I World Economic Forum:
things will never be the same
An Ipsos per il World Economic Forum, covering 12,500 employees in 29 countries, has reported that most of them hope flexible work will become the norm. And almost one third (30%) say that they would also consider looking for another job if they are forced to return to the office full time. The survey also calls into question a series of forecasts regarding the negative repercussions of remote working. Production drops, widespread complaints of burnout and reduced involvement in corporate processes and projects all seem to be easily resolved. Among the workers interviewed, 64% claimed to be more productive with flexible work schedules, and only one third were concerned about an overly taxing pace. One out of three did admit to feeling less involved in corporate strategies when working at a distance. The WEC reported the findings of the research completed in the summer with a special video.
II Towards truly Smart Working
“What will happen for most workers in the next few months,” says Mariano Corso, director of the Smart Working Observatory of the Milan Polytechnic, as reported by the newspaper La Repubblica, “will be a passage towards real smart working, alternating work done at the office with work done at home. This will be the case for at least 60% of those presently in a situation we call flexible work, though that is an improper use of the term.” In Italy there are 5 million workers, out of 18 million employees, operating with this initial form of obligatory, simplified smart working. Many of them are on a 100% remote regimen, or rely on company facilities only in a small part of their activity. For optimal efficiency, the average for physical presence should be about 2.5 days per week, with the possibility of working at home for the rest of the time. These are the forecasts of the Observatory, which will present its new findings on 3 November. The research focuses on understanding the activities – and how they will change through the revision of spaces and their technologies – while identifying opportunities for organizations derived from new models of work facilities. It is also important to consider the impact of smart working on the territory. Not home working, but smart working. For many companies, the return to the office has implied redefining the terms of collaboration with employees.
III How to improve the employee experience
All the research on the return to the office confirms that a sizeable quota of workers, if they are forced to return completely to physical presence at work facilities, might consider changing jobs. The study on “Excellence in the Employee Experience” conducted by KPMG in collaboration with Great Place To Work® , addresses this theme, with the aim of gathering feedback from a sample of Italian workers regarding their Employee Experience (EX). Attracting and keeping talent has become the main challenge for companies, confirming the central importance of people for the continuity and growth of businesses in a context that will continue to evolve in the years to come. The results of the study indicate that companies are moving towards policies that focus on human resources and their experience on the job. Pages 29 and 30 of the report concentrate on the theme of the activity-based workplace, namely flexible working environments where people can choose from an assortment of spaces in which to carry out a wide range of activities during the course of the working day. Decisions regarding the workspace and preferred settings are crucial for the design of a distinctive “employee value proposition.” The redesign of the workspace strategy represents a truly important concept for companies that are seeking to maximize competitive advantage in terms of work experience.
IV Hybrid transformation
What are the best companies in which to work in Europe? According to the Europe’s Best Workplaces ranking of Great Place to Work®, the winner is the shipping firm DHL, followed by Abbvie, specialized in biotechnologies and pharmaceuticals, and Cisco, a leader in telecommunications. “In this difficult moment, it is very important for the work environment to be healthy from a psychological and emotional standpoint, and to provide the necessary resources and tools that enable workers to perform at their best. Management has to be open to frank, sincere dialogue, with a clear vision of the paths taken by the organization and how they can be developed,” says Giulia Castaldini, List Manager of the consulting firm specializing in human resources and analysis of organizational climate.
But the true challenge arises in the management of remote work. The report co-authored by Great Place to Work® and The Economist concentrates precisely on this theme of the year: the management of workspaces to head in the direction of hybrid transformation. The lessons learned in terms of employee productivity and wellbeing will set the tone of the policies of the years to come, in which some people will continue remote working while others will not be able to do so, and others still will work in a hybrid way. The world of work and its spaces will be shifted into new scenarios precisely by the factor of management of remote and hybrid teams.
V PWC opens territorial hubs
In the former CGS area in Monza, near Milan, involved in a major project of urban regeneration, PWC has opened its first territorial hub. The new format responds to the need to operate in a strategic territory of the economic-productive fabric of Lombardy, with a focus on quality of life of the human resources of this leading consulting firm, while limiting the environmental impact caused by commuting to the company’s facility in Milan. The hub has been designed as a multifunctional space of over 800 square meters at the service of clients and PWC staff, with 84 workstations, meeting rooms and an innovative Experience Center for special projects and conferences. The client area is composed of spaces for reception and collaboration: tables and soft seating in open-plan spaces for small informal meetings, and closed rooms with soundproofing and glass walls, for video conferencing and more secluded meetings. The area also contains a food point, and an area for short breaks and organized social gatherings. A large space for flexible reconfiguration is placed adjacent to the client area: the experience zone, which can be utilized in various ways, can be divided into three spaces for simultaneous meetings, thanks to two large curtains on tracks in sound-absorbing fabric, offering the possibility of rapid reorganization as a single large conference room. The furnishings can also be quickly adapted for a range of layout hypotheses, based on the requirements of the moment. Another central location for the activities of the consulting company is the Arena, a meeting room composed of stepped furnishings to form an amphitheater, permitting the organization of informal gatherings, training programs and talks.