2020 workplace trends

At an incredible pace, technology is changing every element of our working lives, including the spaces in which we work. The hardware and software we use day-to-day, the ways we work with each other, and the ways our working lives fit into our personal lives are constantly being refined. But from country to country and from industry to industry, these changes can differ significantly. What’s the current state of play? And what are the future trends that are most likely to be best for your business?

Modern Workplace 2019Modern Workplace 2019

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93% of people agree that technology integration is important to productivity.

Download the 2020 research to find out more.

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The report takes a deep dive into the key trends and insights across six important themes:


  1. Flexible working
  2. Employee experience
  3. ROI and productivity
  4. Collaboration
  5. The connected workplace
  6. Technology integration
  7. Download the research

A global workplace view

The third edition of The Modern Workplace Research Report summarises the views of more than 1,000 workers in several countries around the world. By comparing findings in different territories and regions, you can gauge the speed of the evolution in your workplace against the overall direction of travel in your community, and in others.


What is it that enables work to flow; and how is it that the employee experience can be improved?

Flexible working

Flexible working and remote working have been growing in popularity over the last few years. The widespread availability of cloud services has made it easy to share documents and collaborate with others, while messaging services and videoconferencing allow teams to stay in touch easily. Just over half (52 percent) of companies say that their employees work remotely at least some of the time. Meanwhile, 62 percent say that they expect more remote working in the next year.

Does your organization offer any of the following to some or all employees?


Employees chose when to start and end their work day, but may have some set core hours when they must work

Remote Working

Employees can work from homer anywhere else for some or all of their work

None of the above


With this in mind, one of the biggest challenges for companies in these timeframes will be managing the amount of office space they provide, as this increasingly flexible workforce is still likely to require a hub to which they can return for certain tasks, such as meeting clients or face-to-face check-ins with colleagues.

More flexible working insights

“Remote working is part of the culture, the values of the place. It’s the opposite of presentism…. Location diversity will continue for us as we are very agile and dispersed, and we are trying to manage carbon footprint.”


The employee experience

Employee experience is increasingly recognized as a vital factor in business performance. Getting the best employee experience depends on a complex mix of influences, but the workplace and its role in wellbeing and company culture are important components.

What do you see as your biggest organizational challenges at the moment

The key challenges for business leaders are, according to our research, almost a three-way tie. Talent retention and employee experience (32 percent) is tied with technology adoption (32 percent) as the most pressing issue, followed by digital transformation (31 percent).

“We have put a heightened focus on culture, I put team building at the heart of our workspace design.”

Facilities Manager, USA


Enabling a flexible workspace; one where collaboration and productivity are at the center of it all.

ROI and Productivity

Managing the productivity of a workplace used to be about controlling costs and fitting as many people in as possible. However, the workplace must now also offer flexibility for changing modes of work and be designed to maximize employee experience. More than half of employees (61 percent) feel that this was a concern, and a third (32 percent) said one of their biggest challenges was finding sufficient space as rents increase.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements about your organizations?

From four-day work weeks to more remote working initiatives or a flexi-time approach, employees in a workplace environment need the right space to work in order to maintain optimal levels of productivity and effectiveness.

Modern Workplace 2019

Research download

93% of people agree that technology integration is important to productivity.

Download your copy


Did you know that 60% of people say that remote working improves productivity?

Employees need different spaces for different tasks if they are to perform at their best; and since the face-to-face aspect of the workplace is one of the prime reasons why many leaders say that offices are still vital, it remains important that companies have viable spaces in which those meetings can take place. With growing numbers of employees starting to work remotely, at least part of the time, and technology growing in capability, it seems likely that videoconferencing increase even more in popularity.

Which of the following applies to your organization?

However, workplaces themselves are increasingly also being designed for adaptability. Shared breakout areas are being offered so that employees have somewhere informal to work, typically without needing to book. With space at a premium, many areas are required to be versatile, with furniture that can be moved or removed so a space can be used for team meetings, client workshops or even lunchtime yoga classes.

71 percent state that
employees are more productive when they have access to a range of spaces
that support different working styles.


Making space work hard through a connected workplace: Rethinking technology and systems integration.

The Connected Workplace

Companies and the technology they deploy are in a constant state of evolution. The trend towards remote working is being driven, in large part, by changing cultural norms and by technology, which is now mature and dependable.

One risk of more employees using company devices outside the office is security. And research has told us that almost half of respondents (45 percent) agree that data security measures are not keeping pace with the challenges posed by new ways of working.

What do you see as your biggest workspace challenges? (top 2)

This makes it imperative to adopt the appropriate security measures, such as by encrypting data, and while we are seeing a move towards more connected technology, security measures need to keep-up-to-date too, aiding in productivity.

“We are continually investing in all our buildings, but we have some much older buildings which now require a lot more attention.”


Technology Integration

Are employees happy with the technology they have at their disposal at work? Is our home environments more technologically-equipped than what our workplaces are offering us?
Providing the right mix of meeting rooms and workspace is a challenge for half of businesses, with 44 percent saying that they expect that challenge to remain in three years’ time.

Broadly speaking, how important is integrating new workplace technologies to the productivity of your organisation?

From Microsoft Outlook to Google Calendar, Slack, Zoom and Teams, the world of technology integration is seeing an improvement in providing employees with the tools they need to work remotely.

49% of respondents
say integrating technology into their workplace
is very important in improving productivity.

Despite a rapidly changing economic landscape, the workplace remains central to productivity and collaboration. It plays a vital role in employee satisfaction and commitment and is crucial to the efficient functioning of the business. Now, more than ever, businesses should be focused on making their workplaces the best they can be.

Modern Workplace 2019

Download the full research

2020 brings us new workplaces challenges and opportunities. Get insights from the global workforce in the latest modern workplace report. Download your free copy here.