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Will the office of the future become the ‘meeting’ place, rather than the ‘workplace’?
Working through an epoch: the COVID-19 pandemic
Who could have predicted the challenges of working and running a business in 2020? We can’t play down the enormous impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on most things we do. And while there continues to be uncertainty, this time presents an opportunity to reflect on how we do things and what we can do differently to reset for the future.
The need for modern technology has been elevated for many businesses to enable entire workforces to move to working remotely, while at the same time ensuring everyone remains connected. This has also been true for many people, who have had to transition to the new workplace called home, while continuing to manage their personal lives under unique conditions.
The following key points have been common when listening to our clients during the pandemic:
Planning for the future and what returning to the office will look like
While some businesses have embraced hot-desk transformation for many years, others are now focused on implementing the same to gain the benefits of this type of working environment. There may be no need to retain designated seating in the future if employees are able to remain connected without being close in proximity. Will the office of the future become the ‘meeting’ place, rather than the ‘workplace’?
Focusing on staying connected with clients and staff
More extensive use of virtual meeting technologies has enabled the continuation of face-to-face interaction, along with document sharing and collaboration in real time. Such technologies have also allowed clients to remain engaged and staff to feel less isolated and connected with their colleagues, compensating for the lack of human interaction that accompanies working from home.
Staying current with technology is vital
Day-to-day operations have not greatly changed as engagements with clients remain constant. Deadlines still need to be met, bills need to be distributed and cashflow needs management. Working from home has encouraged most to think differently about achieving their deliverables, along with learning how to work remotely in a paper-light environment. Subsequently, many have recognised there is the need to digitise more processes under these new conditions.
Redirecting investments to growth areas
Working remotely can lead to a significant reduction in overhead costs. Many have acknowledged that this provides opportunity for capital to be redirected and invested in growth areas such as business development and marketing, implementing those innovation plans, modernising existing technologies and processes, and employee development and recognition.
No commuting means more productive work hours and the ability to achieve better work-life balance
For many, the commute to and from work is up to an hour each way. While this has lent itself to employees working longer hours, it has also provided the opportunity to focus on maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Time for family and health has become a priority and something most are able to implement into their daily routines, not just something to think about on the weekend.
While many businesses continue to transition and adapt to what looks like a new normal, gaps in technologies and processes have become more evident, along with an uplift in energy to change. It often takes a crisis for people (and businesses) to embrace the need for change!
If you need assistance with modernising your processes, reach out for a chat.
Maria Grimaldi, Manager, Harriss Wagner Consultants and Advisers