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Younger workers want flexible working, but are sceptical of remote

Younger workers want flexible working, but are sceptical of remote

flexible workingWhile remote and flexible working roles continue to grow in almost all countries, 20-24 year olds are the age group making the fewest applications to fully remote roles, claims a new poll from LinkedIn.  LinkedIn analysed the labour market for career starters in the U.S., U.K, France and Germany – including job applications and hiring data – to understand which sectors offer the most opportunity for Gen Z job-seekers and employers looking to attract them. More →

Dogs need to be part of The Great Workplace Conversation too

Dogs need to be part of The Great Workplace Conversation too

You probably saw that meme based on an article in the WSJ that did the rounds during peak lockdown of a cat and a dog imploring their unseen owners to either get back to the office as soon as possible or stay home forever. If not, it’s reproduced below. It not only captured the nature of cats and dogs and their stereotypical relationships with humans, but also the relentless, tedious insistence on that binary choice of home or office that nearly drowned out all other voices during the not-so Great Workplace Conversation. And often still does. More →

Flexible working is the new hybrid working, apparently

Flexible working is the new hybrid working, apparently

flexible workingFlexible working is the new hybrid working as a third of European workers would decline a job if flexible hours were not offered. That is the key claim of a new report from Owl Labs, a collaborative technology company. The annual State of Hybrid Work study polled 10,000 full-time employees across UK, Germany, France, Netherlands and Scandinavia – which suggests that flexibility is key to retaining top talent in 2022 and beyond. Over a third (37 percent) of European employees are prepared to decline a job if flexible hours are not offered and just over two thirds (69 percent) would accept a pay cut to have flexible hours. More →

Working from home can present particular challenges for women

Working from home can present particular challenges for women

woman working from homeThe pandemic has brought with it many different trials and tribulations over the course of the past few years. An area that has impacted teams across the country, and the world, has been working from home and other forms of remote work. Once a necessity imposed by the UK government to stop the spread in the early stages of the pandemic, it has now become a part of working life for many people in many different sectors. It has offered many employees the new luxury of time: no commutes resulting in more time to spend with family and friends and creating a better work-life balance. More →

Two thirds would take a pay cut in exchange for a four day week

Two thirds would take a pay cut in exchange for a four day week

four day weekA poll of 2,000 people published in the new edition of the State of Hybrid Work study from Owl Labs claims that flexibility is now key to retaining top talent in 2022 and beyond. 65 percent of British employees would rather be paid less in exchange for a four day week and over a third (37 percent) would choose to decline a job if flexible hours are not offered. The report claims that offering greater flexibility will prove key to preventing employees from driving the ‘Great Resignation’ – with nearly one in three (31 percent) employees changing jobs in the past two years and a quarter (25 percent) of employees actively seeking a new opportunity in 2022. More →

The studied carelessness of agile workplaces

The studied carelessness of agile workplaces

A model of agile workplaces at Sedus in DogernIn recent years we have grown very fond of borrowing foreign words to describe some of the more difficult to express ideas about wellbeing and the new era of agile, experiential and engaging work. We’ve adopted Eudaimonia from the Ancient Greek of Aristotle to describe the nuances of wellbeing, happiness and purpose. We went nuts briefly for the Scandinavian idea of hygge to describe a copy and laid-back approach to life that we felt we’d been lacking. More →

Hybrid working and how we escape the constraints of leadership

Hybrid working and how we escape the constraints of leadership

hybrid working danceJennifer was at the ballet the other day, watching Acosta Danza, and there was a dance with ropes.  In the movement of the relationship of the dancers, the mood, the emotion were all defined using the rope.  It was very beautiful.  Then towards the end the ropes were taken away and everything changed – the performers were liberated, unconstrained.  At first like a frenzy, but then the dancers started to gel together letting go of the need for the rope.  And this got her thinking about the role of constraint in leading change, especially in the new era of hybrid working. More →

Flexible working now part of work culture for over a third of people

Flexible working now part of work culture for over a third of people

flexible working MIcrosoftUK workers and their bosses are reaping the benefits of flexible working, according to new research released by Microsoft. According to Microsoft’s latest Work Trend Index, the number of people working in a hybrid way across the world is up seven percentage points on last year at (38 percent), while 53 percent of people are likely to consider transitioning to hybrid working in the year ahead. More →

New ways of working and what we’ve learned about them over the past two years

New ways of working and what we’ve learned about them over the past two years

new ways of workingA report published by Advanced Workplace Associates (AWA): Change For Good: 10 Lessons From The Pandemic identifies what it says is the transformative effect of the new ways of working and why there is ‘no going back’ for employers or employees. More →

We are not blank slates and we don’t adapt to change in predictable ways

We are not blank slates and we don’t adapt to change in predictable ways

An idea that has never really gone away, but which seems to be enjoying a new lease of life is the tabula rasa. The conception of people as a blank slate is something that has crept back into mainstream political and social thought for a variety of reasons. Arguably, it is also behind many of the most misleading notions about work and workplace design, perhaps most importantly that a change to some single element or characteristic of a working environment will lead to a specific outcome in the behaviour of people. More →

The much talked about new normal doesn’t exist, but the world has changed in profound ways

The much talked about new normal doesn’t exist, but the world has changed in profound ways

no new normalThe World Health Organization officially declared COVID a pandemic on March 11 2020. Now, two years later, there’s light for some at the end of the tunnel. In many wealthier countries, which have benefited from several rounds of vaccination, the worst of the pandemic is over. We’ve got here by learning a lot of new health behaviour, like wearing masks and sanitising our hands. Many of us have also developed a variety of social habits to reduce the virus’s spread – such as working from home, shopping online, travelling locally and socialising less. But as parts of the world emerge from the pandemic, are these new habits here to stay, or do old habits really die hard? Is there a new normal? Here’s what data can tell us.

