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What will the future workplace look like? The findings are in…

By Thea Watson, Marketing Director of Hays UK & I and UK Board member

As government discussions continue over how lockdown measures can continue to ease over the coming weeks and months, many business leaders will be thinking about the steps they must take to bring their teams safely back into the workplace. This will be no small task, and there are a multitude of things to consider, the most important being how to maintain the health, safety and wellbeing of employees.

We have outlined some key questions for employers to think about across operations, technology, recruitment and people in our recent guide to help support this transition back to the workplace.

But just how prepared are organisations for the changes ahead? We surveyed over 16,200 employers and professionals and found that just over three quarters (76%) of organisations believe they are prepared for a phased return to workplace settings.

However, it is clear that the world of work has changed forever, and we have entered a new era. So, what will the workplaces of the future look like exactly?

There will be more flexible working

Our survey results reveal that over two fifths (44%) of organisations are planning to change their flexible working policies as a result of the pandemic. Furthermore, 19% expect to eventually reduce their office space.

Many employees will see this as a positive change – the Hays UK Salary & Recruiting Trends 2020 guide showed that work-life balance, including flexible working, is the top most important factor to employees when considering a new role, excluding salary.

The challenge for managers, of course, will be to ensure that employees – especially those new to remote working – can still communicate, collaborate and innovate successfully, and that productivity and efficiency gains can be realised. Ensuring the wellbeing of those employees working remotely may also be a challenge, but should continue be prioritised.

New communication and collaboration tools are here to stay

From Zoom to Microsoft Teams, many professionals have become experts at using video conferencing and a range of other collaboration tools since lockdown began. The crisis has forced many organisations to trial new technology on a wide scale, and in so doing they have discovered platforms that have the potential to improve employee performance.

In fact, our survey results show that over a third (34%) expect to keep using new communication and collaboration tools going forward, and 18% expect to increase their investment in technology. Furthermore, nearly a quarter (23%) of employers expect to change their communications approach as we enter this new era of work.

Upskilling: the onus lies with employers and employees

However, the onus is not only on employers to provide the required training for any new tools and tech. Responsibility also lies with employees to keep up-to-date with preferred tools, and, most importantly, to ensure they maintain a continuous learning mindset.

The end is not yet in sight, but employers and employees alike can use this time to ensure they acknowledge what has worked well and what hasn’t in the last few weeks in their working life, and how they can take the most successful aspects into this new era of work.

If you’re a professional looking for further advice and insights to help you navigate the evolving world of work, discover more here. If you’re an employer, access our collection of resources on how to manage your team, undertake interviews and successfully onboard candidates remotely as we move forward.

Alternatively, contact your Hays consultant now.

About this author

Thea is responsible for the UK & I marketing team as well as driving the strategic direction of the marketing function, looking closely at opportunities for growth, positioning in the marketplace and sales support. She was appointed to the Hays UK & I Board in July 2017, following joining the UK business in the summer of 2016.

Prior to her current role she was the Vice President of Marketing for the Hays Americas business, joining the business in 2012. Under her management she built the marketing function from general support to a strategic driver of sales, establishing a central marketing unit supporting Canada, US and four Latin American countries.

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