From the pandemic-induced shift to working from home and the debate around flexible working policies to the much ballyhooed Great Resignation, we are living and working in a different world.
Employers who want to attract (and retain) a productive and engaged workforce are facing some big questions and considerations. How will they boost business agility, productivity and efficiency while also protecting the health and wellbeing of employees? Combine this with the increasing pressure on businesses to embrace sustainability and carbon neutral working practices, and then also consider how they will stand out against competitors in the recruitment market.
All in all, modern workplaces need to strike a near-perfect recipe of technology, interior design, people management, wellbeing provision, and culture. When considering, planning or executing a workplace transformation, here are some of the key factors to keep in mind.
What’s the purpose of your office?
When the world returned to work, many if not all businesses were tentative in their approach. Some businesses had made such a success of transitioning to home working that their employees continued to do so full time. Some businesses insisted on a return to the office, but many left the decision to their employees, assuming their productivity and engagement had not been impacted. The result is a wide range of approaches and a great deal of choice for employees.
The job market is highly competitive at the moment, and businesses that do not listen to what people need or want risk losing or failing to hire the best people. Whether you call it the ‘Great Resignation’ or something less grand, there is no denying the trend of employees resigning to find a work environment that matches their lifestyle and preferred working practices.
Many employees are no longer prepared to travel to an office every day out of habit. Your business needs to give employees a reason to work from the office, if that’s what you want them to do. The reason might be to take part in meetings, to collaborate, to share ideas, or simply to connect with others in their team on a social level. Does your workplace offer them something that they cannot get when working from home or meeting virtually?
Have you empowered your employees?
Of course, countless businesses have given their employees the choice whether to work from home, the office, or a hybrid of the two. Giving employees the autonomy and flexibility to manage their own working routine alongside their personal life and family commitments can be a wonderful move, but to do this well requires a considered approach.
It is one thing to tell employees that they are free to work from home, but have you given them the technology and communication tools they need to be able to work effectively? They may be using old and inefficient laptops or operating in an unsafe working environment. They might have inadequate security systems in place, or they might struggle to communicate with customers and/or colleagues due to out of date software.
Don’t be seduced by the latest technology
Modernising a workplace is often wrongly lumped in with digital transformation projects, and digital transformation is often wrongly assumed to mean upgrading to the latest versions of the technology that is already in place. This is a trap to be avoided at all costs.
Bringing in new technology for the sake of it, i.e., replacing an existing setup with new like-for-like technologies without a strategy in place, is not a digital transformation. Instead, businesses should be taking a step back, examining their existing processes and culture, and identifying where change is needed to support employees in their work.
Will your digital investments make it easier for your team to collaborate from wherever they are working and to access the same resources? Will they be able to communicate in real time? How fast and reliable is their internet connection? Can they share and edit documents with their team members? Is the customer experience as efficient and positive as it could be? Could sales or revenue be increased through a digital upgrade? Are employees engaged? It is questions like these that should drive digital transformation, not technology, to ensure businesses continue to strive towards their KPIs.
Reimagining your physical space
Collaboration, creativity and communication are some of the key motivators behind employees coming to the office. It is therefore vital that you create a workspace that reflects these needs, including a variety of spaces for groups of all sizes to come together and technology that enables remote employees to be included.
And then, of course, we have to consider wellbeing when designing a work environment. You may want to rethink your lighting, the colours and designs on the walls, the flooring, the furniture and, ideally, access to natural light. The needs of your teams and the business may change from day to day, so adaptability and agility might be key considerations. Breakout areas and social spaces are crucial not only for employee wellbeing but also help when building a strong and well-bonded team – whether team members are working in the same location or remotely.
Sustainability in the workplace
As a responsible employer, you have a duty to both your employees and the environment to adopt sustainable working practices wherever possible. This will mean different things to different businesses but might include replacing traditional lighting with energy efficient LED lighting, installing solar panels to generate clean (and free) electricity, committing to recycling policies and using sustainable materials and resources, promoting greener commutes, or switching to a fleet of electric vehicles.
Financing your modern workplace
Of course, modernising a workplace requires investment which is often a big reason why businesses delay making badly needed improvements. The team at Bluestone Leasing can spread the cost of getting what you need today through tax efficient and affordable finance…
- Interiors furniture and fitout
- IT hardware and software
- Printers, scanners, copiers, etc.
- Audio visual equipment
- Commercial vehicles
- EV charging points
- Solar panels
- LED lighting
- Low carbon heating
- Recycling equipment
- Air conditioning
- Security systems.
If you are interested in modernising your workforce through flexible finance options, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.