“And, just as the first world war challenged outdated notions about the work that could be done by women, Covid-19 is busting myths in financial services — from the trading floor to the boardroom — about the ability of employees to work productively and effectively from home.” Jenny Grey writing for the Financial News. Jenny is Managing Director, Head of Human Resources at Citigroup for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Similarly, global leading organisations including Barclays, UBS, Mondelez and even prolific call centre and outsourcer Capita have all made public statements questioning the composition, geographical requirements and utilisation of their real estate portfolios and offices worldwide.
As lockdown eases at different rates and stages across the globe we will have an opportunity to learn from different companies and sectors as we in the UK start to plan towards the future workplace. For example, already this past month, commercial real estate company Cushman & Wakefield has helped 10,000 organisations in China move nearly 1 million people back to work after the country reopened its economy after the pandemic. This has involved consultancy and innovation across design, sanitation, technology and sustainability and still only sees around 30% of the workforce ‘able to return’.
In addition to these lessons globally, there are many businesses in manufacturing, engineering, retail, and logistics that have adapted and continued their operations during the crisis.
Amazon is an organisation that has not only adapted to continue to operate, but has innovated, invested in technology and colleague safety, and grown throughout lockdown to a level of demand higher than Christmas.
How will other businesses in Scotland and across the UK react? From global financial services giants to emerging fintech firms, Scottish-based financial and related professional services employ over 160,000 people. The vast majority of these employees are now successfully working from home following the almost overnight transformation from office to home working at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. As well as this monumental shift to home working, financial services businesses have had to create safe environments for essential employees working in branches and contact centres.
With this in mind, on Thursday 11 June, FWB Park Brown is hosting a webinar for fellow SFE members on the future of the workplace with three leading figures from Lloyds Banking Group, Cushman & Wakefield and Amazon offering first-hand experience of working through lockdown and how businesses are preparing for the “new normal”.
The discussion will cover several key considerations regarding the future workplace including innovation and technology, culture and employee well-being, facilities management, real estate portfolio and workspace utilisation drawing on the range of experience from the following guest speakers:
- Philip Grant, SFE Chair and Chair of Lloyds Banking Group Scottish Executive Committee, will speak from a financial services perspective on the challenges he has faced over the past ten weeks, moving a significant number of staff to a home working environment and the plans LBG have to ensure their office spaces are safely fit for purpose as the appetite for returning the office builds.
- Nicola Gillen, Head of Total Workplace, EMEA at Cushman & Wakefield, is an architect by background, and is widely recognised within the industry as a leading authority on advancing workplace strategies, innovation, design and change management. Nicola is also the lead author on the RIBA published book “Future Office”.
- Graham Allison, General Manager for Amazon in Scotland, manages Amazons fulfilment operations in Scotland with thousands of employees and a large degree of complexity. We are delighted to have Graham with us to share insight from a business that has not only kept running during lockdown, but grown, invested and innovated their health and safety, employee well-being and technical operations to adapt to life during and for after covid-19.
Since the start of lockdown FWB Park Brown has set up and facilitated a series of online forums for leaders of companies and organisations providing an opportunity to connect, share experiences and find solutions together. Twelve weeks in and counting, our forums have connected in excess of 700 businesses and 1,000 business leaders at Chair, NED, CEO as well as most of the executive functions, including finance, human resources, IT and information, and operations and we are delighted to have been asked by SFE to partner with them in chairing this event.
The Future of the Workplace webinar with SFE and FWB Park Brown is on Thursday 11 June, 3pm. All SFE members are welcome. To join us please click here.