Business Productivity Post Covid-19:

Working from the office seems such a long time ago. In those good old days, life was so simple! You went to the company premises you worked for. Then,  you spent the duration of your working hours there. Yet that concept is fast becoming a thing of yester-world in the wake of the pandemic. People no longer are looking at familiarity, routine and the security it afforded them as the way forward. So, what does this mean for business productivity post Covid-19?

As we have seen time and again during the pandemic, the answer seems to lie in a business’s ability to adapt to change. Much has been said about the different ways in which Millennials view the world. But, the pandemic has offered an insight into how the generation’s views and capability might shape it in the not too distant future.

How Millennials are shaping the workplace

It has long been apparent that Millennials want very different things from the workplace. And that was always going to be inevitable for the first completely “digital native’ inhabitants of the world. For those of you unfamiliar with Prensky’s work, those born before the turn of the century are ‘digital immigrants.’ Crudely put, we were around before the internet had conquered the world, and when mail took far longer to arrive than the click of a button.  

Our younger generations have been brought up around the immediacy and mass availability of information the internet has allowed. So, it is inevitable that they will have different values and expectations of their employers. It is also inevitable that they will also then naturally gravitate towards those businesses that they perceive as sharing their values – namely, a better work/life balance and, above all else, flexibility.

The enduring effects of Covid-19 on the workplace

Millennials are blessed with knowing far more about well-being than their predecessors. So, it’s little wonder that the trend has been accentuated for Generation Z’s (Millennial predecessors). Flexibility, the ability to work from home, the chance to balance work with family commitments… The old days of Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 are disappearing fast. 

But far from that being a problem, could this be a ‘win-win’ situation? Can increased flexibility lead to increased business productivity post Covid-19? Are we really more productive at home than we are in the traditional office? 

While some companies might be dubious at a perceived loss of control, the pandemic has made this question relevant across the globe. And, believe it or not, the early indications are that the answer could well be ‘yes.’

Possible benefits of home-working that could boost business productivity post Covid-19
  • For employers, flexible working opens up the talent pool on an unprecedented scale. It effectively allows them to employ, or work with, the best people, irrespective of geography.
  •  Flexible working also allows companies to employ people who simply might not be able to get into a traditional office, for example, by reason of caring responsibilities or disability.
  • It allows people to work hours that suit them. We all know people who are ‘not morning people.’ Equally, we all know those who love to work into the night. People’s ‘prime-time’ of the day differs. So, flexible working could well see a surge in quality time applied to work.
Take away! (and sadly, not the edible kind!)

It is hard to see the trend towards flexible working ending any time soon. Companies who may have initially had concerns about the practicalities of working from home have had to overcome the obstacles to survive lockdown. So, while most employers will unquestionably want staff back in the workplace, they would be wise to accept employees’ needs for flexibility. Businesses too may well need to look out for flexible working becoming just as important in recruitment as the remuneration package itself. 

Millennials and Generation Z value companies that trust them, and whom they deem as being socially responsible. And, as a recent Canada Life survey found that 77% of UK employees thought flexible working made them more productive: it is a statistic employers may not be able to ignore.

As always, if you have any concerns around your business financial planning, do get in touch! We’d be happy to see how we can help!

 

Written by Steve Burns

Steve is a chartered financial planner who has been with Lewis Brownlee for over 20 years, who now heads up Lewis Brownlee Financial Services. Under his directorship, the firm has established itself as a specialist provider of professional, informed and impartial advice.

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