The pandemic has accelerated trends to work remotely, and surveys show that a large number of organisations are planning to let their employees work from home on a continuing basis.
It’s also the case, though, that many organisations adopted or scaled up remote working as a hurried and tactical response to a crisis. Now it’s time to get strategic about working smarter.
Working smarter involves changes across property, technology and working culture. And it involves the leadership of an organisation having a clear understanding of the benefits they are aiming to achieve. This then needs to be communicated throughout the organisation, involving employees at every level in shaping the changes that are needed.
In the coming months, many organisations are going to be looking closely at how much real estate they actually need if more people are going to be working remotely. But while office rationalisation may reduce costs, there is much more thinking to be done about:
- What kind of activities will employees be using the office for?
- What kind of experience should employees have when they do come into the office?
- How do we make communication smooth and frictionless between people working in the office and people working elsewhere?
- What does this mean for design and for the integration of technologies?
- What processes need to change?
- What use can be made of flexible officing providers?
- What do we need to do to rethink how people collaborate and learn from each other, and build a distributed workplace community?
- How can our managers manage a remote workforce effectively?
- What do these new ways of working mean for recruitment and onboarding?
- How can we ensure these changes bring benefits for the business and for individuals?
These are just some of the key questions that need to be addressed.
To move forward, there needs to be an integrated strategy of transformation to ensure that changes to real estate and technology are aligned with the changes to working practices, culture and behaviours.
The response to the pandemic has shown that remote working is not only possible, but is a crucial element of business resilience. We have the opportunity now to build on this and deliver wide-ranging benefits by adopting an integrated and strategic approach to Smart Working.
Download the Smart Working Handbook for an approach to developing an integrated strategy: