Three-quarters of workers believe it's time to rethink pre-Covid ways of working and try new approaches, according to a global survey by the online security provider Kaspersky.
Instead of returning to business as usual, the company says, workers worldwide are now looking to shape a future of business on their own terms, whether that's spending more time with loved ones (47%), saving money (41%) or working remotely (32%).
The results were based on a survey by the independent research firm Censuswide of 8,076 employees of small to medium businesses (10-250 employees) in Brazil, Belgium, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Russia, Spain, South Africa, Turkey, the UAE, UK and the US in October 2020.
Suddenly faced with an overwhelmingly remote workforce, business leaders need to adapt quickly to remain secure and resilient, Kaspersky says. Employees, meanwhile, are using this moment of change as an opportunity to reassess priorities, and plan a future around what really matters to them.
In casting off the shackles of previously rigid job routines, employees are rethinking work routines, inspiring more agile, accommodating and humane work cultures.
Moving forward, almost two in five workers (39%) want to leave behind the 9-to-5 working structure, and this figure is even greater for those aged 25-34 (44%), suggesting a growing trend. A similar number (34%) are ready to see the back of fixed office desks, and 32% want to end the five-day working week.
The research also highlighted that nearly a third (32%) of employees see remote working as the third greatest benefit in terms of coronavirus by-products, after spending time with family (47%) and saving money (41%).
In fact, most of the advantages revolve around pursuing new opportunities for personal enrichment outside of work, as maintaining work-life balance becomes even more important.
As employees continue to embrace more forward-thinking and flexible ways of working, businesses should augment and adapt the support they provide. Given that well over a third (38%) of the workforce actively seeks more technology support from their organisation when working remotely, the need to provide the tools and technology to keep users productive, connected and secure has never been greater.
"We are facing a defining moment in time, and this is very exciting. It's clear this pandemic has accelerated digital transformation and the blending of our work and homes lives," said Alexander Moiseev, chief business officer at Kaspersky.
"What we're seeing is employees using technology to own a new future, and actively taking the lead in embracing changes in pursuit of greater freedom and flexibility. Companies have a mandate to adapt and remodel the modern workplace into something more productive, sustainable and malleable."
To help organisations keep their flexible workforces secure, Kaspersky suggests the following recommendations:
Empower employees to become more cyber-aware. Whether you're working from home or in a cafe, remote working inspires a completely new shift in the behaviour and mindset of employees.
Boost your workforce's cyber- knowledge.
Take key data protection measures to safeguard corporate data and devices, including switching on password protection, encrypting work devices, and ensuring data is backed up.
Build security inside and outside of the office. Securing employees at their desks or on the go regardless of the device they're using is now easier than ever through solutions in the cloud.
To download the full report, Securing the Future of Work, visit https://bit.ly/3guzbRC