by leveraging agility, adaptability and innovation capabilities Interview with Wayne Visser, a globally recognised Cambridge “pracademic” and thought-leader on sustainable
You Must Kill Your Office to Save Your Company and Employees
There are critical issues raised in relation to teleworking that if not controlled they can highly damage the performance of the company. Examples of major trending challenges in association with remote working include reduced innovation, lack of collaboration, poor employee management and isolation which impact negatively on organizations. These underlying factors are mainly the reasons that stir up critical concerns of whether onsite offices will return post-pandemic, with suggestions of introducing a hybrid working model. The big question is what can be done to increase human interactions and collaboration performance amidst virtual working.
Will Office Culture Come back Post COVID -19 Pandemic?
Employees are enjoying the flexibility and the freedom they get from working from home, most research indicates that working from home has made most employees more productive. Forbes also notes that more job seekers are increasingly applying for remote jobs, and more high-tech organizations are drastically advancing towards the remote operation.
Giant Tech Companies on Full-blown Teleworking Model
Many businesses were hit hard by the pandemic, but on the contrary, most tech companies seemed to thrive catching a big break. Mega companies like Amazon made an impressive profit increase of up to 84% in 2020, not to mention Google which recorded a $21 billion profit increase from 2019.
Surprisingly, Pinterest preferred to pay an $89.5 million termination fee, after pulling out of a deal they had made in 2020 to relocate to an office space in San Francisco covering 500,000 square feet. Similarly, the renowned tech Guru Twitter is now subleasing about 100,000 square feet of its office space in San Francisco.
The shift towards full-blown teleworking is been spearheaded by tech companies, with companies like Facebook and Twitter being among the first organizations to announce their permanent shift to home working. Dropbox, Shopify, Zillow among others have also adopted the working from home model.
Evidence of Decreased Demand for Onsite Offices Spaces
As big companies scale down on their need for office spaces through their adoption of teleworking, the more commercial building will be left vacant. There is clearly a deficit in the demand for office space, and as more employees work from home, there will be less concentration on developing flagship campuses, rather, companies will focus on developing hub areas distributed in different locations in the country.
According to Forbes, the real estate market is in crisis with a decline in demand for commercial space. Towards the end of 2020, the demand for commercial space reduced by 33 million square feet, while the office vacancy rate spiral by 90%.
Teleworking is Here to Stay
The overhead costs saved from adopting teleworking, and the huge amount of time salvaged from daily commuting has been an eye-opener that is making most companies focus on going full-blown virtual. According to PwC survey findings, there has been an exceptional success in the adoption of remote working by both employees and employers. Employees have developed a positive attitude towards working from home, with over 83% of employers remarking the successes of teleworking compared to the June 2020 survey that showed only 73% level of success.
The underlying fact is that remote working has greatly been a success to most organisations, and it will most likely be the mode of working even post-pandemic. There have been debates about what the offices will be used for, and suggestions of using a hybrid working system have been introduced to the conversation.
Is Hybrid Working Model an Option?
Following challenges of isolation and low collaboration that is seemingly affecting remote workers, there have been suggestions to introduce a hybrid working model. Employees are expected to work in batches in the shared office spaces in rotational form, while the rest are in virtual mode.
The Essence of a Hybrid Working Model
A hybrid model will still save companies a good portion of overhead costs where they only need about 30% of expense savings to reinstate small office spaces to accommodate the few employees commuting on a rotational basis. The hybrid model is purposed for breaking the monotony of isolation that most employees experience from several months of teleworking or working from home. The idea adopted with this type of working model is that it helps increase the collaboration of employees by putting them in a state where they occasionally work together physically, while still cutting down on office costs.
According to the PWC survey, 87% of the interviewed employees’ state that an onsite office is vital for enhanced unity and collaboration, while 20% of the interviewed executives remark that they would want to go back to the traditional office setting. 13% of the executives note that they are ready to adopt virtual working completely, while the rest are rationalizing the various ways to expand the remote working options.
Challenges Impacting a Hybrid Working System
IBM CEO Arvind Krishna states that they are expecting to have 80% of their employees adopt a hybrid system, which will require them to scale back a large part of their office space. However, Arvind Krishna noted that talking up a hybrid system would mean that almost 10% to 20% of their workforce will completely operate remotely, which imposes doubts about their career trajectory.
The adoption of a hybrid working system depicts complexities relating to planning workweek; where there seems to be a challenge reaching a consensus on the balance of workdays that should be carried out at home versus in the offices. There are vital concerns about complications in streamlining organizational culture with the likely emergence of two cultures of the split workforce. Therefore, companies seeking to maintain company bonds and culture will have to explore other options for increasing productivity and reducing Isolation.
Why Corporate Retreats Can be a Great Solution for Teleworking
Corporate retreats have long defined unity and have been used as a strategic tool that drives meaningful collaboration in the organization. Technology intervention has intercepted business functions, but it cannot replace the significance of face to face interactions necessary for replenishing a sense of human touch, inspiring innovation and creativity among the company’s workforce.
What is a Team Retreat?
Team retreats are guided and intentional company trips aimed at boosting friendship, enhancing cross-functional collaboration, and eliminating isolation and work monotony. Research proves that team retreats are fundamental for reenergizing onsite and remote working employees and motivating them to embrace unity. Retreats involve hikes, excursions, swimming and everything fun related.
Benefits of Retreats on Remote Teams
Companies are reaping great benefits by eliminating office spaces and adopting teleworking, but are struggling to maintain the strong bonds and collaboration of employees. Luckily the solution lies ultimately on embracing team reiterates for their remote team every 3-4 times after every 3-4 months. Proven benefits for team retreats include:
- Increased Team Collaboration
- Reduced Turnover Rates
Benefits for Planning Several Team Retreats Annually
If you are looking to instigate strong connection and working relationship of your employees, then is necessary to keep them close and heighten their face-to-face interactions through constant retreats. Like the saying “out of sight out of mind”, you need to keep your team members conscious of each other to make collaborations effective. Note that having many retreats allows the company to deliberate on various discussion topics faster and more successfully compared to having virtual meetings that are less lucrative and dull.
A successful retreat takes the effort and deliberation of team members to plan and requires companies to include retreat events in the year company budget. It is advisable to direct the savings obtained for office spaces to planning team retreats as often as possible to rejuvenate human connection and teamwork.
The reality of the corporate business operations and the high dependence on real estate income obtained from commercial landscape offices is quickly changing, with the adoption of teleworking as the main model of working. The benefits of remote working obtained by companies globally outweigh any necessary demand to reclaim the traditional office system. The main challenge that underpins the growth of teleworking is reduced collaboration and isolation feelings. Fortunately, companies have the option of solving that problem by simply implementing retreats 3 to 4 times a year for their remote team to bond.
Examples of major trending challenges in association with remote working include reduced innovation, lack of collaboration, poor employee management and isolation which impact negatively on organizations.
ESG Overview Investors globally are increasingly embracing ESG standards, which focus on factors such as, human wellbeing, the environment, and