Over the past 12 months or so, we’ve been working on a number of projects to improve the client and employee experience at Rickard Luckin – in a programme we call “Firm of the Future”. Using input from clients and colleagues, these projects range from improving the physical environment of our office space through to reviewing our working patterns and agile working.
We had already made the investment in UHD Video Conference facilities (Lifesize) in each of our three offices, which led to a dramatic fall in inter-office journeys for meetings we found were just as effective (and more efficient) via a video call. We were in the process of increasing the number of user accounts and opening up virtual meeting rooms for use with clients when the COVID-19 crisis hit.
Transitioning from 3 to 150+ offices in less than a week
Suddenly we had to give over 150 of our team the ability to work from home, many of whom had never done so before.
At the time of writing, the vast majority of our team remain working from home, with the exception of a small number of our Business Operations Support team, who have been instrumental in keeping core aspects of the firm running that simply cannot be done from home (e.g. processing inbound and outbound physical post and client records).
Although it has been a challenge, our team have been amazing – flexible, resilient and open-minded when embracing changes in working patterns and communications. Lifesize has been rolled out to every single member of the team, thanks to a 6-month complimentary license extension so that all of our team could use the system to stay connected with clients, contacts and colleagues.
Our survey says…
We had been regularly asking for feedback from the team throughout their time away from the office, but the point at which the initial lockdown was extended seemed like a good time to “check-in”, to see how they were adjusting to working from home.
- 90% of the team were ‘very’ (52%) or ‘somewhat’ (38%) satisfied with their “current working from home arrangement (accepting the government restrictions are out of our control)”
- 80% of the team had a dedicated workspace where they can work at home
- Yet these headlines hide the fact that around 1 in 4 of our team did not have all the equipment they needed to do their work from home effectively (access to printers and large screens were the common themes here)
So, what does this mean for the future?
We were also keen to get an early indication on how people felt about their views on working from home on a longer-term basis, as well as any potential downsides they saw.
We asked “How has your experience of working from home changed your views on remote working in the future (i.e. in the months and years ahead)”:
- 1 in 5 would like to work from home ‘much more’
- Just over half (53.68%) would like to work from home ‘occasionally’
- The remaining respondents either had no change in their views (13.68%), would not want to work from home more than they normally do (6.32%) or would prefer to work in the office all the time (6.32%).
Our team also reflected on the potential downsides, when answering “If more people worked from home more frequently in the future, what impact would it have on your ability to work with your team in the following ways?”:
- Over three quarters of respondents saying that team bonding would be ‘much worse’ (22.58%) or ‘somewhat worse’ (54.84%)
- Almost half said collaboration with colleagues would be ‘much worse’ (8.42%) or ‘somewhat worse’ (37.89%)
Of course, we must take these results with a heavy pinch of context as these are far from ‘normal’ times, so people’s views and appetite on working from home may change once easing of the lockdown starts. We will be consulting more widely on this over the coming months as we learn from our shared experience to date and continue to balance the needs of our team, our clients and our business.
Looking forward, our challenge will be to find the right balance of effectiveness and wellbeing of our team with the flexibility to work from home, while keeping the team ‘spark’ of collaboration and inspiration that people naturally gain from working together in the office.
Futurologists have been predicting that we will all be working from home for years, so what has been the barrier to more of us doing this more often? For some it may have been a lack of trust, for others a lack of remote IT connectivity. But for many, many more, it will have been the lack of a burning platform for change. As well as the tragic human cost of this devastating virus, it has forced us all to think differently about our business, our people and the future of work….and quickly.
The Firm of the Future could be closer than we think.
HR & People Development Director, Rickard Luckin Ltd
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