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Innovation

Is remote working here to stay after COVID-19?

Woman working remotely from her sofa

After a year of many office employees working from home, it has become the norm for us to conduct important meetings over video calls, send our co-workers an email or instant message when we need to ask them a question and eat lunch by ourselves at our kitchen tables. However, with the UK now starting to open up again after lockdown, could this be the end of the traditional office and the start of a primarily remote workforce? Even with the benefits working from home can bring, we’re not so sure.

Remote working isn’t a new concept and it was growing in popularity before the pandemic struck. In fact, during 2019, 5.1% of the UK population worked from home compared to 4.3% in 2015, with more and more businesses offering this as a perk in an effort to attract new talent and retain them.

Many business’ attitudes to remote work have substantially changed over the past year, with it teaching them that employees don’t need to be sat in their physical office in order to be productive at work. For this reason, JP Morgan, HSBC, Dropbox and Microsoft are just some of the large organisations that have said that some or all of their staff can continue to work from home permanently – even when social distancing is no longer required.

So, does this mean that smaller businesses should also follow suit?

Remote working is a perk that many employees have enjoyed during lockdown due to the time and money saved from not having to travel into an office 5 days a week. Not only that, but they have been given the freedom to work at a pace that suits them. No person is 100% productive during every hour of the working day – and when inspiration dwindles, your employees likely feel more comfortable stepping away from their desk and clearing their head in the comfort of their own homes.

However, we don’t think the pandemic and the ways we have had to adapt signal the end of the physical workplace. Instead, many companies will move towards offering flexible working to their employees, rather than having every one of them solely working from home.

This means that going forward, a large proportion of employees will likely spend a combination of their time doing their job from home and from the office, as well as having more control over the hours they work.

Why ‘remote working’ will become ‘flexible working’

Believe it or not, not every employee enjoys working from their sofa and wants homeworking to become the new normal – full-time, at least. According to a survey of 1,000 people conducted by Envoy and Wakefield Research in 2020, after COVID, 94% of employees want to work from the office at least once a week. You may also be surprised to learn that 46% of those surveyed said that five days was the ideal number of days to spend in the office!

The survey found various reasons for this, such as people missing going out for lunch instead of making it for themselves, and being able to spend time away from their families who can cause a distraction when working from home. However, the main thing that employees said they missed was face-to-face interactions with their co-workers.

Employees talking during meeting

Before the pandemic, it was normal for us to spend most of our time with our colleagues each week. We’d often grab lunch with them, attend meetings together, and have chats throughout the day as we worked from the same office. For those that live alone, seeing their team at work may be the only time they interact with someone face-to-face for days or even weeks, which can be a lonely experience.

Seeing your team members regularly also helps you build stronger relationships with them – and being friends with the people we work with can be massive morale and productivity boosters as this is proven to increase engagement levels. Additionally, if your staff feel comfortable confiding in each other when they’re experiencing issues, such as struggling with their workload or getting a particular piece of work completed, they can reduce stress and get their worries solved faster. A problem shared is a problem halved, after all – and sharing these conversations in person can feel much less formal than over a video call.

For these reasons, instead of a shift to full-time remote work, we predict that flexible working will become more prevalent and desired by employees.

How to enable flexible working

For many businesses, offering flexible working isn’t as simple as telling your employees to work whenever they want. It’s still important that there are overlaps between when your team members are ‘in the office’ (whether physically or virtually) for communication and productivity to remain high. For example, it’s advised to have core working hours that everyone in the business must adhere to each day (such as between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM on Monday to Friday), with any meetings being held in this time window.

With some meetings requiring face-to-face interactions, and many workers missing watercooler chats, you may want to offer employees the opportunity to work from home a few times a week, with the ability to change which days these are each week.

One way you can ensure that everything runs smoothly when managing a flexible working team is by investing in the right digital tools to help everyone stay connected. For example, Ayoa is a work management app that is perfect for distributed workers to collaborate together on projects and keep track of when their colleagues are available. Using Ayoa’s team pulse dashboard, your employees can add updates when they start work and clock off for the day, as well as give a brief overview of what they’re currently working on – so everyone is kept in the loop no matter where they are.

