Bishop & Sewell

If you are interested in knowing what the future of the workplace will look like JLL, the world’s second largest property consultancy, has carried out years of research into the subject.

Their latest report makes for interesting reading as we wonder about the employment world of the future writes Rhian Radia, a Partner and Head of our Employment team.

There have been surveys everywhere on social media allowing people to vote on how they want to work post-pandemic. The surveys seem to show that working from home has been popular for some, but not for others. Inevitably this will present HR departments with challenges. The need for flexibility needs to be balanced with fairness to those whose roles cannot be performed at home.

According to JLL, COVID-19 has accelerated the transformation of the workplace by five to 10 years, says Marie Puybaraud, JLL’s global head of corporate research, who comments “the distributed workforce we are seeing now was always going to happen, but we were expecting a slower evolution,” she says. “The pandemic simply sped up the timeline.”

She also comments “While remote work has proven its relative effectiveness, workers are not ready to abandon the office, because collaboration with colleagues and the ability to manage or feel supported waned during the pandemic,” Puybaraud says. “Therefore, we don’t expect office environments to retain traditional designs. We have a flexible workforce capable of working from anywhere, and we will need workplaces to be equally adaptable.”

JLL’s research suggested employees would like more space to socialise, learn and – interestingly – ‘connect to nature.’

They suggest that currently about two-thirds of space in today’s office environments is reserved for individual work, with only around a third set aside for collaborative purposes. To meet the needs of the future workforce, JLL expects these proportions will need to swap, with roughly three-quarters of the workspace dedicated to collective use and the rest set aside for individual work.

Puybaraud continues, “Technology established itself as a successful enabler of remote work. By and large, businesses were able to continue to operate efficiently because of technology platforms. However, with employees dispersed among multiple office locations and home offices, companies will probably need to expand those platforms as we move forward. There is a lot of opportunity for new solutions that deliver more realistic, engaging, human-centric experiences. While nothing can replace the real-world interactions that most people crave, technology can make interactions between on-site and remote colleagues even more efficient.”

Liquid workforce

Reported here, Flore Pradère, Research Director at JLL Corporate Solutions Research says, “The COVID-19 crisis has incited a massive paradigm shift in the world of work. To adapt to this new normal, the future of work must be reimagined to focus on the needs and preferences of a liquid workforce. This means offering employee-centric solutions that value choice and flexibility to optimise employee experiences and performance.”

“There’s no going back to the old ways of working,” Dr Puybaraud, Global Head of Research, JLL Corporate Solutions concluded. “Those who are courageous and proactive in reimagining their workplace to address changing workforce preferences will be the future leaders of business in a post-pandemic world.”

With this in mind, it is going to be a case of revisiting employment contracts and handbooks and policies once again especially around where and when employees are expected to attend for work.

Good luck drafting the connecting to nature clause.

For initial advice or to arrange a meeting with one of our Employment team, please email or contact 020 7631 4141 and ask to speak to our Employment team.

The above is accurate as at 16 March 2021. The information above may be subject to change during these ever-changing times.

The content of this note should not be considered legal advice and each matter should be considered on a case by case basis.

Category: Blog | Date: 16th Mar 2021

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