Talent Locker - Workplace Strategy

Workplace Strategy: Top 5 Industry Trends


James Saunders playing pool at Talent Locker


Author: James Saunders
Lead Recruitment Consultant, Workplace Consulting and Change Management


With 2020 already causing a crazy six months, what are the key trends for workplace strategy for the remainder of the year?

  • The global scrapheap of workplace talent
  • The importance of Occupancy Planners in the new normal
  • Will “Workplace Experience” be paused indefinitely?
  • Will the data collected from the “work from home” surveys generate genuine workplace change?
  • Is the “Return to Office” doomed to fail?


The global scrapheap of workplace talent

I created a document listing all workplace people who were made redundant at the start of March. There are currently over 100 names – a depressing statistic.

What can we take away from this?

  1. Companies that did not immediately turn to the standard “cut costs, cut staff” approach will have the cream of the crop for workplace talent on the market
  2. It can take up to 12 months to fill specialist and senior roles. In addition, companies may suffer costs for fees, lost time for interviews and selection of candidates, etc. Will the businesses that cut their staff be able to return to the market quick enough?


The importance of Occupancy Planners in the new normal

During the economic downturn in 2008, businesses were dependent on occupancy planners to help reduce their real estate portfolios, and identify where costs could be saved. Although we are hoping the economy will not be as badly affected as it was in the years following 2008, we are seeing businesses instructing their staff to work from home. Whilst this has not been for a financial motive, rather from a safety perspective, will firms finally realise the real estate value in home working after the pandemic is over?

Will “Workplace Experience” be paused indefinitely?

Pre March 2020 there was a huge interest in how to define and improve the experience for employees at work – but now no-one is in the office! From what we have seen with some clients, this interest has fallen off the previously top-level agenda as a result. Could this therefore be reversed?

Will the data collected from the “work from home” surveys generate genuine workplace change?

There have been very interesting reports from the likes of #Leesman and #MorganLovell involving the data around working from home and what employees really want. Will this be translated into real change, or just confined to the stats library?

Is the “Return to Office” doomed to fail?

Talent Locker - Hand Sanitiser at Work

We did see a fair bit of hype around “return to office” and “return to work”. Some businesses were offering this as a strategy for getting everyone back safely. Has this really been championed by business? From what we have seen, this was more of a flash in the pan idea. A couple of hand sanitizers, staggering staff start times, and some stickers on the floor managed to tick the boxes for being “Covid safe”. The most important message here that the workplace strategy industry can take insight from, is do we go back to normal? Is there good reason to? The world has proved that whilst offices provide a centre hub for employees, and can be helpful for staff collaboration, they are by no means essential.

If the government cannot even agree on the use of masks within the UK, the onus now is on business leaders to make sustainable change to their workplaces and real estate portfolios. With the right workplace strategy, you can have happy and engaged staff and a cheaper real estate bill. So act now – and give your employees the choice!

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