The future of work isn't just about automation, technology and the how job processes will change; it also encompasses the way we work, including our surrounding environment. This has gone beyond simply offering flexible working. It is evolving into adopting an agile approach – not just using new tools but changing mindsets – towards company working practices, offices, attitudes, and work cultures. From millennials to baby boomers, agile working is re-sculpting the future of work and is important as organisations seek to attract and retain talent.
From millennials to baby boomers, agile working is re-sculpting offices, attitudes, and work cultures.
"It is evolving into adopting an agile approach – not just using new tools but changing mindsets – towards company working practices, offices, attitudes, and work cultures."
International comparisonsAcross the EU and US, the legal right to flexible working arrangements has been introduced. In June 2014, the right to request flexible working to employees with a minimum of 26 weeks' service was introduced by the UK government. A core component of flexible working is the use of Telework/ICT-mobile work (T/ICTM), and allows workers to be supported by the internet. It can be carried out from almost any location where access is possible, and crucially at any time. A recent joint report from Eurofound and the International Labour Organization (ILO) found that across the EU28, an average of 17% of employees are engaged in T/ICTM.
Why should organisations consider moving to flexi-working?Flexible working can be applied to any organisation, as the advantages it brings both the company and workforce are mutually beneficial. Working from home means employees report a reduction in commuting time and improved 'work-life balance', having additional benefits on motivation and productivity. Similarly employers gain tangible economic benefits such as saving office space and lowering carbon emissions of buildings. Some argue it could be a disadvantage though, as 'work–home interference' creates an overlap between paid work and personal life. This is where company culture and organised processes can enhance the advantages of flexible working, and move organisations from simply offering flexible working, to forming fully agile attitudes.
From flexible to agileConnectivity is a vital aspect of agile working. To work remotely and efficiently outside the traditional office, employees require connectivity of access and technology. This goes beyond just laptops and mobile devices, and is about embracing new collaborative tools, including video call meetings and shared virtual workspaces such as SharePoint- essentially changing the way we work and mindsets.
|To manage agile working successfully, Amanda Rajkumar argues:|
"Line managers should lead by example, and encourage their staff to work in an agile mode, depending on both stakeholders needs. Flexibility of work environment, space and tools can benefit businesses, teams and individuals if effectively managed. However, good organisational structures are needed to accomplish agile working, as appropriate cover is required in teams, as well as trust between employees and managers. Transparency is central to ensuring both company culture and trust is maintained".
Amanda Rajkumar, Head of HR for Global Markets and Financial Institutions Coverage at BNP Paribas
|Joe Squires says the role of technology is equally important for agile working to be implemented in the banking industry: |
"Agile working requires us all to be open-minded. How can we support employees to be efficient and excel in their work by changing the context of a fixed platform or office location? Digital tools will allow employees to stay connected while on the road, to access everything they need for a client meeting from an app. I believe that agile working can improve productivity and employee engagement".
Joe Squires, Head of Institutional G10 rates Sales Europe at BNP Paribas