Commitment to Alternative Workplace Strategies Driven by Economic Landscape

May 20, 2009

Within the current economic landscape, corporations continue to cut expenses. With current workforces becoming further geographically spread along with the introduction of new technologies, alternative workplace strategies (AWSs) present opportunity that can avoid salary cuts and freezes. Still, the largest challenge continues to be a lack of support from senior management, according to a recent survey of CoreNet Global Dallas Summit registrants.

Microsoft, along with CoreNet Global, continued its effort on an international survey examining the successes, challenges, and drivers of AWSs. Microsoft and CoreNet Global last partnered for a North American study in October at the Orlando Global Summit. The current survey specifically examines registrants to the Dallas Global Summit, with 71 percent representing large-scale, global operations. An international survey was also distributed at the Macau Global Summit.

The economic landscape has ushered in a more mobile workforce at a faster pace with an overall shrinking corporate footprint. In fact, 55 percent of survey respondents agree that the commitment to the overall AWS strategy has increased significantly to support current economic conditions. Sixty-one (61) percent of respondents report having a greater commitment to their AWS programs. Whether working in open office settings, satellite offices, or other remote locations, employers are becoming more flexible with the technologies used to match the people and places with where the work is being done.

This survey of international workplace and corporate real estate executives (CREs) continued in line with findings from the other international findings that, not only are AWS programs going to grow, but 76 percent of the respondents report the presence of these programs within their organization. An interesting difference that we see specific to Dallas is that, of those companies that already have programs in place, 71 percent have been in place for at least 2 years. The early adopters – those programs that have been in place for less than 2 years – are much fewer, at 29 percent. We’re seeing a slight difference in the number of employees within corporations embracing these programs. At the Orlando Summit in November, over half of the companies surveyed reported less than 10 percent of employee participation. For Dallas, we see almost one-fifth of companies reporting between 10- and 20-percent participation, with 47 percent of companies forecasting a slight change over the next three years. 

Companies are currently looking to reduce operating expenses wherever possible, with 62 percent of respondents agreeing that current conditions are likely to continue through 2010. Travel is the highest area of reduction, followed by hiring freezes, staff reduction, and bonus/salary reduction.

Fifty-seven (57) percent of companies state that AWS strategy of telework is a component to the reduced travel policy. Within telework, e-mail continues to be the No. 1 form of communication. Web conferencing is used by 80 percent of respondents, and instant messaging, VoIP, and video conferencing are also used.

North American and European operations are further along in development of AWS programs. All other global regions have ample room for growth and adoption. Top regions that are actively rolling out or are in the processing of piloting, deploying, or have completed the rollout, include:

  • North America: 96%
  • Europe: 65%
  • Other Asia/Pacific Rim: 48%
  • India: 46%

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