When I talk with friends, family and my clients about the current people challenges in business, there’s often a lot of interest and hot debate about ‘Smart’ Working…indeed when I joined CGI, one of the things that attracted me as a prospective employee was the company’s philosophy on being outcome focused, providing opportunities to work flexibly and a commitment to employee wellbeing and the work-life balance that Smart Working provides.

That is not always the norm though and there are clear winners and losers in how effective a company’s Smart Working practices are.  In my experience, there seem to be 2 general views on this subject…it’s either biased toward too much towards the employee (‘you mean you get to work at home on a Friday?’), or to the employer (‘so it was just an excuse to offload lots of expensive office space in London?’). In fact if done properly, as part of an employee-centric digitally-enabled strategy, it provides a harmonised, efficient and rich environment for people and companies to flourish.

So let’s take a fresh look. Only by understanding where we are can we look at how to make this deliver the real benefits that Smart Working is capable of – to both business and employees.

We all know Smart Working is not new.  Companies have implemented Smart Working initiatives for decades.   But has it delivered the expected returns?  On paper, yes but in reality - no.  Whilst estate rationalisation costs have generally been achieved (22% reduction in estate costs is feasible), the counter balance of employee experience and satisfaction has not.  The impact of lost productivity, team cohesion, collaboration and innovation has negatively impacted employee engagement and performance.

There are many anecdotal stories on how growth takes the hit – both revenue and profitability can be compromised by those I talk to who are on the Smart Working journey.  As an example, a client recently mentioned how their annual employee opinion survey highlighted the issue; whilst employees wanted to support the company to develop new customer innovations, they did not feel that they had the opportunity to do so because they weren’t able to meet with their colleagues in the right forum discuss the art of the possible.

In our own experience, and that of clients we’ve worked with, to be successful in Smart Working;

  • Organisations must put employee experience at the heart of their smart working strategy
  • It needs to move from cost control to value enhancing
  • It should be a key lever in your core employee proposition, perhaps by making your office and Smart Working practices a crucial element to ensure your company is a Great Place to Work?

Smart Working isn’t very smart if it doesn’t balance the benefits to the company without recognising and delivering benefits to the employee.  At the end of the day, if we expect employees to succeed in a Smart Working environment, we have to provide them with the support and tools to be successful.

And what about my experience of Smart Working?  ‘Smart Working has provided me with the opportunity to increase my productivity by working in the best place for the task in hand along with the flexibility to meet my clients around their work commitments…which is  good for me,  good for CGI and great for my clients’

Share your experiences of smart working, good and bad with us.

If your Smart Working strategy isn’t as smart as you’d like it to be, call Angela Rixon on 07770 687738  or email  angela.rixon@cgi.com  for more information.

Angela Rixon is Head of Digital Employee Experience at CGI

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Picture of Angela Rixon

Angela Rixon

Director of Digital Employee Experience

Angela leads the Digital Employee Experience Practice at CGI. Digital Employee Experience drives operational and productivity efficiency and effectiveness through a range of innovative workforce solutions. This includes Innovative robotic process automation to drive productivity, cost savings and customer experience Enabling workforce ...

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