San Francisco — More than half of companies plan to shrink their offices as working from home becomes a regular fixture after the Covid-19 pandemic ends, according to a survey by Cisco Systems.

Some 53% of larger organisations plan to reduce the size of their office space and more than three quarters will increase work flexibility. Almost all of the respondents were uncomfortable returning to work because they fear contracting the virus, the poll found.

Cisco, the largest maker of networking equipment, recently surveyed 1,569 executives, knowledge workers and others who are responsible for employee environments, in the post-Covid era. The findings suggest many of this year’s radical changes to work-life will remain long after the pandemic subsides.

The poll, conducted for Cisco by Dimensional Research, concluded that working from home is the “new normal”. More than 90% of respondents said they will not return to the office full time. About 12% plan to work from home all the time, 24% will work remotely more than 15 days of each month, while 22% will do that eight to 15 days every month.

Cisco’s Webex video conferencing service has benefited from lockdowns that have kept millions of people working and studying from home. It also faces rising competition from Zoom Video Communications.

For employees who do return to the office, Webex is adding environmental sensors that plug into its current videoconferencing gear. That will help companies identify overused and underutilised spaces while complying with room capacity limits and checking if workers are wearing masks.


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