Intelligent CIO Europe Issue 54 - Page 39

TALKING

‘‘ business

At this stage in the game , any business leader with a sensible head on their shoulders now recognises that hybrid working is unavoidable – it ’ s what employees want and it ’ s what they ’ re going to get , even if it means resigning and heading elsewhere . Now though , companies have to figure out how to make it work . This means being able to accommodate employees ’ unique needs and preferences , as recent Cognizant research has shown that the new generation of workers values passion for the work they do ( 59 %) and a healthy work-life balance ( 53 %) over money ( 49 %) – so a simple salary increase isn ’ t going to make the cut .

That same research , though , also found a widening gap between what staff expect from employers and what businesses are actually delivering . But as older millennials reach their early 40s and GenZ join the job market , the career moves of these ‘ purpose-led ’ generations are becoming central to businesses ’ ongoing viability .
This compounded with the pandemic-induced evaluation of our life and career choices that many have encountered in recent months has led to what has now widely become known as ‘ the great resignation ’. The trend of employees handing in their notices in the masses is in itself an unusual one , but its consequences are perhaps more unexpected . We now live in a world in which the power is firmly in employees ’ hands . Never before have there been so many vacancies and as such , so many choices and opportunities for individuals – many of which are considered sought-after talent – to choose from .
Moving beyond water cooler moments
Of course the hybrid element of this new working world means the office still very much plays an important role for most businesses , even if the five-day a week commute is a thing of the past . And while many of us now value the ability to work from home regularly , whether its to spend more time with our families or simply get a lie in , fond memories of the office and the culture and sociability it can offer are quickly being evoked as more of us walk back through the doors .
This alone though isn ’ t enough . If businesses want employees back in the office on a regular basis , whether for one , two or more days a week , they are going to have to put some effort in to make it appealing . This means moving away from investments in office spaces with traditional banks of desks .
Employees don ’ t just want water cooler moments ; they want memorable ones and I ’ m sure we can all agree that fetching a glass of water in the middle of the day isn ’ t as exciting as it once sounded .
Businesses must strive to create collaborative environments and ones that span employees ’ work needs and personal preferences . Maybe it ’ s a gym or a roof terrace , but on a more strategic level , it might be about encouraging employees in on different days so they have the opportunity to meet and engage with a wider pool of colleagues . All of these kinds of initiatives will be crucial for reigniting the innovation that was lost during the pandemic , somewhere in a Zoom sound wave .
Changes must be made to make hybrid work
Alas , perhaps the biggest challenge for businesses moving forward will be the ability to get the virtual side of their working models right , and enabling the two halves of the hybrid world to merge seamlessly . To date , most are still familiar with the difficulty of speaking to a meeting room full of people , from home . Despite many businesses ’ best efforts to invest in more sophisticated meeting room technology , the fact is none have found a way to make it work . So , we need to move beyond offering simple video tools . This will see the likes of Slack and Zoom evolving to offer more sophisticated features ,
Rob Walker , . UK & I MD , Cognizant
The new generation of workers values passion for the work they do ( 59 %) and a healthy work-life balance ( 53 %) over money ( 49 %).
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