Workplaces have faced changes in past years, with employees working in remote, hybrid, or in-office models. Additionally, when working in the office, businesses often must decide whether to work in private or shared office spaces. How do these challenges affect productivity and workplace security?

How does productivity and workplace security change in private and shared workspaces

Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of different workspaces (private offices, coworking spaces, and fully remote models) can be considered paramount for UK businesses. After analysing the criteria and challenges businesses face when choosing between different workspaces, in this second part of our series we surveyed 1,018 employees from various work settings. The aim is to understand how these different work styles and environments can impact productivity and overall business security. 

Using this data and insights, organisations can further understand the key challenges and tools they can use to ensure that security and productivity targets are met in diverse work environments. The full methodology can be found at the bottom of the article.

36% of respondents feel equally productive working remotely and on-site

Productivity is the lifeblood of successful businesses. The efficiency of an organisation can be measured by its ability to convert its resources into valuable outputs. In the same vein, high productivity in the workplace can lead to better competitiveness, profitability, and innovation, among other things. A combined total of 82% of survey respondents said that they were either very or moderately satisfied with their productivity in their workspaces. Keeping this in mind, we wanted to know if the choice of where work takes place can impact this level of productivity. 

How do different workspaces affect productivity?

Over a third (36%) of respondents expressed feeling equally productive whether working remotely or on-site. This can suggest a shift in traditional notions that greater levels of productivity can be achieved in conventional offices. This change can have implications for UK businesses, which must now navigate a diverse workforce spanning remote workers, on-site workers, and those who migrate between both. 

Businesses should address the obstacles affecting productivity, and deploy tools to correctly measure and monitor employee productivity to identify and address concerning trends. 

Tips for Businesses

Businesses can use software to enhance productivity. Some tools can help automate tasks, streamline processes or provide valuable insights. Here are some examples of such software:

  1. Key performance indicators (KPI) software can help businesses measure and analyse crucial metrics in dashboards that can then help them make data-driven decisions to bolster productivity. 
  2. Project management software can help teams organise tasks, set deadlines, and collaborate efficiently. 
  3. Task management software can help businesses plan, prioritise, and manage tasks to execute projects in a timely manner. These segmented tasks can then be distributed, scheduled, and monitored individually.
  4. Robotic Process Automation tools can automate repetitive tasks, reducing manual workload or helping enhance employee productivity. 
  5. Generative AI (GAI) tools have been shown to bolster productivity. A recent Capterra survey showed that 56% of GAI users noticed a significant increase in productivity when using tools such as Chat GPT. 
  6. Productivity software can be leveraged by businesses to create documents, reports, graphs, spreadsheets and presentations through collaboration and team communication. 

There are key productivity challenges in different work environments

Employees view the office as a crucial part of the modern workplace ecosystem, with UK workers stating that the top two reasons for returning to the office are to focus on their work and collaborate with colleagues. We analyse the challenges across three primary work settings: remote work, coworking spaces, and private offices below. 

Remote work challenges: distractions, lack of social interaction, and establishing a routine

From the 23% of survey respondents who said they felt less productive when working alone remotely, we tried pinpointing the main challenges this subgroup faced. 

  • Distractions at home: 56% of respondents attributed their decreased productivity to distractions at home. Household environments can come with interruptions, such as chores, requests from family members, or the lack of privacy or space to create a comfortable and productive environment. 
  • Lack of social interaction and collaboration: The absence of regular social interaction with co-workers, cited by 45% of this group of respondents, can also hinder productivity. Additionally, nearly a quarter (24%) stated that collaborating remotely with peers was also a challenge. Feelings of isolation can reduce motivation and enthusiasm to collaborate with colleagues. 
  • Difficulty in establishing a work routine: Possibly as a knock-on effect from the distractions, 32% of this group of survey-takers stated that they faced difficulties establishing a work routine from home, making them feel less productive. 
Tips for Businesses

There are different tools that employees can leverage to overcome these challenges from home. Digital workplace software usually comes with communication management tools that allow remote employees to collaborate and access data, tools, and systems they need while working from home. Furthermore, task management software can help employees plan, prioritise, and manage tasks, helping them execute projects and establish routines. 

When it comes to enhancing collaboration and interactions with colleagues, businesses can deploy solutions that can help them cooperate or even motivate their remote employees.

Virtual team-building activities, live-chat software to help increase communication, and collaboration software to enable the online sharing of information can help foster teamwork and collaboration among remote teams. 

Coworking and private spaces can be distracting, noisy, and invasive

It isn’t just remote workers who have concerns about distractions at work. Coworking spaces, despite promoting collaboration, can sometimes be disruptive to productivity. For example, 53% who feel less productive working in coworking spaces noted that there were too many distractions in the office. 

  • 52% of those respondents who feel less productive working in coworking spaces noted that noise levels were disruptive. 
  • Moreover, 39% of the same subgroup expressed privacy concerns. 
  • Furthermore, 14% mentioned difficulty accessing private spaces or meeting rooms.

Respondents who feel less productive working from private offices share similar challenges, with 51% of this group citing distractions, 50% facing noise issues, and 30% reporting a lack of privacy.

Open layouts and shared facilities may not suit tasks that require confidentiality or intense concentration. Meanwhile, if people often book meeting rooms simultaneously or do not have an effective booking system, employees can miss out on in-person meetings, which is one of the perks of going to an office. 

