partnership with Angus Reid explored the pandemic's many impacts on collaboration, employees and our collective workplaces

Enabling Collaboration in the Workplace of the Future

It's never easy to predict whatthe future of work might look like. However, with so many dimensions of workand life changing rapidly because of COVID-19, it's become increasingly clearthat remote work and collaboration will play key roles in the workplace of thefuture.

Our recent survey commissioned inpartnership with Angus Reid explored the pandemic's many impacts on collaboration,employees and our collective workplaces. The survey found that in the rapidtransition to remote work, 66 percent of respondents experienced aninterruption in workplace collaboration to varying degrees, while only 33percent were able to maintain a seamless connection. As social distancingmeasures continue to evolve in different parts of the country and globally,organizations will need to evaluate both what their office will look like andwhat their requirements for collaboration tools will be.

Emergent changes in workplacecollaboration

At a time when employees areconducting more virtual meetings than ever, our survey showed a significant shiftfrom 66 percent of organizations leveraging collaboration tools pre-pandemic to92 percent during the pandemic. Furthermore, it is anticipated these tools willcontinue being utilized in the future, with video conferencing platforms most likelyto endure as more than 77 percent of organizations noted they plan to continueleveraging this tool.

The vast majority of respondents(93 percent) expect their organization to continue leveraging at least onecollaboration solution in the future, with 80 percent of respondents citingthey are reaping the benefits of the current tools. Regardless of whetherorganizations move to entirely remote or a hybrid office environment,implementing strong collaborative processes will be crucial for organizational success.

A pulse on productivity, connectednessand employee well-being

From the employee perspective,the shift to remote collaboration brought on mixed results. Only 38 percent ofrespondents believe they are more productive, while 29 percent indicated adecrease in productivity compared to working in a traditional officeenvironment. When it comes to collaboration, the picture is more balanced: 40percent of respondents indicated that they feel more collaborative and thatfeelings of connectedness of have not changed, respectively, while 26 percentindicated this sentiment has declined.

Findings also revealed that themajority of employees (65 percent) are growing more fatigued. As remotecollaboration indeed becomes the new normal, there is a need for Canadianorganizations to continually assess the impact of collaboration practices to ensureoptimal support for employee wellbeing and productivity.

Rising security concerns andincreased risks

The pandemic contributed toincreased awareness of cybersecurity threats, with 64 percent of respondentsconcerned about the potential of a data breach at their organization and 34percent even more concerned now than before the pandemic. Concerningly, our surveyrevealed that 17 percent of organizations do not provide security training foremployees. While the investment in tools to ensure business continuity isimportant, creating a stronger first line of defence against threats byequipping employees with cybersecurity training is equally critical.

Key barriers to effectivecollaboration persist

Our survey found that the commonbarriers to workplace collaboration remain. Although respondents witnessed a slightdecrease in several common barriers during the pandemic, some expect thesebarriers to return to previous levels when the pandemic eventually subsides. Surveyfindings showed that the most common barrier is cost, as 49 percent cited thisas a barrier pre-pandemic, compared to 40 percent during the pandemic and 46percent anticipating it will remain a top barrier in the future.

Other common barriers include theperceived complexity of projects (25 percent) and not knowing where to start(15 percent). For Canadian organizations to effectively enable the office ofthe future they must find the right mix of partners to help overcome thesebarriers.

Where do we go from here?

As organizations navigate remotework and real-time collaboration, recognizing and understanding the challengesand opportunities are key to planning for the future. Here are some key pointsto consider moving forward:

  • Collaboration tools will continue to play an important role at organizations: Leveraging these tools will position organizations to improve productivity and encourage innovation while better meeting the needs of customers and employees now and in the future.
  • Addressing workforce challenges is good for business: In order to truly thrive, organizations need to find new solutions to meet the unique needs of an increasingly hybrid workforce now more than ever.
  • A robust cybersecurity strategy will help mitigate risks: Fostering a culture of cybersecurity awareness among employees and the regular evaluation and update of security controls are vital for long-term success, regardless of what your office landscape looks like.

If you're curious about the future of work and collaboration at your organization or would like to learn more about how to get started, contact our CDW collaboration experts at 800.972.3922 or visit