 

 

Work

One of the biggest changes predicted during the pandemic was a long-term shift towards home or hybrid working. However, there are already signs that this transition might not be as obvious or complete as expected.

The signs of the transition to hybrid work are not as obvious or complete as expected

In the UK, the proportion of people working from home at least some of the time increased from 27 percent in 2019 to 37 percent in 2020, before falling to 30 percent in January 2022. Similarly, in the US the proportion working from home declined from 35 percent in May 2020 to 11 percent in December 2021.

One of the main reasons people are going back to the office is employers’ expectations. Many companies are concerned that more permanent home working might affect employees’ team building, creativity and productivity.

But among employees, there’s a greater appetite for hybrid and flexible working. One recent multi-national survey found that whereas roughly one-third of workers had worked at home at least some of the time before the pandemic, roughly half said they want to in the future.

 

Shopping

The pandemic didn’t create the habit of online shopping, but it makes more of us do it. Did this make us realise we don’t need actual stores anymore?

It doesn’t seem so. Shopping in bricks-and-mortar stores has already started to recover. Recent data on people’s movements, gathered anonymously from mobile devices, shows how in many countries, before omicron hit, travel to retail and recreation spaces was back up to pre-pandemic levels, and is already starting to rebound after omicron.

The rise in online sales has also not been as dramatic or sustained as many predicted. In the UK, online sales made up 20 percent of total retail sales before the pandemic. By February 2021 this had risen to 36 percent, before declining steadily to 25 percent in February 2022.

 

Travel

One habit that might take longer to recover is our pre-pandemic love of international travel. It has taken a hit around the world, and the sector is still struggling. The UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization projects that international travel in 2022 will still be down by nearly a half compared to 2019.

One British survey conducted last September found that while 80 percent of people were planning on holidaying in the UK in the next year, only around 40 percent were considering going abroad. In comparison, in the 12 months up to July 2019, 64 percent of Brits travelled abroad for a holiday according to one travel industry body.

People’s reluctance to travel has been largely down to concerns over the virus and confusion over travel rules. As worries decline and rules get lifted, we may see a “mini-boom” in holidaymaking.

 

Socialising

Early in the pandemic, some commentators – including the US chief medical adviser Dr Anthony Fauci – suggested we might never return to shaking hands. I, with my colleague Dr Kimberly Dienes, argued that it was vital these rituals make a comeback, as they have several social, psychological and even biological benefits.

Are social-distancing habits, including meeting fewer people and having less physical contact with those we do, here to stay? For most people, no. Data shows only one-third of people in the UK are still socially distancing regularly, the lowest proportion since the pandemic began.

 

No new normal

But truly, only time will tell how much the pandemic will have changed our habits. However, bolder predictions – that the pandemic was going to completely and irrevocably change our ways of working, shopping, travelling and socialising – now seem premature and exaggerated. The pandemic has taught us we can work, learn, shop and socialise in different ways, but the question now is whether we still want to.

The pandemic has taught us that we need to connect with others

Humans have basic needs, such as autonomy, feeling related to others, and feeling effective and competent in what we do. Part of the challenge with home working, for example, is that it simultaneously fulfils one need by giving us greater autonomy but takes away another by making us less connected. Expanding adequately supported, equality-focused, hybrid and flexible working arrangements is perhaps a promising way to meet both needs.

Some people will have acquired a sense of competence, or at least familiarity, with the new ways of doing things during the pandemic and so may wish to keep doing them. In some areas – travelling overseas, for example – it may take longer for our competence, and confidence, in old habits to return. However, many seem to be quite quickly returning to old ways and re-learning how to feel competent at doing things that they did before.

The extent to which we’ll go back to our old ways may also depend on our personality traits, which have been shown to shape our compliance with new behaviour. For example, those more open to new experiences by nature, or more extroverted, may be more eager to travel internationally or socialise in larger groups.

Finally, the pandemic may have served as a reminder of how much we appreciate everyday interactions with others, in shops, restaurants and so on. People may be keen to return to familiar ways that revive this – for example, picking something up in a store on the way home from work. Above all, the pandemic has taught us that we need to connect with others and that there are limits as to how much online communication can replace real, face-to-face interactions.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Workplace and property firms must wake up to the new era of networked businesses

Workplace and property firms must wake up to the new era of networked businesses

the networked workplaceWhile millions of words have been dedicated to the expected changes in post-Covid workstyles – how will people work, where will they work, how will they be supported – very little has been said about their employers: companies and corporations. Yet the anticipated changes to work and the workplace raise questions about the role of the company. Is it one just half of a transaction between employer and employee? Or is it something more? Indeed, what is the role of the company in the modern economy? Is the nature of the company likely to change? The answers could have a greater impact on workstyles than the pandemic. More →

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