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Board level dynamics are changing – here’s how

At the beginning of April we hosted a Twitter chat #O2FutureOfWork, focused on how employee needs and expectations have changed as a result of the pandemic. It included expert contributions from Ant Morse, O2’s Head of Digital Solutions, David Cornwell, O2’s Head of Solution Design, and Chris Early, Estates and Development Manager at Telefónica.


We timed our #O2FutureOfWork chat to coincide with the publication of O2’s new research report: Dynamic Working: A summary of insights into what drives employee productivity and growth – where we asked over 2000 employees from across the UK workforce about how their organisations had supported them over the past 12 months – and their readiness for the future. You can download and read the full report here.

One of the first questions we asked was

How has Covid changed the way organisations are approaching people, workspace, and technology?

O2’s own research revealed some contrasting insights – 69% of employees surveyed felt that their organisations had supported them during the pandemic, but also that more than a third thought that their organisations were not prepared for the future world of work.

So, what does the future of work look like? The chat on Twitter highlighted the remarkable opportunity that lies ahead for the way businesses work:

“Returning to work is an opportunity to design the FoW together with individuals & employ lessons learnt during the crisis #O2FutureOfWork”

Will Gosling – @WSGosling

 “The floodgates opened to #omniworking – work from anywhere-any time. The Industrial Age hit its expiration date. #Human-centric #regenerative #holistic ways of working are imperative. A more inclusive workforce is attainable. Progressive organisations that engage with people, establishing working patterns that best support real life AND business needs will thrive. Many will choose fluid, creative arrangements and spaces.“

Donna Nelham – @donna_and_and

“Flexible working has the potential to totally transform inclusivity in the workforce, those who for whatever reason may have been excluded from the physical workplace, be that family commitments, health or mental wellbeing now have the option to work in ways that can suit them”

John Aloy – @johnaloy

It was inevitable that the Twitter chat provoked a lot of debate that focused on the safe return to the workplace – how necessary is it, and what needs to be in place to achieve it? We posed the question

How can intelligent workplace solutions help provide a safe return to the office by bringing technology-driven experiences?

“Some employees intend to return to the office. No doubt. Others will want a clear divide and balance between office and #homework and access to the right tools and techniques to be productive and effective. This requires #tech for sure. #O2FutureOfWork”

Sabine VanderLinden – @SabineVdL

“3 areas smart tech helps:
Safety: informs of health risks (air quality sensors) & reduces germ spread (contactless)
Wellbeing: Visualising data & reduced friction makes us feel taken care of
Connectivity: Enables #WFA so we can manage office density”

Caleb Parker – @Caleb_Parker

It’s important to remember that not everyone has a job that it’s possible to do from home. In any case, we recognise that remote working does not suit everyone, and that businesses will need to offer considerable flexibility to hire and retain the best talent.

At the same time, it can seem as though views are polarised between those who believe that workers must be on site and those who advocate the work from everywhere approach. For example, O2’s research uncovered seven types of employee, each with their own preferences and priorities. They included the Office Cravers, who can’t wait to be back in the office, but also the Home Dwellers, who are now ‘fully converted to home working’.

So we asked:

We have a large push and pull scenario between centralised workers and decentralised workers. “Must be On-site” vs. “Work from Everywhere.” How does that play into the future of the workplace? How does it shift the role of HR and IT?

“The best cultures are ones where people feel taken care of. But everyone is different. HR, IT & CRE are now working together to ensure each person has the tools & environment they need to succeed, whether in the office, at home, or near home.”

Caleb Parker – @Caleb_Parker

“@Gartner research from a while ago on #CFO study reveals that 74% of those CFOs intend to shift some of their employees to remote work permanently. #O2FutureOfWork”

Sabine VanderLinden – @SabineVdL

“The role of HR, FM and ICT is to come together, and work on building the “success platform for daily success at work”, which every employee should have a right to. To succeed at what they do, every day. Job roles and mobility profile will always be different, and this will not change. What CAN change is the mindset that there should be a “one-size-fits-all” success platform for all teams and individuals and job roles.”

Pontus Kihlman – @Rapal_Oy

You can review highlights from the chat feed, and contribute yourself, here.

We are planning more topical Twitter chats over the coming months. To join in the next one, follow O2 Business UK – @o2businessuk.

And remember, April’s chat focused on O2’s new research report: Dynamic Working: A summary of insights into what drives employee productivity and growthYou can download and read the full report here

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