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Future of Workplaces: Are We Geared Up for What It Takes?

Corey McKay

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Corey McKay

Future of Workplaces: Are We Geared Up for What It Takes?

Reports reveal that over half of UK adults have now received the COVID-19 vaccine. Employees face going back to the workplace in some shape or form. In this blog, Corey outlines her thoughts on the future of workplace and what the new “workplace” might entail. 

Future of workplaces

By 2025, an estimated 70% of the workforce will be working remotely at least five days a month. While 2020 is the year of remote work, it is just the beginning as the trend continues in 2021 and beyond.

Companies like Twitter and Nationwide offered up to 80% remote work. Quora adopted a remote-first model, transforming its California office into a full-time coworking space.

Recently, Spotify stated that it would allow all employees to work remotely, from anywhere! The company reveals it would help employees “do their best thinking and creating” if they worked from where they liked. All these signs point towards one idea: that remote teams are the future.

Most companies will need to reinvent many processes and policies. Each business must determine whether a hybrid model is in the staff’s best interests and whether it is worth the cost.

A well-executed hybrid model could make it easier to attract new talent, leading to more breakthrough solutions for a company. I envision that in-person meetings might be reserved for strategic planning, introducing new projects, or team-building exercises. Remote days would be for solo work. With offices being redesigned to get rid of cubicles and create collaborative meeting spaces.

We already see significant investment to accommodate social distancing and fit-for-purpose ventilation systems. Companies are paying for enhanced cleaning and janitorial services.

Yet, some companies are reviewing the cost of maintaining a safe office environment. It’s easy to imagine a completely remote company with no physical office. The future of remote working appears to be an extension of the present. Companies must decide whether to adopt hybrid working models or forgo physical workplaces altogether.

Future of employee wellbeing 

It won’t be enough to support remote working. Employers need to sustain a healthy work culture such that employees thrive.

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Mental health and anxiety issues have escalated across society, and employers cannot ignore the impact on work. Employee expectations and company cultures are evolving at a dramatic rate, and that is good for business.

According to data from the 2021 Global wellbeing survey, companies that improve their employee wellbeing performance also see a 1% rise in customer satisfaction and retention. The data further showed that 82% of companies now say wellbeing is vital to them. 87% have at least one related initiative in place.

Due to culture shifts and pressures in society, companies realise that they need to change. Mental health and wellness initiatives will support employees, which in turn boosts performance.

While some employees have relished working from home, others report feelings of isolation. In a physical workplace, employees could engage formally and informally. These in-person interactions bring a sense of connection that is difficult to replicate with remote working.

Technology is the only way to bridge the connection transition. Due to the pandemic, companies have sped up their adoption of digital transformation as part of their efforts to close the gap. Employees and their wellbeing will be at the centre of the future of workplaces. We cannot discuss one without the other. The company must offer various supportive initiatives – company policies, security infrastructure and how it measures performance need to align.

We’ve learned that “work” is not a place to go in the morning. It’s an atmosphere, a sense of connection in uncertain times. As 2021 continues, we will see more discussion about the future of workplaces.

Are you back in the office? How does it feel?

 

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