THURSDAY 23 JUL 2020 12:55 PM

COMMS GOGGLEBOX 23 JULY

In today’s Comms Goggle Box our experts discuss what the future of office work looks. Will it be a hybrid between remote and on site working and what are the benefits of that? How does that affect employee engagement and will it blur the lines between internal and external comms?

    

Remote working: is this the new normal?

    

   

   

"It will be interesting to see how employers respond to working practices and infrastructure post Covid. The impossible has proven to be possible, albeit under challenging circumstances. But I believe the employers that take the opportunity to work with their people to find the optimal way of operating will thrive and get the most from their workforce."

Jennifer Thomas, Communications director

   

"Siemens has gone even further as its new policy is that staff can permanently work from wherever they want for two or three days a week. Clearly it can only apply to its office-based staff rather than staff in its manufacturing plants so I’m not sure how many people it applies to."

 

 

Stuart Bruce, Independent management consultant

   

   

   

"This is the future - hybrid working, where you have the flexibility to work remotely two days a week makes a lot of sense for a business like Siemens. The hard numbers are it has 385,000 employees globally. Assume a per-desk and facilities cost of £15k per annum (and it could be a LOT more than that) and by having hotdesking and allowing staff to work remotely 2 days a week they’ve saved themselves £2.3bn a year in overhead."

Darryl Sparey, Hard Numbers

     

"I've already heard from Siemens people I've worked with (former client) and those I've heard from hugely welcome it. There will be challenges around employee engagement, but that's because we've spent decades creating processes based around offices. We just need new thinking and new processes. For me the hardest is how to introduce new people into a team, particularly new entrants into the workplace. I haven't seen anyone share really good ideas on that yet."

Stuart Bruce, Independent management consultant

    

   

    

"The importance of employee engagement amongst remote workers can’t be overlooked. As communicators, it will be incumbent on us to use technology to keep a sense of community amongst employees for whom human contact is key and a part of their reason for working in social environments in the first place.

On a similar theme, I’ve just worked on a web based delivery of an event that we would normally deliver face to face all over the UK, in a six week period. On a 45 minute session, we reached the same number of people and gained great feedback including ‘digital is the way forward.’ Blending the use of technology with personality and a sense of connection can go some way to recreating the ‘in person’ feeling and will become the norm for many organisations going forwards."

David Boardman, MyCSP

    

"This is a step change development for lots of organisations. The technological leap has been significant particularly I imagine for later career stage employees. It would be great to learn from employers who are considering how to get the best out of their employees under these changed circumstances.

Carolyn Esser, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

   

     

   

Blurred lines

    

  

    

"Remote working and the challenges that creates around employee engagement is giving internal communications a deserved place at the table. It can still be perceived by some as the poor relation of media relations, external comms, IR, etc but now provides the essential corporate equivalent of the NHS through its support of the EVP. A long underfunded function that is now more essential than ever."

Kristina Blissett, Coats

    

"This gives internal communicators a chance to show their worth, be creative and encouraging leadership to really own engagement - you can’t care and motivate your people from the sidelines."

Jennifer Thomas, Communications director

     

    

    

"It highlights the artificial divide between external and internal communications. The walls between the two have always been permeable. When I was growing up the easiest way to find out what was happening was go to the local pub and listening to people chatting. The walls all but disappeared with social media. The move to working at home means that it becomes nigh on impossible for organisations to main absolute secrecy on all except the most confidential things."

Stuart Bruce, Independent management consultant

          

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