Anywhere Workspace3 min read

New VMware Research Suggests Businesses and Employees at Odds Over Workplace Innovation

VMware Staff

More companies with hybrid working policies use formal metrics to measure impact over their office-only counterparts

Automation technology investments seen as key to making hybrid work a success

SYDNEY, Australia. – December 6, 2022: Two thirds (66%) of all survey respondents believe their organisation is more innovative if employees are in the office, according to research unveiled today by VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW), a leading innovator in enterprise software.

The study, “The Distributed Work Dilemma: When Innovation and Job Satisfaction Compete,” conducted by Vanson Bourne on behalf of VMware, highlights how survey respondent’s views on where they feel they are most innovative are at odds with where they would prefer to work, with 82% of all respondents having higher job satisfaction if they can work from anywhere. In addition, more than half (57%) of respondents with anywhere and hybrid working policies, where they can work in an office and remotely, report increased morale, creativity (56%) and collaboration (55%) within their teams since prior to the pandemic. ​

With growing economic uncertainty, business leaders could be driving employees back into the office with hope that it will enable greater employee innovation and productivity, but with little certainty on its real benefit.

In fact, a higher percentage of organisations with anywhere- and hybrid-work policies have formal metrics in place to track innovation and its impact on the business and employees. Nearly all organisations with an anywhere work policy (97%) have metrics in place to monitor innovation levels versus 83% of those with an office-only policy.

“Greater economic uncertainty is propelling businesses to become even more focused on innovation and productivity, but this shouldn’t be at the expense of all the progress made in developing more flexible working practices,” said Shankar Iyer, senior vice president and general manager, End-User Computing, VMware. “Research has shown that allowing hybrid work creates happier, more engaged, and more collaborative teams, which can naturally lead to increased productivity. Employees believe they can achieve their best work when given the choice of hybrid working, combined with the tools to support this, yet business leaders believe the office is where innovation is driven. Our research suggests that more companies need to deploy formal metrics to measure impact to ensure perception does not outweighing reality. Those with hybrid working policies are clearly taking this very seriously.”

Over the next 12 months, almost three quarters (72%) of organisations surveyed are planning to invest significantly more in their digital culture, and a third (33%) are prioritising investments that fuel innovation and creativity. Driving innovation to create business efficiencies, cut costs, or increase market attractiveness is clearly a business imperative. 

Automation and digital tools are helping organisations do more with less. Among businesses where investment in automation has increased, more than half (53%) of businesses are investing in automation to help increase employee experience and productivity. Additionally, 43% are looking for automation to help accelerate innovation, while 50% seek to create faster and lower-cost operations. The highest levels of investment are concentrated amongst organisations with hybrid- or anywhere-work policies versus those with office-only policies. This suggests that business innovation and productivity must be prioritised, but not at the expense of working location flexibility.

Iyer adds, “The mythical inflection point where all employees are office-based is not guaranteed to happen. Companies must continue to strike the right balance between boosting innovation without crushing employee motivation and productivity. By investing in digital collaboration tools, automation, and team-building policies, business leaders can drive efficiencies and boost success while still offering the flexibility of office or remote working.”

Workplace innovation is one of many topics touched on in The Distributed Work Dilemma: When Innovation and Job Satisfaction Compete. Other key findings include:

  • Power Shifts Between Employers and Employees: While the Great Resignation and near-universal talent shortages have put employees in the driver’s seat in recent months, the current economic climate is adding a layer of tumult to employer-employee power dynamics – with employers beginning to have the upper hand. View the infographic.
  • Large Talent Gaps and Increasing Turnover: Despite an overall increase in job satisfaction over the past two years, all sectors, departments, and regions are experiencing talent shortages. And turnover within cybersecurity teams is especially high. 

Automation Facilitates Anywhere and Hybrid Work: Technology – and more specifically, automation – investments are critical for reducing burnout and facilitating the collaboration necessary to maintain innovation, even in a distributed environment. View the infographic.

Additional Resources   

  • Download the full report, “The Distributed Work Dilemma: When Innovation and Job Satisfaction Compete,” here.
  • Read more about VMware’s latest research on the VMware End-User Computing blog  


The survey was conducted by Vanson Bourne and commissioned by VMware — collecting global data from 5,300 HR, IT, and business decision makers, and employee-level respondents, from July to August of 2022.

About VMware

VMware is a leading provider of multi-cloud services for all apps, enabling digital innovation with enterprise control. As a trusted foundation to accelerate innovation, VMware software gives businesses the flexibility and choice they need to build the future. Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, VMware is committed to building a better future through the company’s 2030 Agenda. For more information, please visit

About Vanson Bourne

Vanson Bourne is an independent specialist in market research for the technology sector. Their reputation for robust and credible research-based analysis is founded upon rigorous research principles and their ability to seek the opinions of senior decision-makers across technical and business functions, in all business sectors and all major markets. For more information, visit