Earlier this year, we introduced our latest personas research findings and talked about some of the macro trends we’ve seen over nearly a decade of workstyle research.
I have spent the last several months sharing this research with our customers, many of whom are currently planning or implementing a return to office strategy for their workforce. The pandemic drove major shifts to the way people worked and although there is almost universal agreement that the way people work will be fundamentally changed, there is little agreement to what extent and how to plan for this new way of working. Poly uses our workstyle persona research to help provide a framework for companies to use to inform some of this planning.
Today, I want to explain why we have separate personas, and how understanding the key differences of each persona can help you improve your technology spending plans for the months and years ahead, ultimately saving time, money and increasing overall employee productivity.
For IT equipment rollouts, progressive organizations often realize they need to map out employee workflows or needs to inform some of the decisions that will need to be made. A lot of companies I have spoken to will focus on gaining a qualitative understanding regarding the needs of a department or job role. Yet our quantitative research has uncovered that in many organizations, there are people who work in the same department, in the same role, sometimes even with the same job title, yet these employees may have different behavioral workstyles that affect how and when they use technology. And the magic of our personas research is that it reveals the lesser understood or quantitatively researched behavioral attributes that are the key to planning for a workforce in transition.
In our research we deployed a survey to 5,000 knowledge workers across eight countries. We took those responses and applied a segmentation-based nine key dimensions or attributes (e.g., work location, communication intensity, mobility, technology savviness, etc.). That segmentation profiling uncovered six collaborative personas that make up 92%* of a typical enterprise. This data set was captured during the pandemic and published in January of 2021.
CONNECTED EXECUTIVE: Connected executives are tech-savvy business drivers who go wherever needed to make decisions and solve problems. They use more video on daily basis than any other persona. Since they are so versatile in where and how they work, their pain points include diversions, interruptions, and unpredictable background noise. They use more communication tools than any other persona, so they must stay connected across all devices. In a typical enterprise 12% of employees would fall into this category.
ROAD WARRIOR: Always on the move, road warriors work outside of the office more than 50% of the time. Due to their constantly changing environment, their pain points include noise on calls and unreliable connections. They also travel light, so they want solutions that are highly portable and easy to use. Road warriors report the highest smartphone use across all personas. In a typical enterprise 5% of employees would fall into this category.
FLEX WORKER: The flex worker splits time between the corporate office, a home office and travel. They are always innovating and adapting their communications channels. Due to frequent remote and on-the-go work, pain points include difficulty collaborating with colleagues and missing important information in the office. In motion even in the office, they spend 24% of their time moving from space to space. The flex worker needs to be “always-on” and communicate across several devices. In a typical enterprise 20% of employees would fall into this category.
REMOTE COLLABORATOR: Working from a home office or a remote center, the remote worker has fewer opportunities for in-person meetings and more challenges to successful and productive collaboration. Remote workers are most likely to have a dedicated office space at home and depend on multiple devices, unified communications and technologies to bridge the gaps between them and their colleagues, co-workers and clients. In a typical enterprise 15% of employees would fall into this category.
OFFICE COLLABORATOR: The office collaborator has an office-based work style, is highly collaborative and open to new technology. The majority of those in this persona group rate video calls as a preferred communication channel. As many of office collaborators work in open office spaces and spend most of the day at their desk, their pain points include background noise and constant disruptions. They want to seamlessly manage their communication across devices. The largest of all persona groups, in a typical enterprise 27% of employees would fall into this category.
OFFICE COMMUNICATOR: As a more traditional work style, the office communicator is most comfortable with familiar systems and devices (like a desk phone) and feels most productive working in the office vs. home or other locations. Though they are regularly in meetings, they are rarely the leader of calls and report the lowest adoption of video compared to other personas. Due to the high percentage of time they spend communicating, their pain points include being diverted by interruptions, background noise and lack of privacy on calls. In a typical enterprise 13% of employees would fall into this category.
*The remaining 8% are employees in very independent roles that operate with limited communication / collaboration needs.
Learn more facts about each of the personas: visit the Workstyles page.
While it’s not feasible for most companies to create a tech-spending strategy for every single individual employee, you can use these six personas as scalable/defendable framework to plan for most of your enterprise employees
Using this workstyle approach, you can avoid problematic “one size fits all” strategies. When it comes to technology rollouts, research shows that if you treat an Office Communicator as though they have the same behavioral attributes as a Connected Executive, you’re likely overserving/overspending, giving the Office Communicator more than they need.
In our next post, we’ll take a closer look at how COVID-19 affected personas in ways we hadn’t expected.
As you compile your return-to-office plans, learn how to serve your employee population by behavioral workstyle. With customers planning their return to office after the pandemic, things are not settled by any means. There continue to be challenges and changes by geography to take into account. If you take into consideration that there will likely be an increase in flexible workstyles in the future, that bodes well for companies looking to roll out new technologies.
You’ll see a higher adoption of technology, better return on tech investments as well as increased productivity for the people who are matched with the right devices.
Contact us to request a personas research consultation.