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As we move past the one year anniversary of stay-at-home orders and working from home, we can begin to envisage how the world of work will evolve as we move away from the strict restrictions. Most of us have experienced some form of working from home full-time and have concluded on both the individual benefits and drawbacks of this.
Recently, Goldman Sachs boss David Soloman has outright rejected the notion of working from home as a “new normal” stating that it does not suit the company's collaborative work culture. Other large corporations have also begun discussions on the topic; with Nationwide announcing a “Work Anywhere” flexibility scheme following internal research regarding how employees wish to move forwards when lockdown ends.
Technology companies are particularly enthusiastic about the working from home option, namely Microsoft, Twitter and Facebook being among the first to announce any flexibility scheme. Outside of tech, Ford has announced that around 30,000 employees will have the option to permanently work remotely!
The focus appears to be on flexibility, with many companies stating that they will allow employees the freedom to choose where they work as long as they’re in the office for x-many days a week. Spotify appear to be paving the way with choice, with complete employee autonomy over working from home, from the office, or from a co-working space if they are located away from any Spotify offices - which Spotify will support financially. Dubbed “Working from Anywhere”, Spotify is providing integrity to its ‘controlled chaos’ ethos, acknowledging that productivity fosters where we are allowed to operate as individuals and satisfy our working and flexibility needs.
Such a working environment may not work for every business/industry/job title however. Many companies and departments may work best in one workspace where they can collaborate efficiently with colleagues regularly. In addition, after extensive isolation working from home, many individuals are likely to be eager to be back in a buzzing office environment. With this, companies working across borders may implement a “back to the office” order but retain some aspects we have learnt from remote working, such as a quick video call meeting with UK and US directors rather than the requirement and expense for face-to-face interactions.
A final factor to consider is any Covid-19 measures, with some HR discussions around necessary vaccinations before returning to the office. These discussions are not widespread however as additional measures can be taken, such as continued mask use, social distancing and extensive regular cleaning.
It will be interesting to see how working practices develop as we move away from strict restrictions and emerge out of the other side of the Covid-19 pandemic. Decision makers, employees and prospective hires will all have different views and tolerances for the future of work and their desired flexibility. Much of it will be based on specific business/industry requirements and how much employers can trust their employees to work where they are most productive. Thus, it whittles down to corporate culture and inter-organisational relationships, an important consideration for Kevin Edward Executive Search when we are matching candidates with their ideal positions!