By Andrew Pearce, Podia CEO
With hybrid working reflecting the new normal in the corporate world, employees have come to expect autonomy and flexibility. Furthermore, most, if not all organisations, are dependent on their people for sustained success suggesting that if the best talent is going to be recruited and retained then businesses need to deploy elevated hybrid working models immediately.
Connections are one thing but relationships are everything. I believe this mindset to be integral to future-proofing operations. With customer experience being so closely linked to employee experience, it highlights the importance of thriving, happy teams. Workspaces-as-a-service, therefore, provide long-term business support as they deliver the tools, technology, and physical setups needed to develop a collaborative culture.
The adoption of hybrid working policies is a task of major importance to business leaders and managers within all industries. The newness of this challenge combined with the speed with which it has arrived, is for certain being addressed by all levels of decision-makers. However, that said, according to research conducted by NTT Ltd 46%² of businesses have admitted that their workplace strategy is not defined or agreed.
Deploying premium workspaces, onboarding, powerful asset management and the provision of well-being support content can be achieved for as little as 1% of the average UK salary. Future proofing, for me, is about streamlining whilst still considering the elements needed to create environments that bring the best out of any team. Professional quality settings work spaces comprising ergonomic furniture, premium technology, and a range of supportive tools that enhance productivity are required. In other words, demonstrating a genuine duty of care, whereby hybrid and remote workers can operate safely, is achievable for an affordable investment.
This point is echoed by ACAS¹ (The Advisory, Conciliation, and Arbitration Services Body, UK) who recommend that home-working policies should include how people will be set up to work from home along with confirmation of who will provide/pay for the equipment. Encouragingly about 40%² of organisations confirm that they are looking to provide equipment including furniture, monitors, and other assets paid for directly or via an allowance. My concern though is what are the plans for the other 60%?
An additional aspect of flexible working for consideration is what happens to the physical office area. One significant opportunity, that some companies have chosen to adopt, is to save costs as less floor space may well be needed. Alternatively, given the ongoing importance of face-to-face interaction and the ever-changing working landscape, a more empowering opportunity is to prepare for the future of work with elevating tools. Incorporating digitally optimised huddle spaces, modern meeting rooms and seamlessly connecting technology is the way in which I think businesses can be shielded from the unpredictable nature of the world that 2022 is sure to bring.