Home-working ban threat reignites flexible working debate

By Catherine Steele

Blog | March 9, 2019

By Chris Burke, HybridHero CEO

Flexible working hit the headlines again last week amidst a raft of news reports citing BNYMellon’s decision to ban home working. The bank has reportedly since withdrawn, or at least postponed, its decision to stop 50,000 global staff from working remotely, but whatever the final outcome, it has brought the issue to the fore. Finding the right work-life balance is important for both employees and businesses, but it throws up different challenges depending on who you are. If you’re a parent juggling the school run and a full-time job, you want the option of working from home or coming in to the office late. The same goes if you’re a carer fitting in medical appointments around work commitments. Even if you’re simply a millennial worker who prefers to start work later to fit in gym visits, having the option to work flexibly and knowing you have a workspace from which to do this is important. New research by Brickendon Digital, found that 52% of office workers believe the option to work flexibly is the factor that would most improve their work-life balance. Interestingly, more female workers (58%) than male (47%) favoured the flexible working option.*

Failing to offer flexible working can be detrimental to businesses and individuals

For businesses, offering this balance is not always easy. Real-estate costs, and therefore desk space, is the second-biggest drain on funds after employee costs. As a result, having a desk in the office for someone who spends most of their time working from home is an unnecessary overhead – as much as GBP1.5m a year for the average London-based company. However, failing to offer flexible working to existing and potential employees can be detrimental to retaining and attracting the best staff.

Employees’ expectations are changing

As shown by the BNYMellon situation, the removal of the option to work flexibly prompted serious speculation from many employees that they would need to leave the company. In today’s highly competitive financial environment, keeping your best employees happy, and therefore with the company, has never been more important. As we ourselves have seen, moving jobs is no longer just about financial gain. It is becoming more and more about what work-life balance employers are offering and what flexibility is available. Employees are keen to ask, can I work from home and other flexible
working-related questions. They also have higher expectations of their working environment, wanting confirmation that they will have an appropriate place from which to work when they are in the office.

The key is to optimise space

So, how can businesses successfully address this balancing act? Brickendon Digital has recently launched HybridHero, a workplace optimisation tool that seeks to do just that. By managing desk usage, companies are able to optimise space, ensuring desk availability for those that require it, and eventually, through the generation of detailed analytics and management information, avoid overspending on empty desks. Since launching HybridHero, we’ve held discussions with clients all over the globe about optimising their real-estate in such a way that it enables businesses to reduce and retract their commitments on real-estate spend as required. This is achieved by supporting the current drivers around improving work-life balance, including removing the stress and anxiety associated with the age-old sagas of never finding a space to work, not being able to find a colleague, not being able to find a meeting room and never knowing where to go to report a workplace issue.

Addressing workplace utilisation

By enabling employees all over the globe to schedule their working days directly, an unprecedented sense of well-being and reassurance is achieved. Simultaneously, some fundamental business issues, such as workplace utilisation rates and employee satisfaction, are also addressed. Detailed and enriched MI and data reports show the business precisely how and where their real-estate is being utilised, how much money is being wasted on under-utilised space or and seeks to tackle the largest epidemic in the working environment, well-being. HybridHero opens up businesses to a raft of information highlighting details that could make a significant difference to the future of their business. Knowing that they are wasting large amounts of money on empty desks each year, will not only change the way companies invest but also enable substantial increases to the ROI. Add to that the benefits associated with improved employee well-being and better working environments, and HybridHero has the potential to significantly change businesses for the better.

Optimise your workspace, save money and improve employees’ well-being

Whether BNYMellon end up continuing to allow employees to work from home or choose to ban the concept totally remains to be seen, but there is no doubt that a flexible workforce is a happy one, and a happy workforce is more successful. To find out more about how HybridHero can help you optimise your workspace, save money and improve the overall wellbeing of your employees, sign up for a free trial today.


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