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For nearly a decade Poly have been studying workplace personas and how to match workstyles and employee behaviours to devices and technologies so that organisations can increase productivity. They have conducted proprietary research into workplace personas to create archetypes based on the behavioural traits found in typical enterprise business employees.

Poly refreshes the research every few years, and when they embarked on the study in 2020 with their consultants, they marvelled at how quickly the world was changing as a result of the pandemic.

In the past versions of the study, they’ve observed an emerging trend that as communication platforms and devices proliferate, people are increasingly able to work from different locations. The shift was incremental – predictable, even. However, with Poly’s latest research, they saw a dramatic shift in the global enterprise workforce to working from home.

We couldn’t help but wonder: What impact will this have on companies in the short term? And, perhaps more importantly, how will this impact the way we work in the future?

EMPATHY LEADS THE WAY

Poly talked about delaying the research report until after the pandemic, but as they were reflecting on the seven workstyle personas, they were overcome with a wave of empathy.

Poly has spent the past decade trying to better understand these personas so that together we can help share their stories and make life better for enterprise workers. And although each of these personas is a composite, they very accurately represent real people in our lives.

Poly thought about the Office Communicator – who represents people that spend most of their time in the office… and they’re only 1% likely to use video. It’s likely they’re having to lower the boundary between work and home life.

Next, they considered the Road Warrior – who represents our colleagues who spend 50% of their time traveling. Having their wings clipped like this probably makes them feel anxious to get back out in the field to see customers and partners in person.

The decision became clear – Poly could not wait. The research had to be done now. Given the historical view of workstyles, Poly is in a unique position to understand the current impact of the pandemic, something that will help customers plan.

THE LATEST RESEARCH FINDINGS

In January 2021, the latest round of personas research was completed. The study surveyed more than 5,000 enterprise workers across eight different countries. While these findings reveal perspectives at a unique point-in-time – during a global pandemic – Poly believe the behaviour shifts will have a long-term impact. In the latest survey, participants were asked about pre-COVID-19 work behaviours as well as the impacts COVID-19 is having on the way people work now, and what they anticipate for the future (post-pandemic).

Here are a few things we learned …

1. Work location will be more flexible in the future: The workforce was already starting to work more flexibly pre-COVID (compared to Poly’s 2017 research), and users expect the flexibility to continue post-COVID.

Poly-persona-graph

2. Home is the new office for many, but not everyone has a dedicated space to work or the right set of technology to be their most productive at home.

Poly-work-locations

3. COVID-19 has led to a rapid growth of conference calls and video meetings. 42% of global workstyles reported daily use of video pre-COVID. That number jumped to 63% during COVID. Some personas are still reluctant to use conferencing technology – we know it isn’t a preferred channel for all workstyles – but the research shows that this is an opportunity for companies to embrace personal video technology in addition to video-enabled meeting rooms.

Poly-call-stats

There’s no doubt about it: workstyles are transforming as hybrid work environments are winning more ground. Work is no longer a place, and we believe the best way to understand the future of work is to understand the people who perform it. Make sure you’re working with your customers to identify the personas within their business and providing the right tools and devices accordingly by visiting our interactive landing page here.


Kate Farrelly

Marketing Team Leader - Nuvias UC

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