Going virtual with WorkTech
6th January 2021
MovePlan took part in WorkTech virtual conferences during 2020, offering expert views on topics such as remote working, workplace culture, and rethinking traditional workplace models.
We were involved in various panel discussions, looking at the future of the workplace post Covid-19, and how companies are adapting and planning for the changes that lie ahead.
Suki Reilly our Regional Director, US East and Canada, joined a discussion titled Work for Anywhere giving her views on companies adopting a hybrid workplace model.
2020 bought a shock that no one expected, bringing a global ‘work from home’ experiment which has driven dramatic adaptions in how and where people work.
Data has emerged showing that productivity didn’t collapse, commitment remained strong, and company cultures evolved, suggesting people can work from anywhere.
As companies now look to post Covid-19, the panel was asked to consider what role will home and flexible working play as it complements the traditional office, and how are companies now planning around a workplace vision combining home, flexible working, and office work.
Suki, who has been managing workplace change for more than 30 years with MovePlan, has seen companies realising the potential to refocus their attention on attracting and retaining employees, and employee wellbeing, as people embrace the ability to work from anywhere, with a hybrid model becoming a popular choice.
“There is a fear that culture will be undermined or destroyed because employees are not coming to a traditional office,” she said, adding: “The experiment of working from home has advanced the workplace of choice by decades. We went into the pandemic with an established culture and connections, and now need to consider how to develop and maintain this in the long-term.”
Suki suggests there will be conversations about what can be done at home and what needs to be done in the workplace, with decisions needed about how collaboration can happen in the workplace.
“We need to be deliberate about culture,” she suggested, adding: “Whatever that culture is we need to make sure we embrace and engage it and enable each person in the organisation to take that on board so it’s creating the culture and understanding what your organisation is going to be in the future.”
Suki believes most people want the flexibility to come into the office and work from anywhere, with many taking advantage of being able to work away from city centres.
As for those which come out as winners? Suki emphasised that companies that think ahead will triumph.
“The winners will be those who think about the future, what it will look like, and how it will impact employees. Employee experience is very important. Lots of people are thinking about now, but lots are thinking about what to do post-Covid,” she said.
Stephen Fountain, Project Director at MovePlan, also took part in a panel discussion looking at the future of the workplace, including the hybrid model.
He said: “MovePlan, as an organisation, we never had an office: we are very used to working remotely on client sites so when we went into circuit breaker it wasn’t so much of a change for us because we were used to working in a virtual environment.”
Using his own experience, he spoke of the need to increase communication to check in with those working remotely and supporting staff at home.
“You need to be communicating and checking in with people three times as much as you normally would,” he advised, adding: “We need to humanise their experience, checking on morale and treating them as human beings. That needs to be more deliberate now: we need to build in and listen and play back and do more recognition than we did in the past.”
Stephen believes that people need to upskill in presenting online, and leading remotely, explaining: “We need to create video content that’s engaging and we need to bring all of our personality to get enough energy to keep people focused and interested.”
Siobhan Brynes, our Regional Director EMEA, took part in a panel discussion about future workplaces, explaining that companies are now becoming proactive, after initially being reactive when the pandemic hit.
“Even before Covid, across multiple sectors we would see varying degrees of how change programmes are rolled out,” she explained, adding: “All organisations across the globe were adopting slow and steady but trying new alternatives to work settings. That has now been blown out of all proportions and we have been catapulted into a new way of working.”
“Now we are looking to the future and that is choice – choice in workplace settings. Organisations are looking at strategy and a need to return to a set of goals and vision and how they see that for their organisation.”
“Organisations have to look at how they see their organisation in the future and how that aligns to their goals.”
She pointed out that culture, vision, and employee experience have been brought back into focus, explaining: “The organisations we work with are looking at this as an opportunity to take a step back and look at the vision of the organisation and how culture is assigned to that vision. Now this is being brought right back to the top of the agenda and employee experience is top of the list and that will run through to how we design our buildings.”
To watch the panel discussions in full please click on the following links: