Embracing an office without borders

By Carla Hall, - Employee experienceFuture Workplace

Traditionally, the workplace has been constructed around boundaries. Outdated business efficiency models meant organizations created rigid divisions of labour and uncooperative departmental silos, with offices representing – and even aggravating – the lack of flexibility.

Prior to the pandemic, workforces were accustomed to the shackles of the 9 to 5. But for all its disruption, COVID-19 has opened many eyes to the possibilities of remote working – and people seem to like it. Since discovering the benefits of working from home, 76% of UK workers are interested in continuing it.

So much so, that a further 20% of people would be willing to take a salary cut to continue working this way – rising to 28% among workers under the age of 35. Ultimately, it seems flexible working is here to stay, with the conventional four walls of the office deemed surplus to requirements.

But what’s the alternative? Fujitsu’s Borderless Office offers a solution, defining the reality of future working as no longer a place we go, but a thing we do. By embracing an office without borders, the hope is teams can keep collaborating, without being constrained to a physical location.

In turn, this can unlock many doors for organizations to enjoy sustained success in the next normal.

The (many) benefits of a Borderless Office

First and foremost, the abovementioned statistic nods to the fact that people want flexible working. So, by simply listening and acting on their needs, you can take giant step forward in your efforts to retain your organization’s existing talent.

Doing so will also enable you to attract the best in new talent. In the process, it will also open up your workforce to parents, carers, women, ethnic minorities and any other marginalized group that often face physical, mental or emotional barriers into the workplace.

These barriers often result in underrepresented individuals being stuck in low-paid jobs or unable to work at all. But a Borderless Office removes these hurdles and empowers everybody to work in a way that suits them. In turn, catering for a seamless employee experience that inspires productivity and creativity.

But don’t just take my word for it. Recent reports suggest that 70% of diverse companies are better positioned to capture new markets and increase profitability. Part of this success stems from the fact that diverse teams are not only more creative but also because 87% of inclusive workforces are better at making decisions.

By listening to your people, you can also ensure the sustainability of your workforce – which simply means improving their ability to operate at a consistent rate or level. But sustainability also serves another purpose, when we look at the benefits it can bring to our planet.

A key focus for many organizations has rightly been to reduce their carbon footprint. By cutting out unnecessary travel and conserving the energy output of offices, our planet can enjoy some much needed breathing space.

The challenges of a Borderless Office

So, the benefits of an office without borders are clear. But arriving there won’t be without its challenges. For example, 76% of people wish to continue working remotely, but what about the remaining 24%?

For many, the office is a sanctuary – a place to escape, socialize and be productive – so the comfort of a physical workspace must remain, to allow for hybrid working in the next normal. Another challenge is that of onboarding: how do you bring new starters into the organization and encourage them to embrace its culture when they’re working at home?

Perhaps the biggest challenge, however, is collaboration. In the office, you could easily swivel on your chair and ask your colleague a question. Or grab an empty meeting room for a quickfire brainstorm at the drop of a hat. Doing the same now requires a lot more process – but that’s not to say it’s impossible.

The solution: people – enabled by technology

In large, technology is to thank for the continued success of most organizations. But above all, people must be willing to embrace change and new ways of working, which begins with an organization’s culture.

People are – and will continue to be – at the heart of your business. So, to advance the journey to a Borderless Office, your company culture must be flexible and able to adapt to the changing world. One of the most sure-fire ways to achieve this is to instil a purpose-driven culture.

This is the why behind the actions your organization takes, every day. Or rather, the meaning behind the work and the reason your business exists, besides to make money. By promoting purpose, you can take giant strides to inspiring your employees and enhancing engagement.

Communication is central to this and collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams, Miro and Fujitsu’s Virtual Collaboration are keeping us connected and sparking creativity. Citrix Workspace is also improving the employee experience by ensuring they’ll always have fast, easy access to the relevant resources.

But it’s also imperative for business leaders to upskill and enrol in the necessary training, to understand how to manage virtual teams and empower employees to do their best work – anywhere, anyhow.

To help you do so, Fujitsu has made it easier for organizations to prioritize the safety and wellbeing of workforces, with anxiety monitoring, social distancing and proximity detection solutions to help teams perform at their peak for customers.

In relation to onboarding, we’ve also seen a rise in Virtual Assistants. Of course, we all remember Microsoft’s lovable Clippy. Fortunately, Virtual Assistants have come a long way since and can help new starters to seamlessly find their feet – and all of the necessary tools and information to navigate an organization.

So, it seems technology is lighting the way on our journey to a Borderless Office. But with this surge in connectivity comes an increasing wave of security threats, which has only intensified as a result of COVID-19.

Shoring up your security gives you and your employees peace of mind, so you can focus on the day-to-day running of your organization. To help you do so, Fujitsu can simplify your security solutions with its broad, integrated offering that secures all applications, desktops and Microsoft 365.

Join us on our journey to an office without borders

In this next normal, embracing a borderless office will be central to enjoying sustained success. If technology is lighting the way, we’re here to guide you along every step, on your journey to an office without borders and a world without limits.

Find out more about the Borderless Office and FUJITSU Work Life Shift and let us help you create a completely new reality for your people.

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