The sustainable workplace of the future – Part 1: Why IT is the enabler of work post-Covid-19

Date Published

02/02/2021

Reading time

3 mins read

Author

James Butler

Digital transformation was a core aim for many businesses going into 2020, but it’s unlikely that any IT leaders predicted the acceleration in digitalisation that the pandemic has brought about.

The changes of the last 12 months mean we are unlikely to ever return to offices in the same way as pre-pandemic.

But the good news for organisations is that this is also a chance to build something better in 2021 and beyond: a sustainable workplace. A sustainable workplace is environmentally friendly, resilient, and follows a digitally-driven operating model to keep the business relevant to customers and employees.

Built to respond to trends and to evolve, the sustainable workplace has four central pillars: employee wellbeing, sustainability, agile working, and collaboration. To explore the topic further, we’ve produced a new whitepaper to consider the opportunities and challenges it brings, with a series of three blogs which examine the emerging themes. In the first article we look at changes in how and where people work, and the role of IT in enabling the sustainable workplaces of the future.

The changing role of the IT team

Some studies show that 80% of staff are enjoying working from home and may not want to head back to offices as a result. Large multinationals like Unilever have even announced that workers will never return to their desks full-time. The likelihood is most organisations will see a hybrid workforce emerge where employees might only be in the office for one or two days a week, and will work elsewhere the rest of the time.

Enabling this shift relies on digital technology. This puts extra pressure on the IT teams responsible for making these changes. During the pandemic, IT teams have had to secure thousands of new endpoints in the form of laptops, tablets and mobiles, and deal with much larger volumes of day-to-day requests – such as password resets or logon issues. Now, they must factor in bigger digital transformation projects as businesses consider how they can make their workplaces more sustainable long-term. This goes beyond implementing point solutions and requires a radical overhaul of workplace technology.

Although it will be a challenge, it’s also a major opportunity. Creating a bespoke, sustainable and flexible workplace that puts employee wellbeing first is a real possibility for many organisations. Businesses should focus on environments that prioritise users and offer a frictionless digital experience regardless of location.

Justifying investment in workplace transformation

Understandably, many IT leaders may struggle at present to justify the cost of investing in a sustainable workplace to a concerned board. But the clearest way to demonstrate the business case is by underlining the outcomes of not acting. Failure to build a working environment around employee needs and wellbeing will inevitably see skilled staff leave, leading to a fall in innovation and a drop in performance.

The nature of work is going to change regardless; the driver is coming from employees who want a better work/life balance and who are looking to employers to grant such flexibility. In reality, the cost of doing nothing now will be more than the investment required to build a sustainable workplace. Further, building a new way of working now will ensure business continuity in the event of another interruption to ‘normal’ business. In our second blog, we’ll look at what this new way of working involves, and will turn to the first two pillars of the sustainable workplace – employee wellbeing and sustainability. Be sure to check back for the next post soon.

You can download the full whitepaper which inspired this blog. And get in touch with the Capita team to discuss how to make your workplace sustainable.

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Written by

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James Butler

Cloud Centre of Excellence Director and IT

James has 20 years of experience in IT consulting and services, managing teams that help customers achieve transformation and deploy new technology. Originally from a software development background, he has been particularly focused on cloud adoption over the last 10 years and how it enables digital transformation. He joined Capita in 2016 and is now focused on developing the division’s products and services to drive growth.

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