Interview with Chelsea Perino

With the prevailing global crisis, what is your personal opinion on how the future of work will affect your business operations?

Working in the flexible workspace industry puts us in an interesting position because during times of economic instability, many businesses turn to flexible workspaces to help them cope with downsizing or restructuring of their teams. Particularly with this current crisis, we are seeing businesses begin to re-evaluate their workplace strategy; the openness to employees working remotely is increasing significantly, however conversely the importance of the office has never been more obvious. For The Executive Centre, we see ourselves as a strategic partner to all of these businesses that are trying to future-proof their business by using flexible workspaces to reduce CAPEX costs and lease terms, and to build agility into their portfolio.

According to you, which emerging technologies will be most crucial and relevant to the dynamic changes at work?

Video conferencing tools will become an essential system for every business. The ability for workers to connect, communicate and collaborate remotely is more important than ever before, and having a platform that allows for information sharing, “face to face” interactions, and that facilitates remote collaboration has readily become a focus for major corporates. In addition, providing employees with secure and highspeed WiFi networks to ensure they are able to do their work efficiently at home will also be crucial.

How do you think change management and HR policies will cater to the needs of employee welfare and engagement to effectively adapt to the future work culture?

Businesses will begin to incorporate ‘remote working’ policies into their official employee handbook, enabling employees to work from home or other remote locations without fear of judgement. A larger focus on mental health and wellness will also take place, ensuring that even if employees are not allowed to come into the office, that they still feel connected to their colleagues and to the company, that they still receive mentorship from upper management, and that they feel secure that not being physically present in the office will not negatively impact their career growth or reputation within the organisation.

What are the main challenges in evolving into the future of work operations with respect to WFH, Remote Work and Virtual Employees formats?

The main challenge is overcoming the pre-conceived notion that working from home/remote working means employees are less productive. Organisations must change their perspective so that they’re able to empower employees to be as motivated when they work from home as when they are in the office. At the same time, working remotely challenges the work-life balance concept as suddenly the barrier between work and home disappears. Employees need to make a conscious effort to still separate their ‘work’ time from their ‘life’ time to avoid burnout. Last, the connections/relationships formed as a result of face to face interactions is challenged here, so an even greater effort must be placed on creating alternative channels for employees to connect with their colleagues and upper management.

How do you suggest organizations will deal with business confidentiality, cyber threats, safety and security concerns which are crucial factors for the changing work operating models?

A greater focus on creating secure, fast, reliable networks that employees can access remotely is something businesses should start investing in now. One of the challenges of WFH is that not everyone has the infrastructure in place to be productive, and much of the time that has to do with network stability and security.

How do you feel attendees will benefit from Future WorkTech Forum?

The ability to learn from experts about the strategies they are implementing to future proof their business will hoping be inspirational for organisational leaders and will help them build resilience into their own workplace strategy. The opportunity to network with global professionals will also be hugely valuable, especially right now when everyone is looking for new business opportunities but are limited in terms of travel.