As we reach the end of another year and a fresh start beckons, it’s important to take stock of all we’ve learned and make key decisions on how to make the next year bigger and better. Staff and business owners alike will be thinking about how they will be more successful in the office and put in their wishes for the New Year, making for some office New Years’ resolutions, so to speak.
The world of business has changed significantly over the past few years and you can see this from the wishes and resolutions of workers and business owners. Thanks to technological innovation and changing progressive attitudes in society, hot-desking, smarter working, and a greater emphasis on employer welfare are all firmly on the 2017 wish list. Here are the top resolutions, wishes, and plans I think will be made by businesses and employees this festive period.
To be more technologically savvy
Modern employees today expect excellent broadband connections and to be able to connect at all times of the day. WiFi, 4G, cloud platforms and conference call technology has meant that staff can stay in touch with their team throughout the working week, particularly if they’re working outside the office during the festive season. Conference call and web technology, which utilise VoIP or traditional landlines make it possible to talk to any member of the team regardless of where they are in the world.
And technology is what they want. From our recent #WorkWish competition, we found that 42 per cent of respondents want new technology for Christmas – and now our winners have it in time for the holidays seasons when they require that flexibility. But it highlights how employers still need to bridge the gap.
Some web chat applications, such as iMeet, allow you to share your computer screen, instant message, take part in live chats and invite large numbers of colleagues to join important meetings. This eliminates the need to arrange face-to-face meetings that tend to be costly and take time away from staff spending time with their families around Christmas and New Year; which is never a good motivator for new beginnings when January comes about.
While the Chancellor’s pledge in the Autumn Statement to create a dedicated productivity investment fund to develop the UK’s digital infrastructure is a step in the right direction, I maintain that he should have started by helping the areas of the UK that are still struggling to achieve a basic web connection.
To slim down on square foot
Top of the wish list for many employees this coming year will be flexible working. The last few years have seen a rise in the number of companies offering smarter working initiatives and a more fluid way of conducting business. This will only continue to grow and mean businesses can utilise and make the most of the space they already have. Employees can have their work wish granted and work from anywhere, move around the office hot-desking, and still communicate with their colleagues and clients at any time.
In the new year and beyond, the traditional office will likely become a thing of the past. Start-ups in particular are opting to hire out space as and when it is needed instead of having one dedicated office. Co-working spaces, such as The Office Group and We Work, are the change in how people work; variety and ad-hoc office space will become the norm. Not only will this reduce overhead costs for companies, it will also support the rise in smarter, flexible working.
To attract top talent to the business
The most productive and revenue generating offices of 2017 and beyond will have tech savvy staff, well versed in the latest technological improvements for business. Innovation has changed how prospective employees interact with employers. Gone are the days when the top graduates would place a graduate scheme at the top of their wish list to Father Christmas.
Established businesses face competition from start-ups that offer modern working environments where flexible working is a given, not a request. It has never been more important for employees to meet the wishes of potential candidates. They risk losing out on top talent if they don’t adapt their business models to include flexible working. Our own research found that over half (55 per cent) of people believe flexible working is crucial when thinking about accepting a new position.
To be more efficient and productive
Also high on the wish list for staff this year will be 24/7 access to the company intranet at all times so they can work on the go and minimise wasted time. As such, the familiar company intranet will be moved completely to the cloud in the coming years. Employees will no longer need to be chained to a desktop computer in the office to access client documents and internal expense forms. This means they’ll be able to concentrate on the task at hand without the need to take time out of their day to interrupt other colleagues or partners.
Moving all processes online will also help drive the productivity of the sales team. Having everything online in the reach of a few clicks will create well-defined internal processes for project sign-offs. This will make it more efficient to get quotes out to new customers in a short time frame, increasing the bottom line and making your Sales Director’s Christmas come early.
The world of business is changing forever. These resolutions - if kept to of course - could help ensure you retain the best talent and don’t get left behind in these technological times. Implementing flexible working, becoming more streamlined and increasing overall productivity will all ensure that your business gets off to the best start in 2017.