Empowering office workers

The 'Great Resignation' phenomenon has snowballed in the UK, with almost three-quarters of a million UK workers choosing to change jobs in Q2 2021. High employee turnover is usually a consequence of businesses not providing their workers with the right training, benefits, development opportunities, and job satisfaction. Poly's research confirmed this, with over half (58 percent) of organizations seeing a higher turnover in staff over the course of the pandemic. Now that employees who used to exclusively work in an office have had a taste of what they expect from their workplace in terms of hybrid working opportunities, employers face an enormous challenge: retaining and recruiting talent. 

What steps should employees take to ensure that their workforce remains satisfied and motivated when there is no guaranteed blueprint to overcome the challenges of high turnover? 

Choose strategy over spontaneity 

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Businesses need to prepare for the future of hybrid work by developing a strategy that supports hybrid options to retain talent and stop them leaving for a competitor that offers working conditions closer to the employees’ newly discovered need for a better life/work balance. Developing an effective, employee-centered hybrid work strategy is critical for this. But not all organizations are prepared for this step, with only 48 percent of organizations saying they are fully prepared for the future of hybrid work, while 37 percent are only prepared in the short term. Employees who work in a line of work that allows them to perform their tasks remotely don’t want to wait for their employers to get organized -- instead, they want to feel heard and enabled to get on with their work, from any location.  

In the hybrid working world companies that are equipped with the right pro-grade audio solutions and video meeting technology will improve the day to day work experience, no matter where people work from. Employees will be able to feel at ease, knowing that they can collaborate effortlessly with their colleagues despite working outside of the traditional office space. Businesses that choose to make these choices in upgrading makeshift, poor quality solutions, will empower employees to be efficient in their work and satisfied and therefore less likely to look into alternative options in companies that can fulfill these needs.  

Redesigning the office to make it a collaborative space 

The role of the office, how it’s perceived, and what people want to use it for is not the same as before. It’s clear to see that workers have craved human interaction since the beginning of the pandemic and are now looking forward to returning to the office in some capacity. Office banter, going for lunch with clients and their colleagues, and office camaraderie are listed as the top three things workers miss about the office according to research

Because of this, the office is going to be used in very differently in the future. With many workers experiencing remote work at some stage since 2020, companies should now understand that they can and should make better use of space, people, and technology. Research has revealed that more than three-quarters (77 percent) of organizations are planning to redesign the office for new ways of working. Organizations plan on creating more open plan areas, collaboration spaces, quiet zones, and meeting rooms. Some spaces may be high tech and high intensity, whereas others -- the opposite. This will create expectations from workers in terms of technology enablement that match a specific workstyle.  

By investing in pro-grade technology solutions, employers can provide a consistent, professional, and friction-free office experience for all their staff. By doing this, they can minimize bias and complexity and deliver work equity that employees are increasingly demanding in post-pandemic times. Ultimately, businesses must look to redesign the office, inclusive of the devices that employees use, creating a breadth of settings to ensure collaboration and communication spaces co-exist with calmer areas for concentration. 

Taking a people-first approach  

Ultimately, redesigning the office and implementing new technologies isn’t a silver bullet for retaining and recruiting talent. Businesses must understand that retaining and attracting talent comes down to becoming much more people centric. The future of work will need to be molded around individual needs for flexibility, accessibility, and equality. The workforce now has expectations of what they want from their employers, and they will not be negotiating or willing to accept less. By ensuring that each hybrid working policy step implemented always goes back to what the workforce wants, people will feel empowered, satisfied with their jobs, and return the favor of being acknowledged by their employers by showing loyalty and productivity.

Claire Dutton is Senior Manager, UK & I, at Poly

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