14 Jul 2021
Waving goodbye to the office
It’s official! From 19th July in England, the government’s work from home (if you can) order comes to an end, leaving companies with choices for how they will work in the future:
- A return to the office full-time
- Flexible/hybrid working dividing time between home and office
- A continuation of full-time home/remote working
There is a choice, but right now all the talk is around option 2. The future of work is hybrid.
Many companies have seized the opportunity to wave goodbye to the office, with some going so far as to announce that staff will never return to the 9-5 pattern, considering this way of working to be old fashioned. They intend to allow more flexible working, with staff dividing their time between office and a remote location; whether that’s their home office, kitchen table or a local coffee shop!
Working from home as a permanent arrangement is increasingly being demanded, especially by younger employees. The improvements to personal well being for many individuals has been celebrated as a benefit, with commuting times spent walking the dog, working out or simply enjoying a coffee. What has also been learned over the past year is that great work can get done anywhere (a fact those working from home prior to the pandemic always knew incidentally). By being flexible and adaptive, teams across a broad range of work environments have arrived at arrangements that work for everyone. Plus, many businesses have been more than happy to equip employees to work from home and slash their costs, in particular soaring rents for office space.
However, for many bosses there remains the argument that bringing teams together in the workplace has the benefit of fostering collaboration and corporate culture, helping to train younger employees and new starters. Also to be considered is a company’s ability to offer flexible working, as this will vary according to sector. It is widespread throughout service businesses such as financial or law firms, but far less simple to implement in hospitality and retail. What should also be taken into account is that working from home does not suit everyone, with some finding it hard to remain motivated and productive. Furthermore, it does not appear to be the case that workers want to ditch the workplace entirely and many will welcome the opportunity to spend time with people they have missed seeing on a regular basis.
From both the workplace and worker perspective there is a range of factors to be considered and whilst each organisation decides what is best for them, the situation for many remains fluid. Whatever the final decision, it is a safe assumption that hybrid working can offer the best of both worlds. Offering choice and flexibility will result in motivated and engaged teams. Being flexible will deliver the advantages that can be derived from being in the office with colleagues for one or two days, alongside the freedom to work remotely in a way that suits the individual. Hybrid working is the compromise that will define the future of work.
With four decades of experience, Frontier Software is an established provider of global Human Capital Management software solutions. The ichris software suite is functionally rich and highly configurable, with modules providing a truly integrated platform across all touch points of HR management. Deployment options include cloud based or on-premise.
Article originally published on HR Grapevine July 2021.