San Francisco– Nearly 80 per cent of employees are using collaboration tools for work in 2021 globally, up from just over half of workers in 2019, a new report showed on Wednesday, as hybrid workforce becomes the new normal.

Specifically, the use of meeting solutions surged during the pandemic.

While workers globally reported that they spent, on average, 63 per cent of their meeting time in-person in 2019, that number dropped to 33 per cent by 2021 as more meetings took place over audio and video-enabled meeting solutions, according to the report by Gartner.

From 2019 to 2021, use of collaboration tools increased 44 per cent, use of storage/sharing tools increased 16 per cent, and use of real-time mobile messaging tools increased 7 per cent.

“Collaboration tools found renewed importance during Covid-19 for their role in ensuring the productivity of suddenly remote teams,” said Christopher Trueman, principal research analyst at Gartner.

“As many organisations shift to a long-term hybrid workforce model, cloud-based, personal and team productivity technologies, along with collaboration tools, will form the core of a series of new work hubs that meet the requirements of various remote and hybrid workers,” Trueman added.

Storage/sharing and real-time mobile messaging tools also saw increased use during the pandemic, used by 74 per cent and 80 per cent of respondents, respectively.

The shift away from in-person meetings is expected to continue.

Gartner predicts that by 2024, in-person meetings will drop from 60 per cent of enterprise meetings to 25 per cent, driven by remote work and changing workforce demographics.

“As IT leaders prepare for a mix of meeting modalities, it will be critical that they ensure equitable collaboration, tool and resource access for all meeting participants, regardless of location,” said Trueman.

“Cloud-based meeting solutions and content service platforms can support this through offerings or integrations with technologies including virtual whiteboards, rich chat features, and recording and transcription capabilities.” (IANS)