Trying to look on the bright side

There used to be an old saying in business that your most valuable assets walked out of the door at 5pm every day.


It’s long been recognised that talented staff are at the heart of every successful company. And that’s still the case, even though they might not walk in at 9am and leave at 5pm anymore. In fact, we’re hearing from our members that some staff have joined a company and left it some months later without ever having actually gone into the office at all.


Managers did brilliantly in the early days, quickly re-organising operational matters to keep things afloat. Productivity remained good and for a while things were fine. But as time has passed our members are starting to talk about people showing signs of weariness, probably as much emotional as physical. And there’s a feeling of something akin to sadness that the essential human contact part of work, the fun bit if you will, has been lost.


That’s one of the reasons that people are working out ways of bringing back the joy of work. It might be arranging social events for everyone or maybe just for separate teams – anything that will bring us back to real contact rather than via a computer screen.


At the same time, what seemed so ordinary not so long ago is now much more complicated. Who can work from home, who has to be in the office and who would benefit from being in the office ? How does a business cope if the opinion of the individual differs from their manager ? All good questions and no easy answers.


Then there’s the vexed question about who has been vaccinated and who hasn’t ? There’s no clear Government guideline to follow and so HR teams have a minefield to navigate if some people want to know, whilst others don’t want to say.


What is becoming clear is that most businesses are still keeping their options open when it comes to things like office premises. They are not assuming they’ll need smaller buildings even though they don’t expect all their staff to be in the office all day every day.


But I have a feeling there could be a resurgence in the serviced office sector as businesses consider using outside facilities to hold set piece meetings rather than hold them in house.


Talk about moving the goal posts. Our businesses are struggling to know what shape the ball is, not to mention the size and shape of the pitch. But our people are creative and adaptive, and I suspect both those qualities will be in great demand for quite a few months to come.

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