When the pandemic forced the UK and other countries around the world into ‘lockdown’, working from home went from a choice to a necessity. With forced working from home, it has become clear that this short-term response to an immediate need might be here to stay. As employers and employees get first-hand experience of the benefits of home working at scale, this is fast becoming business-as-usual, and a return to work in the traditional sense seems unlikely for a lot of organisations.
Of the UK population mainly worked from home in 2015
Of the UK population mainly worked from home in 2019
As companies adjust to this new model for the workplace, we’re seeing the widespread uptake of technologies that facilitate virtual work and remote collaboration, including virtual desktops and cloud-based collaboration platforms. However, simply making these tools available to workers is no guarantee of success. Organisations must consider the human aspects of adapting current technology or deploying new platforms to ensure the cultural change that engenders adoption at scale. Without this, the potential benefits of productivity, efficiency, flexibility and collaboration will not be realised, and organisations may be forced to revert to traditional office-based ways of working.
Organisations need to embrace a holistic change programme to improve their chances of engendering meaningful cultural change and sustaining these shifts in the long term.
Accenture’s Digital Workplace Change Framework brings the core values of clarity, purpose and focus to a business transformation, to ensure a systematic and smooth approach to transitioning from one environment and the associated ways of working to another. The framework has been built to support the roll-out of technology across the digital workplace, to increase productivity and collaboration, facilitate virtual working and help mould the right culture and mindset to make it all work.
The framework focuses on six key pillars:
Builds a strong case for change by defining potential business benefits and the impact of the change at the functional, people and process levels.
Ensures programme leadership is aligned on a defined vision and minimises confusion through tailored, open and continuous communication.
Builds a network of people to drive top-down and bottom-up change, achieving buy-in across all levels and encouraging peer to peer learning.
4. Ways of working
Tailored training and tools that are self-service and interactive to encourage end user adoption and strengthen skills across the organisation.
Data driven insights to evaluate change program effectiveness, drive future improvements and inform decisions on required end user functionality.
The change framework aims for sustained change over time through a combination of several key elements.
Actions then & now
For many of the companies, the early weeks of the crisis were a steep learning curve. Many made do—providing new tools to their workers and hoping for the best as they scrambled to keep the lights on. With this immediate challenge over, the most forward-looking organisations have put plans in place to systematise workplace transformation and measure success. A sustained adoption programme will be integral to effective home working enablement that, more than just helping businesses survive, helps them unlock the true ROI and productivity benefits that come with remote working.
of employed adults were working from home in April 2020, according to the UK's Office for National Statistics.
COVID-19 has marked a turning point in the way organisations manage their workplaces, and for many it requires a programme of reinvention around how and where their people work. Those that consider culture and adoption, as well as technology, stand to make the most of these opportunities and thrive in the years ahead.