What are they thinking? Inside the mind of business leaders today

Business leaders have more than the immediate coronavirus crisis to contend with - they're wrestling with wider workplace change. Condeco’s new report, The Modern Workplace, suggests some of their priorities

Business leaders right now are not just focused on the current challenges of social distancing and staff safety in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic. They’re also tuned into the bigger picture of navigating workplace change, as Covid-19 accelerates emerging trends that were already coming over the horizon, and finding innovative ways to climb out of the deep business recession that is set to follow.

It is useful, therefore, to get an insight into what business leaders around the world are thinking in relation to the changing landscape of work and what is shaping that mindset.

Remote working on rise

A new survey from Condeco, The Modern Workplace Report 2020, provides some useful pointers. One thousand business leaders from seven countries were polled for its report and nearly two-thirds of them expect more remote working in the next year. That figure rises to 70 per cent if you extend the horizon to three years.

Remote working, then, is high on the leadership agenda, especially as it provides an opportunity to also address rising concerns around carbon reduction by organisations. But before we herald a new dawn of flexibility, remember that one in ten companies are still not offering either flexi-time or remote working to their employees, according to the report.

Another big shift in the workplace is the growing focus on employee experience. In the survey, this ranks among the top three challenges for business leaders alongside talent retention and technology adoption. More companies are aware of how the workplace communicates culture, and they’re taking steps to add features that make their people feel valued and trusted.

Return on investment

One would have expected business leaders to fret about productivity and return on investment (ROI). Like death and taxes, this is one of the few certainties in the topsy-turvy world of work – rising office space costs are always a worry. Less predictable was the sentiment expressed in the Condeco survey that cutting back on breakout, social and collaborations spaces would be a false economy.

The consensus among business leaders seems to be that organisations need a richer mix of spaces to succeed no matter how difficult that is to achieve. They also need to do more to measure ROI – and technology could help do this.

Technology integration

Generally, more than 70 per cent of those polled believed that workplace technology has ‘significantly improved’ productivity in recent years – a better score than workplace design. Technology integration is also important to improve experience.

As businesses also lean towards greater use of coworking spaces, wider adoption of video conferencing and a newfound interest in a four-day week, this Condeco report leaves us with the impression that the momentum of change is being driven by forces that are deeper and broader than ever before.

Whether business leaders will follow through with decisive action on some of the things flagged up in the survey is an open question. But at least we’ve got a sense of leadership priorities for the rocky road ahead.

Download The Modern Workplace report here
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