Corporations should re-disperse any monetary savings that may have occurred as a result of office buildings, space reduction, being sold and maintenance cost savings as staff work from home.
We should see not just how and where we work as having changed but also how and what we spend our budgets on. Whereas in the past office space and employee perks may have focused on physicality, these will now look quite different, but the cost will still be there, albeit in a different form. Flexibility and adaptability are the key elements for today’s workers and organisations. People will think of themselves, not as the job that they do, but the bundle of skills that they have. People should be focused on life-long learning and as such will want to be invested in by their organisations, to feel growth and skill evolution in their roles.
In 2020-21, people, more than ever, seem motivated by their own personal ethics and situations to choose organisations and roles that work for them, rather than the other way round. People want to believe in the purpose of their organisations, to be aligned with their CSR goals and to move if that is not the case. This momentum appears only to be growing. This is particularly the case with millennials and generation X talent who will only represent more and more of the workforce. To attract talent, companies will need to be ready to offer not only competitive salaries, but also to show social purpose and a belief in career long development and flexibility in their talent management.
There are regional variations that affect the ability of companies to shift from their previous bricks and mortar set-up. The US, being geographically spread over an entire continent, can offer employees the ability to work remotely from anywhere within the country. The set-up in Europe, Africa and Asia is very different – we have number of countries with their own specific regulatory and tax requirements towards employees and employers. Without moving to another country, staff can choose now to prioritise their personal lives and commitments and avoid the major cities that were the reserve of top corporate roles pre pandemic. The next stage is how to work geographically from wherever we choose. This is tricky, as there are compliance and tax implications from country to country. But if this is the way forwards, then crossing from one country to another will need to be allowed and policies on how to support this can be worked out.
Meeting people every so often is important but the flexibility that (remote working) is going to give people is going to make a big difference. We will be able to attract completely different talent, for example hopefully more women as their roles can be more flexible. The rigid demands of certain roles may be in the past.
There is no one size fits all when we talk about future of work. For example, collaborative areas can be organised for employees who come to the office for only a couple of days every week instead of the usual desk/PC set up. The governance around this new way of work is yet to be finalised and implemented. Very important is to re-design the system of employees’ performance and contribution assessment so remote workers are properly measured and not disadvantaged when it comes to salary and bonus discussions. This will not be an easy process and companies are in very different stages.
Fintech companies have already been ahead of the game in this aspect. At the moment everyone is thinking about this and we are certainly not going to go back to what we had in pre-COVID years. It might take some time, but we are certainly going to have flexible work options as a key differentiating factor to attract great talent.