Three hats and flexible working

Flexible working…the basic questions

Paul Scully the Small Business Minister has four basic questions he needed answered:

What are the main advantages and challenges of moving to a four-day work week post-pandemic?

How are businesses going to ensure that remote working remains a viable option once people can return to offices?

How has Covid-19 impacted the ability for small businesses to offer job shares, part time roles and flexitime?

What can Government do to support SMEs in adopting flexible working policies?

Bringing the conversation to the table

So Anthony Impey CEO of Be the Business invited a small group of businesses to talk to Paul .

Thomas Jardines Jacqui Jackson was joined by Greg O’Brien AM Support Services, Matt CarrCarrs Pasties, Sarah Poynter Arden Engraving at Arden Dies and Engraving, and Tom Matthew Dunsters Farm.

So why three hats? (Thomas Jardine’s view)

For us, future working is all about flexible working, the four day working week and hybrid working.

Our three hats come from experiences closest to us.  Firstly flexible working in coworking space. Massively impacted by lockdown period of work form home and are now ready to embrace hybrid working to their advantage.

Secondly cafes, hospitality and small scale food production. Predominately all working part time , working very flexibly across seven days.  No need particularly for hybrid working but wherever hybrid working comes in they are using coworking space to work from rather than investing in expensive office space.

Thirdly larger scale manufacturing.  Working across five days of production where a four day working week would massively impact them.  Predominately full time, how do they reconcile a for day working week over a five day production period?

It’s complicated (business discussion)

Business has significant shortages in quite a lot of sectors and we need a workforce that can do things as well as be at home

So a four day working week needs to be part of seven days.  Discussion was around how complicated work is . How diverse business needs in the UK are. How people work, most people would choose to work Monday to Thursday or Tuesday to Friday , but what about the other days of the week?

Lack of skills (like drivers) means business are paying more for skilled workers.  So maybe a four day working week (with the pay of a five day week)  is a way of keeping costs the same and giving workers more time off.

Young people who really do value the time  at home with their family. As their families grow they would love a four day working week. So how do we get this to work in as many of our worlds as possible without creating a two tier system in a workforce that is already challenged?

Is now the time to embrace flexible working?

There is the argument that the ground isn’t firm yet, we are quite exhausted by all the change that’s gone on around us, why do we need to do this now? Can we wait a bit longer to see how the land will lie?  Or is this exactly the right opportunity because there’s been such change and let’s embrace this change fully.

As Thomas Jardine and Co we work with businesses facing change and understand that there is not one answer that fits all.  The best any of us can do is get the answer that works for ourselves. As The Guild we have created and are constantly adapting and improving a space that suits the hybrid working requirements of our incredible businesses and professionals.

Coworking and place

What is coworking , why is it so important for place?

The rise and potential fall of wework has made coworking something of a real estate buzz word.  Now real estate sees coworking  as the next fix replacing business hubs and maker spaces.  Large organisations like to associate themselves with the fluid creativity of the freelance entrepreneurs who skirt around the established businesses.  Cities and places want to build a reputation of forward thinking.  So they collaborate with large organisations and universities to build new hubs around the coworking tribes.  Coworking done right, is potentially a large part of the future of work in a place.  Because it is based on the happiness of the workers not the profitability of the real estate.

Changing face of work

The speed of change in the future of the type of work we do is staggering. McKinsey (2017)  estimate that 49 percent of the activities that people are paid to do in the global economy have the potential to be automated by adapting currently demonstrated technology.    Antony Slumbers predicts the fall of white collar workers will be as dramatic as the fall of agricultural labourers in the industrial revolution. This could make modern office blocks as redundant as water mills, steam engines and giant retail sheds.  The reason for this is that the workers who find a place in the new world order will be more valuable than the real estate left from the old world.

The GCUC 2019 conference highlighted that office space of the future will have to be designed to accommodate the businesses that are thriving rather than to benefit the landlords of a real estate of a different era.

Instants 4 pillars of workplace happiness

The Instant Group highlights the four pillars of workplace happiness as people, collaboration, flexible working and wellbeing.  All offices catering for businesses should be looking to meet these pillars.

The future face of coworking and place

The four pillars will be part of any design brief for coworking space.  The trick will be to balance these with the changing needs of the businesses within that space.  Dan Jackson at the Guild is doing just that.  Working with the wonderful guilders who inhabit this space he is co-designing a space for the future.  The Guild is all about people who are willing to collaborate with each other as and when the opportunity arises. Flexible working is part of the guilders life and we all have each others wellbeing at heart.

Coworking is not a new hippy trend for free lancers it is a state of being for the future of work.  If you want to know more give the Guild a shout.