In the latest of our ‘Agents of Change’ series in which we ask business leaders and pioneers to share their thoughts with us about driving sustainable success in a changed world, we were joined by Philip Ross, founder and CEO of UnGroup and Cordless Group. Focusing on people and behaviours, Philip is a futurist, author and advisor, specializing in predicting the impact of emerging technology on the way we will work, shop, consume, take part in leisure activities and live.
In this video, Philip examines the reason why, during the pandemic, many people were happy working away from the office and why today, post lockdown, they have no desire to return to working five days per week from an office, according to surveys globally.
Is this for reasons of convenience? Or cost reduction? Or is it because the workplace was not well suited or aligned to today’s way of working?
The pandemic has provided organizations with an opportunity to redefine what the world of work means to people, the cadence of work, and the way the workplace should be reimagined to accommodate that new world of work. With most technology platforms now being cloud enabled, as opposed to office based, allowing employees to work from anywhere, productivity actually increased in lockdown. Consequently, employers need to look instead at the drivers for employees to come into the office and what constitutes a great day at work.
Philip believes this comes down partly to technology that helps provision work to ensure that, when teams need to collaborate, they do so face-to-face and that social events etc are flagged via appropriate apps. But in addition, in order to ‘earn’ the commute, employers need to reimagine their workplace to be a much richer environment and drive purpose and belonging. This could be by including, for example, an extended work day to include something that’s more than work, such as clubs, groups or societies, all of which can contribute to the provision of a great workplace experience. Is it possible for an employee to leave the workplace feeling healthier and more enriched than when they arrived at work for the day?
Philip’s vision for the future of work, as well as the future for cities which are now struggling with fewer visitors on a daily basis, was truly fascinating. To hear the full interview, watch here.
Note: Philip’s book, ‘Unworking: The Reinvention of the Modern Office’ will be published on 31st August 2022 in the UK and 26 Sept in the USA. Unworking offers a panoramic view of the development of the modern office over the past 100 years and presents a manifesto for ‘unworking’ – unlearning old habits and rituals established for an outdated office and creating new ones fit for an age of digital technology, design innovation and diverse workforces.