Now I’m sure this isn’t what Roxette meant when they sang ‘Things Will Never Be the Same.’ But our lives and way of working have fundamentally changed. Microsoft's CEO, Satya Nadella, put it well when he recently said he had seen two years' worth of digital transformation in the last two months. The world of world has been catalysed into an era we hadn’t even imagined a few months ago.
Each day, major employers are talking about how they are planning to restructure their ways of working. Barclays CEO, Jes Staley, outlined that crowded corporate offices with thousands of employees “may be a thing of the past.” Matt Mullenweg, CEO of WordPress, also said: “millions of people will get the chance to experience days without long commutes, or the harsh inflexibility of not being able to stay close to home when a family member is sick… This might be a chance for a great reset in terms of how we work.”
We may not have a crystal ball, but here are some ideas that may well become standard in the new world of work.
- Remote first businesses: Working from home could well be the new normal. A report from research firm Valoir found that more than 40 percent of workers would prefer to work remotely full time in the future. The same report also outlined that the shift to remote working has had only had a 1 percent reduction on work productivity. Much less than many had imagined!
- Virtual recruitment: Many companies have implemented a hiring freeze, but as we move onto growth strategies, we will need to explore new and innovative approaches to recruitment – especially for those businesses who are continuing to embrace a remote working model. By not being limited to candidates in the local area they will have access to a much bigger talent pool. The key is how best to on-board and engage workers in a virtual way. We think IBM is a great example – to ensure the social aspect isn’t lost they are matching students for coffee chats, holding virtual events with executives and even asking students to host their own radio hour on the company’s radio platform.
- Office downsizing: Estimates state that previously companies typically leased 20% more space than they need, to allow for workforce growth. With an increasing amount of staff working from home there is an opportunity to reduce expenditure on office rentals. A recent Gartner survey revealed 74% of the 314 chief financial officers already plan to downsize the number of people that came into the office each day. 13% of respondents noted they had already made cost reductions in real estate expenses, with another 9% planning to take actions in this area in the coming months.
- Staggered start times: For companies that choose to keep a physical office (and many will, even though they may be smaller), we can expect a raft of safety measures to keep staff distanced. A key tactic for this will be staggered start times, which could have the added fringe benefit of reducing traffic at peak times!