Now that remote and flexible working has embedded itself into office life it looks as if Covid-19 is going to leave a legacy of changing company culture in its wake. At the beginning of the pandemic, there was much speculation about the potential changes it might bring. While there has been a degree of scepticism about some of the more radical claims for possible change, some of the touted developments really do look as if they’re coming to fruition.
Working life is becoming more flexible in regards to where the office is. Technology now allows for greater flexibility about when and where people work, allowing people to still be connected at a distance. This, in turn, is beginning to shift how companies treat employees who want to work flexibly.
In the past wanting to work in a blended pattern, perhaps remotely some of the week, with a day or two in the office space had sometimes been taken as a sign that an employee perhaps lacked commitment or wasn’t ambitious.
With more people working flexibly, that expectation is slowly beginning to change. In fact, flexible working is increasingly being shown to deliver real benefits in terms of productivity and staff retention.
New Working Patterns
As flexible and remote working becomes more widespread it’s likely to lead to new working patterns for most people. During the early days of their career, an individual may choose to be more office-based in order to network with colleagues and develop professionally. As they get older and start a family the amount of remote work they do could increase.
Perhaps at the later stages of their career people may return again to the office for social reasons and share their experience with younger colleagues. Those who are moving towards retirement may choose to work more flexibly, maybe at a distance.
Greater Gender Parity in the Workplace
In the past, more women than men have chosen to work flexibly or to shift to part-time working patterns to allow more time for parenting and other responsibilities. Although there has been a steady increase in the number of men moving towards flexible working over the past few years, working life post-Covid-19 is likely to speed up that process. This hopefully will result in unconscious biases against female employees that still impact the career progression of women finally being tackled. Only time will tell.
New Forms of Leadership
Covid-19 has underlined the importance of empathy and flexibility when it comes to workplace leadership. Taking a company through the Covid-19 crisis has required a more collaborative, even democratic approach to decision making and these changes are likely to embed themselves. As a result of these changes, leadership roles may open up and look more appealing to people who previously thought their talents were better deployed elsewhere.
A Focus on Wellbeing in the Workplace
Covid-19 has highlighted the importance of employee wellbeing in the workplace. We spend large amounts of our life at work and the culture and environment within which we work can play a huge role in how well we feel physically and emotionally. Companies were already moving towards a greater awareness of employee wellbeing, and the Covid-19 pandemic has clarified the issue further.
The emerging dominant company culture looks altogether more flexible, responsive and empathetic than what went before. As company culture learns and adapts from the experience of the pandemic, new ways and structures for working will evolve. To help you on that journey, Flow Office design Birmingham can advise on how to shape your workspaces for the future.