Episode 25 – “Having courage to change” – A panel discussion on the future of the Workplace

Welcome to a special episode of Doing the Opposite: Business Disruptors – a panel discussion with innovative business leaders. Today, Jeff Dewing is joined by Nicola Smith who is Interim CEO at Timewise, an organisation championing flexible working and equality in the workplace. Simone Roche MBE is founder of Northern Power Women, a community spanning all sectors, genders and socio-economic groups that is dedicated to accelerating gender equality and social mobility. And Sheila Callaham is a co-founder, Executive Director, and Board Chair for Age Equity Alliance who are committed to helping businesses, organisations, and communities ensure Age Equity in the workplace through education, training, and process evaluation.

There’s no denying that Covid changed the way we all work, forcing many businesses to adopt remote working in a way they may not have done otherwise. But now the pandemic has passed, what legacy is left on the way we operate as businesses and employees. The culture of work has shifted, and employees considering roles are much more focussed on the flexibility around work than they were previously. The panel discuss how businesses need to adapt to be more accommodating, supportive and flexible in order to continue to attract talent and sustain growth.

Furthermore, flexible working isn’t only about location. It’s about how you work, when you work and what’s expected of you. Nicola argues that so long as there are clear and reasonable expectations with buy-in from all stakeholders then often the logistics of how or when work is done shouldn’t be a consideration.

Not all roles can be fully flexible. The panel discuss how businesses can avoid a two-tier workforce emerging, creating separation between the flexible and non-flexible workers. Some work may be time or location specific. How do you avoid those staff feeling like they’re missing out on a more flexible role? Sheila suggests that companies can compensate for that through the policies and programmes and benefits that they offer.

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