Adapting to employees' expectations for business success

We’ve never known such a seismic shift in the world of work as the one we have experienced in the last three years. For a long time, analysts predicted a slow evolution away from the 9-5, towards more flexible working patterns. But then the pandemic happened, and the evolution became a revolution.

Suddenly, we all became hybrid workers, reliant on the laptop and virtual calls. We stayed in our pyjama bottoms and got used to important meetings being interrupted by curious cats and demanding children. Working life was transformed.

It may have been an enforced change but for many employees it was a welcome one. More flexibility means a better work-life balance. There are no more wasteful, frustrating hours on the daily commute, and we now spend more time with our families or housemates, reconnecting with people and pastimes.

Hybrid working is now a normal part of many people’s working lives. People have come to expect and demand a certain degree of flexibility in their working conditions, and many are now making it a condition of their employment. In today’s culture, it’s no longer just about getting the job done, there is a great emphasis placed on supporting staff wellbeing too.

There’s no question that the new world of work is here to stay. So, what lessons can employers take from the changing landscape and how can they ensure they have the right practices in place to benefit from it?

1. Employers must be as adaptable as their employees

Businesses must be flexible if they want to retain their talent. 80% of businesses say that supporting flexible working hours is increasingly important for the recruitment and retention of staff.² Indeed, it’s now becoming the default, and millions of British workers will soon have the right to demand flexible working on day one of their employment. Employees are set to have more influence than ever over when, where and how they work.

2. Less time in the office can lead to higher productivity

It’s not just employees who benefit from hybrid working. Many businesses have found that this new way of working actually works better. More are now reporting increased productivity benefits from homeworking and 63% of employers surveyed say that they plan to introduce or accelerate the adoption of hybrid working.¹

3. Make plans to reduce overheads

One of the most effective ways to reduce overheads is to embrace hybrid working. With fewer people in the office at any one time and hotdesking becoming more common, there are cost savings to be made. Virtual meetings mean less time and money spent travelling to meetings, enabling you to invest your savings in other things like employee training, team building activities or new technology to ensure your business continues to thrive.

4. Check your tech

It’s easy to forget that if the pandemic had happened twenty years ago, none of this would have been possible. Hybrid working has only been possible because of technology, with domestic broadband, virtual meeting programs, collaboration tools and technologies becoming the great enablers. It’s made us all more agile and 73% of businesses are pleased with the greater flexibility of working that technology has created.¹

The new way of working has forced every business to examine its IT and put in place the technologies that facilitate flexible working. High-speed connectivity is no longer a luxury, it’s central to the way your business operates. However, the flipside is that valuable data is now less secure. It’s vital that businesses understand where their data is vulnerable and take steps to protect it.

How Vodafone is adapting its working practices for the future

As the pandemic struck, our employees were faced with a choice: stay at home or work from home. We adapted quickly with 95% of our employees working remotely, utilising digital tools and technology. This enabled us to provide uninterrupted services and support to our customers without compromising our employees' safety. As a result, Vodafone ensured society remained connected when it mattered most.

We’ve always been committed to our employees' health and safety, and we remain so today. What began as an experiment in a time of crisis is now an accepted method of working. Despite some challenging months for us all, we now have the opportunity to change the way we work.

The openness of our employees to adopt modern practices, to experiment and to learn has been a tremendous source of pride for us and working together will further define and shape a Future Ready Vodafone.

Vodafone can help businesses adapt the way they work with best-in-class communication, IT and business solutions that support new ways of working and scale with your business.

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