The role of HR in reimagining the future office
In the UK, the typical in-office week has narrowed from Tuesday to Thursday
Head to many office districts across Europe on a Friday and you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d strayed into something of a ‘ghost town’.
As daily office attendance ceases to be a requirement and flexible working becomes increasingly enshrined into working contracts, the way we interact with the office has shifted. In the UK, the typical in-office week has narrowed from Tuesday to Thursday as employees increasingly ask: why do I go to the office, and what do I get from it? It’s a similar story throughout the continent, with over 50% of workers in countries such as Sweden, Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands working remotely at least some of the time.
In fact, new Gartner research finds that 60% of HR leaders report that employees see no compelling reason to come into the workplace.
It's a challenge that HR teams are striving to tackle as they seek to reinforce company culture and create a great place to work for their employees. Ultimately, to incentivise attendance and reap the benefits of a hybrid workforce, businesses need to offer more than desks and computers. HR leaders must rethink the office space to ensure that their employees are happy and engaged, supporting them to do their best work and retaining top talent.
So, as governments across Europe consider legislation cementing the right to flexible work, how can people managers understand new office requirements and facilitate a seamless, collaborative office experience?
Why people come to the office
Firstly, it’s essential that HR leaders understand that the role of the office has shifted. It’s no longer a general space which hosts a workforce but is somewhere employees go to fulfil a specific purpose. From a meeting hub that allows people to come together to inspire creativity and collaboration, the office is a place for social connection and sharing learnings with colleagues. In fact, our research finds that72% of employeesenjoy learning from others in person.
For HR teams, there are also the needs of a diverse workforce to consider. Gartner found that many Gen Z workers lack core social skills after years of online learning and work during the pandemic. Beyond this, many from the wider workforce are also struggling with the new balance of post-pandemic working. The office is a vital space for redefining professionalism and giving people the tools to thrive amidst evolved ways of working.
At a time when the battle for talent continues to be hotly contested, the role of the office as a facilitator and flag bearer for company culture, people strategy, and business purpose is more important than ever. But this is only possible when businesses create tech-enabled
Creating a space and culture to last
HR should work together with IT and facilities to drive the reconfiguration of spaces
Head of Product, RDx