Almost three quarters (74%) of people never want to return to pre-COVID-19, traditional work paradigms, putting more pressure on employees to adequately support and secure changing workplace environments.
This is according to new global research commissioned by Kaspersky of 8,000 SMB workers across multiple industries.
Instead of returning to business as usual, workers worldwide are now shaping a future of business on their terms, whether that's spending more time with loved ones (47%), saving money (41%), or working remotely (32%), the report shows.
According to Kaspersky, suddenly faced with an overwhelmingly remote workforce, business leaders now need to adapt fast to remain secure and resilient, whilst employees are using this moment of change as an opportunity to reassess yesterday's priorities, and plan a future around what really matters to them.
Furthermore, as work and home lives are transformed, it's employees who now see themselves in the driving seat, Kaspersky states.
In casting off the structure of previous job routines, employees are rethinking the next normal for work, inspiring more agile, accommodating, and humane work cultures.
Moving forward, almost two in five workers (39%) want to leave behind the 9-5 working structure, and this figure is even greater for those aged 25-34 (44%), suggesting a growing trend.
A similar number (34%) are ready to see the back of fixed office desks, and around a third (32%) want to end the five-day working week.
The research also highlighted that nearly a third (32%) of employees see remote working as the third greatest benefit, which comes as a by-product of COVID-19, after spending time with family (47%) and saving money (41%).
In fact, most of the advantages revolve around pursuing new opportunities for personal enrichment outside of work, as getting that work-life balance becomes even more important, the report shows.
Yet as employees continue to embrace more forward-thinking and flexible ways of working, it is critical that businesses augment and adapt the support they provide, Kaspersky states.
Given that over a third (38%) of the workforce actively seeks more technology support from their organisation when working remotely, the need to provide the tools and technology to keep users productive, connected and secure has never been greater.
Kaspersky chief business officer Alexander Moiseev says, “We are facing a defining moment in time, and this is very exciting.
"It's clear this pandemic has accelerated digital transformation and the blending of our work and homes lives.
"What we're now seeing is employees using technology to own a new future, and actively taking the lead in embracing changes in pursuit of greater freedom and flexibility.
"Companies now have a mandate to adapt and remodel the modern workplace into something more productive, sustainable and malleable.
In order to thrive in this changing era, Kaspersky recommends that businesses empower employees to become more cyber-aware, to boost their workforce's cyber-knowledge, take key data protection measures to safeguard corporate data and devices, and build security inside and outside of the office.