Over the past ten years, modern ways of working have been gently shifting to become slightly more flexible – then the Covid-19 pandemic put a rocket under it.
We believe that the time for change is now. It’s time to Work Happy.
For over a decade the structure of the modern workplace has been changing: new trends of work-from-anywhere, flexible working hours and tech-led outcome focused working practices have been bedding in across niche industries. A March 2019 survey found 61% of global companies were allowing their staff to have some sort of remote working policy, and, in 2019, we know that just over 1.5 million people in the UK worked from home on a regular basis.
Fast-forward 12 months and, in the grip of a global pandemic, the UK government compelled anyone who can work from home to do so as part of strict lockdown measures. In a nationwide survey conducted by Silicon Reef in June 2020, we found that before the pandemic just 8% of respondents felt they had the flexibility to work from home when they needed to but, at time of writing it is estimated that more than 50% of the UK adult population is now working remotely. That is upwards of 20 million people.
20 million people.
Not only is a change in working practices possible, it also delivers benefits for business. There is an undeniable cost reduction opportunity for running a slimmer permanent office-based workforce. For example, it has been reported that there could be an estimated $4.5 trillion savings per year by 2030 in the US alone as a direct result of remote working, through improved productivity, reducing fixed overheads and increasing agility.
However, we believe the greatest opportunity in fundamentally overhauling your working practices is the chance you have to significantly improve your employees’ emotional engagement and mental well-being. This is the opportunity to Work Happy.
There are many reasons why more fluid working practices can drive increased satisfaction, better mental health and higher level of employee engagement. In our survey, 44% of respondents felt that their stress levels have improved since they started working from home, and 67% felt that they had more free time, with a net improvement in task management of 16% overall.
Remote working empowers employees to own their working day – with as many versions of the ideal working environment as there are individual employees. Technology enablers, and an employer’s trust and flexibility, means each individual can define their own working model for optimum personal productivity and emotional well-being.
It’s no coincidence that the ease with which people have been able to work remotely through lockdown was down to the technology available. With the increased business adoption of more sophisticated and accessible remote working technologies over the past decade – such as M365, G-Suite and Slack – some of the foundations were already in place as lockdown descended and we all ‘went home to work’. Even those without company–supported technologies in place have been able to jump on freeware or deploy shadow tech to get the job done in the short term.
Technology has a significant role to play for those businesses looking to capitalise and change the way they work for the long term. Where many (maybe most) businesses were largely unprepared to support employees at the start of the pandemic, those who had established a flexible platform for their workforce found themselves transitioning with ease. These are the businesses setting the blueprint for remote working.
Silicon Reef has been a flexible, outcome-led business from our inception. In fact, enabling our clients to design and build new working practices that unlock the potential in their organisation, freeing their employees to work flexibly, is at the heart of our core purpose.
We work with organisations to understand their unique make–up, building a picture of their people, how they work, and how they want to work. We support these businesses in designing and then transitioning to a modern working practice design, using the power of M365, our technical expertise and our extensive experience of SharePoint, Teams and all that Microsoft has to offer.
The pandemic has shown us that the time has come for all businesses to see the real value in human-led, stress-limiting working practices. We cannot go back to the way we were.
The time has come to Work Happy.
Our research findings cast a unique light on the way people need and want to work going forward, and will help us create a new model for employee engagement.
One thing is certain – your people are going to come out of this lockdown wanting to work differently. Are you ready to make the change? Are you ready to Work Happy?