The Way We (Really) Work – Unify study of 9000 knowledge workers


In the Knowledge Economy — where a huge proportion of wealth is held in thoughts, ideas and relationships rather than manufacturing physical products — the traditional notions of work and workplaces are continually being challenged.

In order to more deeply understand what is going on in the global work environment, Unify decided to conduct a research — Unify’s The Way We Work study. Together with Censuswide, they surveyed 9,000 knowledge workers — in the USA, UK and Germany. The results are fascinating and startling: 35% of knowledge workers believe the roles they fulfill today will not exist in five years’ time, and 65% say their roles will not look the same within that timeframe.


The office as we know faces an uncertain future, too. In fact, 69% of knowledge workers say that having a single office as a physical workplace is less important than it was in the past, and 49% report that their organizations operate through technology and communication, such as virtual teams. Two-fifths of knowledge workers (42%), report that virtual teams can be more effective, and over a third (36%) suggest that creative thinking is one of the biggest benefits of working with people outside of traditional, physically located teams.


The vast majority of knowledge workers (95%) reveal that they currently have a good balance between their work and personal lives. And over half report that work-life balance has improved in the last five years. This improvement can likely be attributed to a multitude of elements — for example the improved ability to work from almost anywhere, workplaces being more flexible and better technology that enables all of this.


More than half of knowledge workers (57%) suggest they use on-demand tools (e.g. internet/cloud based) for teamwork, project management or virtual collaboration. Yet, at least one-in-five (22%) knowledge workers report that they do not feel they have the right technology in place at work to build trust and make effective team decision.


This study has shown that knowledge workers are continuing to define the ways in which they work, constantly trying to find new more effective ways of doing their tasks. Businesses have to help these professionals, through the implementation of the right collaborative communications tools, to fulfill their roles — or risk falling behind the competition.


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