The workplace

Whatever our point of view, the Oprah/Megan interview has challenged the way we view the UK Royal Family and will, no doubt, lead some to question the very existence of the UK Monarchy at all.

Covid-19 has had the same effect on our working life, in that it has forced us to examine the role of the office in today’s world of work.

As for the Royal Family above, the two questions that businesses must now answer about offices are:

  1. Should we just tinker with the way we use them, OR
  2. Can we get rid of them altogether?

What is clear is that a do nothing policy, waiting for everything to settle back to normal, is not an option.

It is clear that throughout the world, employers and employees will be re-assessing the way they work. One report has it that 23 million Americans currently working from home want to continue to do so AND actively are making relocation plans.

Employers will have to decide, before too long, just what their permitted working practices are going to be.

Flexibility will certainly have to be a part of their approach as WFH is here (or there, perhaps!) to stay. There are clear advantages to a flexible approach – a hybrid home/office based employment – but that assumes that an office will actually remain part of the equation, albeit in a shrunken state.

With some companies already accepting that employees can work from home permanently, the very existence of the office is questioned.

Communication and collaboration technologies are clearly crucial to manage remote working in all its forms and the challenges will be how best to:

  • train and develop employees
  • overcome a likely disconnect on culture and goals
  • replace the lack of face-to-face social contact
  • ensure corporate cohesion is not destroyed
  • make sure mentoring and on-the-job learning can continue
  • adopt the right tools and systems to facilitate excellent two-way communication to build culture, camaraderie, productivity, effectiveness, and financial success for both employers/ees.

In all companies, seemingly everywhere, office space use is being analysed, cost implications spread-sheeted, contracts reviewed, working practices tested, and digital possibilities assessed.

Individuals are trying to gauge what they feel will be right for them in the months and years ahead.

How will you and your company respond?

Published on Mar 10, 2021 by Neil Thomas