Over the past few months many organisations (including ours) have been trying to decide what “the future of work” should look like for them.
No doubt your organisation has been doing the same.
While questions like “what is the cost of hybrid working”, or “how much flexibility do our staff want”, or “how do we maintain or culture” are discussed, it can be easy to forget an equally important discussion.
The one where you keep your employees in the loop and let them know what to expect.
For many organisations, the future of work is essentially a debate on the balance of working from an office location and flexible remote working from home – what has now come to be called a hybrid solution.
Flexible remote working has been on the rise for some years. But the events of 2020 have truly accelerated this increase, as many businesses – and their staff – saw their working locations change, literally overnight.
Kitchen tables, dressing tables, even chests of drawers became new workstations, as staff all over the globe stepped up to try and keep the businesses they worked for ticking.
Despite strict new rules in place that didn’t allow for people to travel or meet, dedication and commitment saw teams find innovative and virtual ways to connect and continue delivering their work.
And all this while personally struggling with the very real threats and dangers of a global pandemic.
A year and some months later, things are still much the same for many of us. While the rollout of a vaccination has seen countries slowly opening up, these temporary office solutions are now looking increasingly likely to stay.
There are some companies that are considering a full return to the office and to pre-pandemic setups, but many believe that remote working is fast becoming the new norm.
Research by PwC shows that 78% of CEOs expect the shift to remote working and collaboration to be a lasting trend.
Meanwhile research from Gartner found that 48% of employees will continue to work remotely at least some of the time after COVID-19, compared to 30% before the pandemic.
But maybe most importantly, an employee survey by Randstad this year, found that flexible and remote working is the second most important factor for candidates when it comes to choosing their place of work.
Second only to salary and benefits.
Having made things work remotely for over a year now, this is a clear signal to managers and leaders that many of their staff are now looking for some level of freedom and control over how and where they work.
Many industry pundits are arguing that just as foosball tables, breakfast bars, baristas, and other on-site attractions were used by companies competing to be the hippest place to work, flexibility will now be the new battle ground in the fight for talent.
So as your organisation mulls over what its future of work looks like, don’t forget to actively engage, involve, and inform your employees.
If hybrid and remote work does take off, the talent market will become increasingly virtual and therefore global and more competitive.
As many head off for summer holidays in the coming weeks, they will have time for pause and reflection, and to consider their situations and their options.
Make sure they know exactly what their options are with you.
Watch our back to the office webinar for tips on helping your employees make the transition back from home office.