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Will the office ever be the same again – no, probably not, says industry giants!

Our Technical Consultant, Patrick Williamson gives his insight into why traditional workplace processes may never be the same again, even after coronavirus lockdown restrictions are lifted.

What has the pandemic meant for businesses?

Earlier this year, Twitter announced their staff had proven working from home is achievable. They went as far as to say that if employees were in a role and situation that enabled them to work from home, they could continue to do so forever.

As a big social media firm, constantly keeping up with the latest trends, it comes as no huge surprise. It’s also important to mention, office staff work from home is completely different to employees that work in manufacturing or warehouses.

But, is remote working suitable for traditional business models?

Well, manufacturing giant Fujitsu in Japan thinks so! They’re halving their office space to provide new ways of working that encourage employees to be empowered, productive, and creative.

Fujitsu staff will primarily work on a remote basis allowing staff to create their own work environment and use their time according to specific work schedule and roles.

Staff will choose whether to work from home, a major corporate hub, or a satellite office. The aim is for employees and businesses to appreciate less commuting, more productivity, and fewer costs.

However, it might not be the best solution for all employees. Negatives include lack of face to face bonding, and a struggle to step back from work at the end of the day to enjoy downtime.

Obviously, businesses must adapt to the “New Normal” – and that appears to include working from home, those businesses that can’t fit into this new way of working may find it difficult to compete with other employers.

What could happen to those who don’t transition to a ‘New Normal’?

For those sticking to the “pre virus” model of traditional office working hours, recruiting fresh talent may become a challenge.

When offered the choice of a position with no commuting for most of the week compared to one that expected full office hours and commuting in rush hour – at your expense -which would you choose?

Businesses that don’t take a flexible approach will find themselves at a commercial disadvantage with higher overheads compared to their leaner, meaner, competitors... office space is expensive.

‘Lean Manufacturing’ was the mantra in the late 90s and the early noughties, ‘Lean Office’ may well be the mantra for successful businesses in the 20s – it’s certainly looking that way.

How can remote working survive?

Products like Teams and Zoom provide face to face interaction for those who can’t be in the same room – it’s a technology that has come of age, but how do we manage the risk of employees burning out from never being off the clock?

Maybe it’s time we put these colleagues on the clock – literally.

By expecting workers to clock their hours when working we empower people to track and understand how many hours they’re working, and potentially how they could increase their productivity.

This is especially true when the working day now fits around other family-based activities, in smaller non continuous blocks, creating a fluid and inconsistent approach to the working day.

As organisations we need the tools to monitor and make sure employees are not burning themselves out – it’s a danger that’s all too real, and we’re negligent if we don’t acknowledge, monitor, and manage it.

Just as video conferencing technology has come of age, so has clocking technology. As a supplier of Time & Attendance software, we’ve seen a huge uptake of employers using the latest technologies to support their business.

What are the benefits of time tracking?

Understanding what your employees are spending time on – in a world where profit margins are tighter – can showcase where productivity may be lacking. The word ‘spent’ here is intentional, time is money after all – it has a cost.

History has shown organisations that don’t adapt to ‘interesting times’ tend not to thrive, those that do tend to prosper – and I think we can all agree these are indeed interesting times.

If you would like to know how we can help you adapt and monitor your valuable resources, and manage the risks associated with the sea of change to non-centralised working, please contact us today on 0800 288 8632.