Tips for Businesses

Businesses can deploy tools to mitigate some of the challenges addressed in both private and coworking spaces. For example, if companies leverage internal communication tools, collaboration software, or live-chat tools to encourage the use of dedicated channels for specific discussions, this can help minimise noisy interruptions in office spaces. 

Additionally, private and shared workspaces that deploy physical security software, which offers touchless check-in and access control to private areas, can provide enhanced privacy and security. 

Finally, using desk booking software could be helpful in shared workspaces. Such tools can ensure that rooms are booked efficiently. In addition, they offer tools that can make it easy to view and schedule to make sure that employees are informed timely about the availability of meeting rooms.

83% of employees are satisfied with security in the workplace

With employees working in different types of workplaces, there are many crucial elements to consider for businesses. One important element is workplace security. Ensuring the safety of sensitive data and confidential information and the importance of combatting social engineering in offices is a priority for many businesses. We asked our survey respondents to provide insights on their satisfaction with security in the workplace.

on-site satisfaction towards workplace security in private and shared offices

Encouragingly, a significant proportion of total respondents (48%) reported being very satisfied with their workplace’s security measures. Moreover: 

  • An additional 35% expressed moderate satisfaction. 
  • Only a minority expressed minimal satisfaction (9%) 
  • Only 3% said they were not at all satisfied

However, when analysing the differences between shared and private workspaces, there was greater satisfaction regarding security in private offices. A reason for this may be that in private settings, IT security teams typically possess more control over access and can create custom security policies.

What security measures do businesses take in private and coworking spaces?

Businesses can deploy different security measures to make their workplaces more secure. We examined the most used security measures reported by respondents to find insights into the strategies currently employed by businesses in both private offices and coworking spaces. 

Security measures in private and coworking spaces
Tips for Businesses

Fostering a culture of security sensitivity and privacy is vital for businesses. 88% of survey respondents who received security and privacy guidance said they felt moderately or very safe. With this in mind, how can businesses provide security and privacy guidance to their employees in shared or private offices? Here are six steps:

  1. Lock your computer when not at your desk: 59% of respondents reported receiving guidance to lock their computers when not in use. This simple yet effective measure helps protect against unauthorised access. 
  2. Set a policy for reporting security incidents: Over half (51%) of respondents mentioned having a policy in place for reporting security incidents. This can encourage swift action in the event of a breach or suspicious activity. 
  3. Ensure employees follow a clean desk policy: Nearly half (49%) follow a clean desk policy, which involves clearing desks of personal items and sensitive documents when leaving. This can reduce the risk of unauthorised individuals gaining access to confidential information. 
  4. Share guidance on safe printing and copying practices: 44% of respondents received guidance on safe printing and copying practices. This helps emphasise the importance of protecting confidential or sensitive physical documents. 
  5. Disseminate appropriate information-sharing guidance: 42% mentioned having guidance on sharing information securely. This indicates an awareness of the risks associated with data sharing. 
  6. Offer regular security trainings: 41% of respondents reported receiving regular security training, ensuring employees stay updated on the latest security threats and best practices.

5 types of software tools that can help enhance workplace security

Technology can play an important role in business operations, company infrastructure, and workplace arrangements. As technology adoption grows, the role of software in helping ensure workplace security also increases. Which software solutions are pivotal in safeguarding sensitive data and maintaining a software environment? In this section, we will address the tools businesses use to strengthen security in the workplace.

  1. Antivirus software: Deployed by 59% of survey respondents, these tools are one of the first lines of defence against ransomware, malware, and other cyber threats. Antivirus tools continuously scan devices for malicious software, helping to ensure a secure digital workspace. 
  2. Password management software: 45% of survey respondents say their companies used this software to help employees create strong, unique passwords for various accounts. Such tools can minimise the risk of unauthorised access due to weak or reused passwords. 
  3. Two-step authentication software: 43% of survey respondents report that their company adds an extra layer of security by requiring users to verify their identity through a secondary device or method. 
  4. Network security software: Software firewalls and systems that detect and prevent intrusion can protect corporate networks from external threats. 42% of surveyed respondents say their company already uses this technology. 
  5. VPN (Virtual Private Network): Used by 41% of survey respondents, VPNs encrypt internet connections, making it difficult for cybercriminals to intercept sensitive data. These tools are also crucial for secure remote access to corporate resources. 

Businesses should address productivity and security challenges for different workplaces

Businesses, regardless of their work model (remote, hybrid, or in-office) and workspace choice (private or shared), must balance productivity and security for success. However, each workstyle brings its own set of productivity challenges like distractions, noise, and collaboration issues. Businesses must address these to foster productivity in any environment. 

Moreover, security and privacy are crucial, with room for improvement in existing measures. Software tools can help address some of these challenges and form the backbone of a digital defence in any type of workplace. Customising security measures to accommodate the unique demands of remote workers, private offices, and coworking spaces is paramount, alongside continuous employee education. 

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To collect this data, Capterra interviewed 1018 UK citizens in August 2023. The candidates had to fulfil the following criteria:

  • UK resident 
  • Employed full-time or part-time in a company with more than one employee
  • Aged between 18 and 65 years
  • Always uses a computer or laptop to perform their daily tasks at work
  • Work in either a hybrid work model or fully physical workplace