Before the pandemic, companies with a home-based workforce were in the minority, but when lockdown restrictions came into force working from home became the norm for many.

Before the pandemic, companies with a home-based workforce were in the minority, but when lockdown restrictions came into force working from home became the norm for many. Housemark’s Covid-19 Impact Monitoring, showed that there will be a fundamental shift in the way the sector operates longer term, with many social landlords already adopting hybrid working and 1 in 12 moving to a fully remote model. It’s unlikely we will ever go back to the old 9-5 in the office again, but what is the future of the workplace?

There’s a multitude of benefits when working from home, with positive changes to work/life balance for some. With no commute, this frees workers up to have more time for themselves and make the most of the ease of being at home (for example by popping a quick wash on, an unlikely regular discussion point in our teams!), not to mention the cost saving. Many have even decided to move to where they truly want to live rather than based on the proximity to the office; there’s been a huge increase in demand for coastal properties since the start of the pandemic. Historically we’ve seen people move to where the work is but now the work can come with you. This could see also significant savings for landlords as the sector currently spends £950m a year on office premises.

But of course, everybody is different, and some employees have found working from home less beneficial. These differing experiences were shared by staff at Clyde Valley, where some found the transition to working from home easy, but there are also staff who don’t have the space and facilities for a proper workstation and therefore have found it difficult. Others have also found not working in the office around team members tough and for some, it’s been stressful having family around.

How do leaders adopt a model which provides their colleagues with flexibility and maintains productivity? If some colleagues want to be in the office collaborating with others but their colleagues want to work from home, then how do you ensure collaboration will still occur? How do you still create a strong team and culture and how will staff be able to build relationships with their colleagues?

It’s a complex picture, but here are some of the things you should be considering…

Make the right technology work for you

The concept of a virtual office would have been unthinkable without the technologies now available. Cairn Group had already adapted to home working before the pandemic and allowed staff to spend 50% of their time working from home as standard. They’ve said this is because their systems are 96% cloud hosted including their contact centres and they use Gamma Horizon technology, Skype and Teams which gives everyone the chance of working from anywhere. When you know what the future of the workplace looks like for your organisation, you need to make the right technology work for you.

One size does not fit all

It’s important for leaders to listen to their colleagues so that you can accommodate what they truly need. Not everyone has adapted to working from home and the key message is that there shouldn’t be a one-size fits all approach.

You need a talent retention strategy

With more flexible working now, staff can choose a company that works in the way that aligns with their lifestyle. If they struggle to find this alignment in your business, working from anywhere widens the pool of potential employers. Ultimately, you could end up losing your best people if you haven’t got a talent retention strategy influencing decisions about the future of your workplace.

There are many things to consider when looking to adopt a hybrid working model for the future and leaders need to make decisions now which balance business need and colleague satisfaction. If you’d like to understand more about the future of the workplace and how to make sure you can keep your staff happy and healthy going forward, our Disruption and Innovation in Housing in the Devolved Nations 2021 event is for you!

On day one of our two-day conference, we will discuss the future of the workplace. We will delve into topics around transitioning to hybrid remote working, responsible AI and how to build an agile business for the future. On Tuesday, 2 November we’ll be joined by keynote speakers Patrick Connolly, Digital Research Manager at Accenture and Toju Duke, Responsible AI Program Manager at Google as well as a host of other inspirational speakers.

Two-day places start from £249+ VAT. Secure yours today by contacting Ticket bundles for two or more delegates are available at preferential rates.  Come together with other social landlords and leave feeling empowered about how you can create a business that’s ready for the future.