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A third of companies are planning a full return to the office

Forrester research shows that the "anywhere-work" model has been met with some scepticism

Around 70% of European and US companies will move towards a hybrid work model, according to research from Forrester, with almost a third planning a full return to the office.

The analyst firm suggests that in order to successfully implement a hybrid working model, companies must assess the specific "anywhere-work" elements to determine how prepared they are. 

However, the "anywhere-work" model has been met with some scepticism, according to Forrester, with 30% of companies set to return to normal with their entire staff back in the office. This is despite hybrid models being now seen as imperative to attract higher-value talent.

The research shows that companies that get it right could accrue both employee experience and business benefits, such as higher retention rates and long-term recruitment advantages. Around 55% of US employees say they hope to work from home more often, even after the pandemic ends, according to Forrester.

"The pandemic has taught us that organisations play a bigger role in employee wellness than previously understood," said Keith Johnston, VP and group research director at Forrester.

"It also reveals how the future of work will be driven by employees having the ability to work anywhere. By shifting conversations to focus on the working environments that best suit employees' needs moving forward, organisations can ensure that their employees feel they are being heard and that they have the autonomy and tools to do their jobs effectively." 

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The way forward, according to Forrester, is to refresh office space and "re-conceptualise" desk space and usage. To help companies, it's launching an 'anywhere-work readiness calculator" which will help them pursue the benefits of anywhere-work and design an action plan based on their readiness. 

"The calculator assesses several company factors, including the percentage of employees who can potentially work remotely and how technologies stack up in terms of collaboration and security," Forrester said in a blog post. "The calculator will help firms invest in and provide technological, cultural, and leadership resources to support work from any location." 

According to Forrester, around 75% of CEOs expect their office space to shrink. Companies such as Salesforce and Dropbox have already announced wholesale changes to their office leases, turning them into collaboration spaces and even subletting parts of them. 

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