Will the traditional office exist in 50 years? Ricoh survey asks

Jan 31, 2013, 09:30 ET from Ricoh Americas Corporation

MALVERN, Pa., Jan. 31, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Nearly two-thirds (64%) of Americans say they'd choose to work virtually if they could. But despite abundant Internet access and increasingly powerful mobile devices, more than half of Americans (53%) believe the concept of the traditional office will last at least another 50 years. Americans who would choose to work exclusively in an office over working virtually would value the superior discipline, connectedness and information security the traditional office provides.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130131/NY51542-INFO

These are among the top findings in a recent survey of 2,512 American adults conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Ricoh Americas Corporation, a leading provider of business information solutions.

Americans were asked to choose between working exclusively virtually (from home, coffee shop, library, etc.) or exclusively in an office. In citing specific advantages of the traditional office, workers were expressing a fear of irrelevance that virtual work can engender.

"Virtual office technology has not yet caught up to employees' fears that they may become irrelevant if they're not perceived as being fully engaged with the traditional office," said Terrie Campbell, Vice President, Strategic Marketing at Ricoh Americas Corporation. "While mobility is a signature of the new workforce, workers know they need to seamlessly collaborate with colleagues and superiors to demonstrate their ongoing value, especially in the current economic climate. Although the world is making significant advances in videoconferencing and information management, there's no perfect substitute yet for meaningful face time. But innovation is moving at unprecedented speeds in this area, and progress will come."

The generational paradox
When Americans who chose the office were asked why they preferred it over working virtually:

  • 66% said they would be more disciplined and productive there.
  • 51% said they would want to socialize with colleagues.
  • And 39% said they would feel more secure about accessing, scanning, storing and printing information from an office.

Surprisingly, younger people seem to be the least enthusiastic about working virtually. In fact, 18-to-34-year-olds were the age group most likely to prefer working in an office (43% of them chose the office vs. 31% of those age 35-54 and 36% of those age 55+).

Areas for improvement
Meanwhile, two-thirds (67%) of employed adults feel dissatisfied about something in their current work situation, including the inability to get the information they need in a timely manner (18%); the organization being out of date with the latest technology trends (14%); too much paperwork (14%); and failure of co-workers to use technology tools to their full potential (12%).

"Although this dissatisfaction isn't great news, it's good that so many American workers appear devoted to improving their personal and organizational performance through better processes and technology," said Campbell. "At Ricoh, we provide a Business Information Solutions approach to helping organizations and their employees collaborate more closely and productively whether they are working from home, a hotel room, their traditional office or all of the above."

In fact, Ricoh has empowered its own employees to "go BYOD" (bring your own device). They can use any smart phone or tablet they wish to connect remotely with important sales, service and administrative applications. Ricoh has also propagated policies and controls across all of these devices, maintaining the ability to wipe them clean if an employee leaves.

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Ricoh from October 3-5, 2012, among 2,512 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample, and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact linda.montefusco@ricoh-usa.com.

About Ricoh's Business Information Solutions
Through extensive analysis and experience, Ricoh has identified the major business challenges enterprises are facing today: globalization, increasing employee mobility, new generational work styles, exploding information volumes, mounting cost pressures and rapid IT infrastructure changes. The company directly addresses these challenges with its Business Information Solutions approach, which brings together technologies, services and expertise that can help to measurably improve business performance by optimizing the flow of business information.

The Business Information Solutions approach streamlines an organization's entire information workflow by improving:

  • Input – capturing valuable information from employees, customers and partners.
  • Processing – creating business value from information.
  • And Output – distributing the information to the right person at the right time in the right form for productive action.

For more information on Ricoh's full line of products, services and solutions, please visit www.ricoh-usa.com.   

| About Ricoh |

Ricoh is a global technology company specializing in office imaging equipment, production print solutions, document management systems and IT services. Headquartered in Tokyo, Ricoh Group operates in more than 200 countries and regions. In the financial year ending March 2012, Ricoh Group had worldwide sales of 1,903 billion yen (approx. 23 billion USD).

The majority of the company's revenue comes from products, solutions and services that improve the interaction between people and information. Ricoh also produces award-winning digital cameras and specialized industrial products. It is known for the quality of its technology, the exceptional standard of its customer service and sustainability initiatives.

Under its corporate tagline, imagine. change. Ricoh helps companies transform the way they work and harness the collective imagination of their employees.

For further information, please visit

© 2012 Ricoh Americas Corporation. All rights reserved. All referenced product names are the trademarks of their respective companies.


John Greco
Ricoh Americas Corporation
(973) 882-2023

Jill Searl
Brodeur Partners
(603) 559-5824

SOURCE Ricoh Americas Corporation