A recent survey undertaken by social housing change specialists, Golden Marzipan, suggests that whilst 75% of housing associations intend to implement a hybrid working model going forward, only 10% of those businesses have a fully integrated plan for implementation.
With thoughts turning to less restricted days ahead, agile working and so-called ‘hybrid’ workplaces are a hot topic for businesses. Whilst many housing associations have had this on their radar for some time, a recent survey conducted by social housing change specialists, Golden Marzipan, suggests that making and implementing a decision might not be as straight forward as it might seem. Peter Lunio, director at Golden Marzipan explains:
“The vast majority [90%] of respondents to our survey either had no plan or only partial plans to cover certain teams when it came to their post-COVID workplaces. Whilst there’s a lot of talk about agile and hybrid working in the sector, often there’s no clarity about what these terms actually mean.
“In fact, 26% of respondents in our survey told us that they felt their executive team and board were not aligned behind a cohesive definition of the terms ‘flexible’ and hybrid’, so it’s really no surprise that the majority of providers are struggling to develop an integrated plan.”
Overall, the outcome of the Golden Marzipan survey mirrored the findings from another survey by Inside Housing, however it did uncover several other interesting insights into the sector’s current thinking on workplaces in a post-COVID world.
- Overwhelmingly housing associations have been informed by staff opinions on how things should work in the future and 75% of housing associations are intending to implement a hybrid model of working, where colleagues work between home and an office base.
- The most popular key drivers behind this decision were reported as being staff engagement, the delivery of agile and enhanced customer service. Only one respondent identified enhance recruitment opportunities as an important influencing factor. This is interesting given the huge positive impact reducing geographical boundaries could have on talent acquisition.
- When asked how the office to home ratio would be decided, 76% of respondents said that it would be determined locally by the line manager, with the remainder either reporting that the decision had been taken centrally or not yet made.
- Despite the lack of integrated plans, housing association leaders are confident that they are prepared in terms of infrastructure, processes and policies, with 88% rating their organisation between 6 and 10 for readiness.
With many providers reporting that they intend to make changes to their workplace structure within three to six months, there remains some significant concerns around the adoption of a more agile workforce. Survey respondents were most concerned about the impact on culture, specifically how colleagues maintain a shared sense of purpose, adapt to change, and remain engaged in the business. Ensuring IT and security kept up with the pace of change was another area highlighted as a key concern in the Golden Marzipan survey.
If you are looking to implement a hybrid model of working, but need support to develop your definition of agile, or indeed you need support to develop your implementation plan please contact Peter at Golden Marzipan on firstname.lastname@example.org to hear how we can help. Alternatively take a look at how we worked with Magenta Living to move their agile vision along here.