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The Workplace Revolution: Are You Ready?

Sophie Grant

23 May 2019

A recent report on employee satisfaction rates indicated that 71% of millennials aren’t engaged at work, less than 40% would say they’re ‘thriving’ and 50% don’t plan to stay with their current company more than a year. We’re seeing an annual job turnover as high as 90% in the UK, and studies conclude that the number one issue facing CEOs in 2018 is retaining top talent once hiring themTherefore, businesses are facing a crisis in engaging, inspiring and keeping their employees, especially young talent within the age group 22-37. Since millenials currently make up 1 in 3 of the US work force, this isn’t a demographic to be ignored. 

This crisis will become even more pressing for modern businesses in the face of the tech talent deficit. Organisations face a growing need for tech talent in their teams to help them meet the demands of the modern digital ecosystem. However, in the professional landscape as a whole, those demands far outweigh the supply, making competition higher and the need for businesses to engage, stimulate and keep their employees. In fact, by 2030, the global tech talent shortage is estimated to reach an enormous 85.2 million people. The question then for companies scaling in this environment is: how to compete? In particular for small and medium-sized businesses that don’t have the budget to offer Google-style employee benefitsrumoured to include massages, gourmet food experiences and unlimited holiday. 

It doesn’t have to be endlessly expensive and difficult to create a positive environment for employees that enables you to attract talented individuals, keep them within your company, and make them feel motivated at work so they produce their best results. We’re in the midst of a workplace revolution. Small businesses, startups, legacy companies and traditional corporates will each need to reevaluate their approach to employee management in order to win within a highly competitive talent environment. We’ll bring you six key tips to happier, more loyal employees, starting at the human level: 

Tips for Happier, More Productive Employees

1. Offer flexible working hours 

To put it simply, every employee is different. Some are morning people, and some love working in the evening. Some would like to take their children to school in the morning, whilst otherwise would like to make it to yoga classes in the evening. A key way to increase the commitment, motivation and productivity of employees is to offer them flexible working hours so they can work at the hours that work for them, and fit other commitments around their professional life. The 8-hour-day, 40-hour-week working schedule was invented by Henry Ford in 1900 in order to attract autoworkers that were previously working 12 hour days. This somewhat arbitrary number was to shape the pattern of work for the next hundred years. However, now, forward-thinking companies are increasingly ditching the 9-5 work hours in favour of more flexible work schedules that fit around individual needs. In fact, 77% of employees would consider flexible work arrangements during the evaluation of future job opportunities. Therefore, when making your workplace future-proof and ensuring your employees can perform to their fullest potential, consider offering flexible work schedules. 

Understandably, many CEOs remain sceptical about moving towards a flexible work model. A common concern is that flexible work may be a good idea in theory, but one that’s difficult to implement in reality whilst keeping productivity standards high. Despite this worry, the data claims otherwise. Recent studies highlight that 78% of employees believe that flexible work arrangements would, or do, allow them to be more productiveand it’s not a coincidence that some of the world's highest performing workforces do so via flexible work structures. In fact, if managed correctly, flexible work could have positive effects on your team’s productivity, creativity and collaboration. If you’re hesitant about taking the leap and offering flexible work for your team, start by introducing a pilot scheme, and then collecting feedback from team members and managers. As you move forward, clearly defining roles and responsibilities so your employees are clear about what’s expected from them during their remote work. Open up free-flowing channels of communication which make your team feel supported and provide you with visibility on their work. Finally, rethinking your performance management systems to be more output-focussed rather than time-focussed is a key element of making flexible work… work!

2. Rethinking performance reviews  

Once you’ve onboarded a new member of the team, an important element for keeping them on board for the long run is how you evaluate their process and growth over time. Only 8 percent of companies report that their performance management process drives high levels of value, while 58 percent said it is not an effective use of time. Many current performance management systems are broken, presenting a drain on the time of both employees and managers alike. Gone are the days of one single review meeting every quarter, or twice a year. In the modern talent landscape, performance review should be a continuous process of collaboration between employers and employees. 

So as you rethink your performance review model, think little and often rather than the big scary annual performance review meeting. That means scheduling ten-minute catchups once a week, rather than an hour-long meeting once a year. Use these catchups as an opportunity to set positive, realistic goals so employees can grow in their roles and chart that progress too. Make progress catchups a two-way street, where you can discuss team members’ performance, but they can share any queries, concerns or thoughts on management too. Consider it a continuous, constructive dialogue of feedback that goes both ways and allows both parties to improve the way they work. Finally, create results-based culture by utilising data snapshots where possible to quantify workload and productivity. Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to a performance review process that gets the most out of your employees and makes them feel good too! 

3. The death of the conventional office 

Research shows that over two-thirds of global professionals in 2018 work outside their offices at least once a week. Alongside the death of the 9-5 working day, modern businesses are increasingly moving away from a fixed office environment and enabling employees to work remotely from home, abroad or anywhere really. It’s this paradigm shift that’s led to the rise of innovative coworking spaces, where remote workers and freelancers can connect and join their virtual cloud office, rather than physically sitting alongside their co-workers in a fixed corporate space. According to recent surveys, some of benefits of remote work are greater autonomy, the opportunity to spend more time with families, the ability to travel whilst working, to build daytime exercise into their day, being able to avoid office politics. It’s no wonder it’s on the rise, with experts predicting that half the working world will be remote before 2020

Remote work also comes with benefits for employers too, who can liberate themselves from the financial burdens of fixed office spaces. Remote work also widens your talent pool, since organisations can technically hire individuals in any geographic area. Collaboration becomes borderless thanks to technology like the G-suite which enables team members to access assets and work from anywhere in the world. Therefore, when considering how to find, keep and nurture the top global talent for your organisation, remote work will be a key component that employees will come to expect in coming years, and as it stands 57% of businesses lack a remote work policyThose that develop a remote work offering will succeed within a highly competitive talent landscape. 

We know that CEOs in the modern work environment face ever-growing and ever-changing challenges. It’s tough to find the right employees to navigate their business through endless technological development. Then, it’s tough to keep those employees in the family given the competitive talent environment of today, in particular for tech talent. Finally, inspiring those employees to produce their best work through a careful balance of management and individual autonomy is particularly difficult. 

The answer? Be open to change. The nature of work has been transformed in recent years. If your organisation doesn’t evolve with the times, you’ll struggle to attract and retain the kind of innovative talent you need to succeed. Thanks to technology, fixed office work models are being replaced by itinerant, flexible alternatives that empower employees with greater independence and responsibility. By experimenting with new workplace models, you’ll not only create happier employees but you could also see higher productivity rates, more creativity from your teams and more company loyalty. So it’s time to ask yourself: have you joined the workplace revolution? 

OneCoWork is more than just an office space; all our packages include a variety of amenities and benefits for members, so your employees will be more satisfied at work and productive during their days. Book a tour at one of our spaces to see about joining the revolution today.

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