Companies are searching for ways to reinvent the office and give employees reasons to return to their workplace says the focus must be on the workforce. This is not a new focus for businesses. It is a path we have been on for many years and most of its aspects are well-established, from hot-desking and remote working to new levels of employee well-being and experience. What is new is the profound transformation of the notion of work and how we work. Trends in the way we live and work have taken months rather than years to become deep-rooted – there is no going back to the old normal. Workforce preferences have changed and employers will need to lean into them to ‘win back office workers in 2021’.
Organisations will need to accept that they may never operate again as they did pre-crisis, companies realise that the ability to adapt to new and changing conditions will be essential for success. The pandemic has advanced digital transformation of businesses with the need to remote working and access to critical data. There will also be great transformation of the workplace, with the traditional office evolving to become a central hub redesigned for employee interaction, collaboration, innovation and education.
Microsoft released its Work Trend Index report which studied 30,000 people across 31 countries along with data from Microsoft 365 and LinkedIn. Specifically, Microsoft looked at what we all learned from the great remote work experiment of 2020 and how that will apply as we begin the great hybrid work experiment. Hybrid work involves being in the office sometimes and working remotely at other times, as well as having some folks working fully remote and others fully in the office.
You should definitely read the full study, but here are five things to know about the hybrid workplace.
- Watch out for worker disconnects. Forty-six percent of workers surveyed said their employer doesn’t help with remote work expenses, and 37% say their company is asking too much of them right now. If you feel satisfied and thriving, you’re probably a millennial or Gen X male. If you feel you’re just surviving or struggling you’re probably Gen Z, a woman or a frontline worker.
- Your youngest workers need more help making meaningful connections. Gen Z was found to struggle the most with engaging in meetings and calls in the past year. Pay a little extra attention in helping your 18-25-year-old employees be heard.
- You’ll need to widen the network. This time, I mean the personal network, not the bandwidth. While immediate teams grew closer when working remote, they became more siloed from other teams in the same workplace and that reduced innovation. When lockdowns eased in places like New Zealand and South Korea, even hybrid workplaces saw those siloes start to fall.
- Don’t lose the authenticity. Seeing people’s home offices, kitchens, children and pets actually helped improve productivity. Microsoft said 30% of people say they’re more likely to be their real self at work in the future and 31% feel less embarrassed if their home life shows up in their work somehow. People who felt closer to their coworkers reported higher productivity.
- You have a wider pool of talent. You may not want to restrict that. The switch to remote work has opened up jobs to new applicants. An analysis of the LinkedIn Economic Graph shows women, Gen Z and those without a graduate degree as the groups most likely to apply for remote jobs.
There are a lot more insights in the Microsoft report, but as we face another changing workplace situation, this kind of data can hopefully help you meet the new challenges in the form of innovation and technology. To find out how you could lead your business into this new phase of working, why not speak to one of our business consultants about your business financials software. As finance takes up a greater role within business planning and leadership, isn’t it about time you got your own financials in order.
Images taken from the recently published article here: microsoft.com/…rk-trend-index/hybrid-work