Employees working in Tec Marina office

You should also make sure that your physical office space is set up to offer flexible working as staff should be able to enter and leave the premises at different times of the day without compromising your security. If you rent your office space, make sure to check this with the owner of your building to see if this is possible.

Looking for a new office in South Wales? Tec Marina is located just outside Cardiff, in the beautiful location of Penarth Marina, and is already set up for you to provide increased flexibility to your team. As well as offering 24/7 access to the building for residents, our friendly reception team will be on hand to handle your mail when you’re not in the office, as well as help you with anything else you need.

Our fully serviced offices are also regularly cleaned and include access to a free onsite gym, rentable meeting rooms and well-stocked kitchen areas, plus our building is a short walk from Cogan train station and a free public car park. To find out more about our available office space, give us a call on 02921 678391 or email contact@tecmarina.com.

Tec Marina Welcomes the Lord Mayor of London

This afternoon, we were very excited to welcome the Lord Mayor of London to Tec Marina.

During the visit, Lord Mayor Alderman Peter Estlin and his party met with Chris and Gaile Griffiths, founders of OpenGenuis and Tec Marina, and took a tour around the Tec Marina office space.

A selection of Tec Marina business owners and CEOs enjoyed refreshments in the the building’s central atrium with the Lord Mayor.

Peter Estlin is the 691st Lord Mayor of the City of London. A key reason for his visit to Cardiff, the Lord Mayor of London hopes to strengthen the links between the two cities. As part of his wider role, Alderman Estlin promotes the UK as a top global destination for foreign investment, innovation and technology. Read more about the Lord Mayor’s visit to South Wales here.

“I’m delighted to be visiting Cardiff and meeting a number of key business leaders to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing our two cities. Cardiff is an innovative hub with an increasingly vibrant financial and digital offer.”
– Lord Mayor of the City of London, Peter Estlin

Tec Marina Manager, Rebekah Raynor, said: “We are very excited to have hosted the Lord Mayor of London and his party. What a great honour that the Lord Mayor chose to visit us here at Tec Marina!”

Chris Griffiths (left), Lord Mayor Alderman Peter Estlin (centre), Gaile Griffiths (right)

“We’ve built a small piece of Silicon Valley here in Wales and we were delighted that the new Right Honourable Lord Mayor of London chose to visit OpenGenius, the team behind the development, and to meet many of the other fast-growth businesses located here in Tec Marina.”
– Gaile Griffiths, Operations Director at OpenGenius

If you’re interested in finding out more about office space at our innovation hub, get in touch with Tec Marina today: 029 2167 8391 / contact@tecmarina.com.

Innovators set sail from Digital Festival 2017 to Tec Marina

As part of Digital ’17, Tec Marina played host as eager digital enthusiasts and entrepreneurs were, in true marina fashion, transported by boat from the Digital Festival through Cardiff Bay to Tec Marina. There, founder and CEO Chris Griffiths spoke live from the London Stock Exchange about his company’s journey so far and how OpenGenius, the ones behind Tec Marina, is the first Welsh company to be accepted onto the LSE’s Elite accelerator programme. A unique experience for all, Chris spoke of what an exciting time it is to be at the company right now.

As Digital Dozen finalists, OpenGenius took to the Showcase Stage to dazzle digital enthusiasts with their productivity and creativity-enhancing software tools at Digital Festival 2017 this week. Alongside a number of other tech companies based in Wales, OpenGenius pitched their technology tools to like-minded thinkers and investors in the digital sector. The festival, one devoted to ‘Innovation, Investment and Industry’ was a fantastic opportunity to showcase what Wales has to offer the global tech industry, and to mix with other companies to show off their products, iMindMap and DropTask.

GoCompare boat

Boat arrives

Entrance

Guests gather in the atrium

Chris live from LSE