James Baker Market Insight, Company News
James Baker hosted his third professional services round table on 29th May 2020. This session brought a number of topics of conversation, and happily the news for one of the firms in attendance had re-opened their London office (as well as a number of other offices across the globe) to a small number of employees who were keen to reconnect with their colleagues in person. The logistical challenges were immense and the limitations numerous, but it reflected a very positive step towards returning to “normality” for the firm involved. The firm concerned reflected that having surveyed their employees they had an interesting mixture of those who were, and weren’t keen to return to the office, but also how discussions had already occurred about how the office space could be used differently to before in a more creative way.
Adjusting to more virtual recruitment and remote working practices
The firms also discussed the challenge of attracting future talent and how to develop and train their employees in a working environment, which had previously been face-to-face and in person, but going forward would be much more virtual. The key considerations included how might this work, and what technologies might help replace some of the guidance that would now be virtual. A longer term and wider challenge reflected on was whether teams will be able to operate as effectively in the future if they haven’t spent considerable time interacting in person? Might teams who had spent more time working physically together be more productive than those who had not? Only time will tell on this point. For the moment the firm concerned had seen no drop off in employee output or efficiency.
New ways of engaging clients and employees
An evolution in the way that business development and new client relationships were being created was another key point. For one firm they could see challenges in the inability to build relationships with their clients by travelling to meet them in person. There was also a positive upside from this both in terms of reduction in carbon footprint and travel cost saving to the firm. One of the new methods of both client and employee engagement being used were virtual cooking lessons and cocktail making, facilitated by the hugely creative bars and restaurants whilst closed to the public.
What will the future look like?
Looking ahead, a number of the firms were trying to look at how they harness and utilise the benefits of remote working, particularly in the winter months, and adapt to the challenges it has created by creating a framework to help people manage more effectively. Once again, it was a great joy to be able to understand how different organisations are facing the people challenges and opportunities we are all experiencing. If you would like to be part of the conversation, please get in touch with James here.