Key learnings from a year in review

As we reflect on one year of remote working, many of the findings we uncovered in our Business Transformation Index 2021 have a particular resonance. The recently launched National Remote Work Strategy represented a clear signal of intent from the government to empower employees who wish to continue working remotely in the long-term. This means, after a year-long work from home test-run, remote working arrangements look set to feature prominently on the roadmap ahead for enterprises and staff. Expleo’s far-reaching survey resoundingly supports the viability of this future roadmap.

Productivity

Specifically, our research findings illustrate how worker productivity has endured and even improved, in the remote working era. A combined 89% of respondents said productivity had improved or stayed the same while working from home, with 52% noting improved productivity, and 37% claiming productivity levels consistent with pre-pandemic conditions. Only 11% of respondents said productivity had been negatively impacted by remote working.

As refinements are made to work from home policies in the near and long term, it is crucial that every effort is made to reward and recognize worker productivity. In addition to actively monitoring staff morale, businesses should consider workday restructuring, and the use of new collaborative tools to replicate the vibrancy of an office environment. Taking staff feedback on board and establishing progressive initiatives around wellness will also go a long way towards empowering workers.

Expleo has been championing employee wellness by hosting weekly yoga and HIIT classes, weekly educational webinars with experts on mental and physical health, and an employee favorite – the ‘Working Wellness Packs’ that were sent out just in time for winter, containing an Expleo jumper, woolly hat, high-vis vest, a torch, and some other goodies to encourage everyone to get outside, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

Office space

Last September, Google’s decision to abandon plans to lease new office space in Dublin started a conversation around the viability of sizeable long-term real estate commitments for enterprises. Recent research published by estate agent Savills shows that the take-up of new office space in Dublin fell almost 50% year-on-year. Additionally, HSBC recently announced plans to halve its global office space, with the bank’s CEO Noel Quinn noting how a hybrid model of working would be implemented. The above statistics illustrate how the pandemic has legitimized remote working in short order, and how major organizations with large numbers of employees are embracing remote working for the long term.

Looking ahead

COVID-19 has undoubtedly been a catalyst for change, and for many organizations, pandemic-induced change has been digital-led. We have seen an unprecedented acceleration of digital transformation initiatives among enterprises, with heightened investment in digital infrastructure and services designed to future-proof operations and enable seamless remote working arrangements.

As the workplace landscape continues to evolve, bringing together the ingenuity and creativity of staff (albeit remotely in some cases) with innovative new tools will be a significant driver of business growth. Companies that leverage the latest innovations in automation, machine learning, and Artificial Intelligence will be in pole position to thrive post-pandemic, and our research suggests that decisive action is being taken on these fronts. Our survey projects a pronounced spike in the level of spending across these areas post-COVID, with 80% of business and IT leaders planning to increase investment in digital transformation in general. At Expleo, we look forward to playing an active role in helping companies navigate this exciting period of digital-led growth and innovation.

This blog post appeared on Expleo.com first here. 

For a full overview of the Business Transformation Index survey results and our expert analysis, download the report here.  

Phil Codd, Managing Director, Expleo Ireland and Regional Director, Expleo UK and Ireland

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