The Future of the Office: Leave the Paper Behind

Golden Marzipan Group started the second season of our ‘Breakfast Briefings’, with some powerful insights from our guest speakers from Johnnie Johnson. As we #Navigate2Next, Chief Executive Yvonne Castle and Steve Allcock  (Director of ICT, Data & Digital Transformation) brought us up to date with their future office strategy.


Watch again with Yvonne and Steve – view now!

With the COVID-19 pandemic reshaping our organisational cultures, our challenge is now contemplating an improved working lifestyle and the challenges in moving standard paper processes to a paperless reality.

What is ‘the next normal’ for the future of the housing sector? Here are some of the essential insights from Yvonne and Steve.

No One Size Fits All

It’s a thing. The polemic surrounding flexible working versus being back at the office is served and has now become the norm. But, is it really working being in an office? According to Yvonne Castle, “in JJ’s world, we believe that people’s contract with work is about deliverables.” And, consequently, she claims “deliverables are very varied.”

So, in Yvonne’s eyes, “you don’t have to turn up at an office and sit at a desk to deliver these outcomes.” She continues, “they can be done from a range of places. So working does not mean being in an office.”

Among the examples of what Johnnie Johnson’s input-output model looks like are:

  • Making their residents feel safe and sound with the help of personable daily calls.
  • Fast actionable deliverables like turning up at their residents’ home when they’ve had an emergency.
  • Providing money advice, reassuring their residents regarding management’s rent payment plans.

In consonance with new models of leadership ( already proposed by Dan Goleman in his ‘The New Leaders’), the impactful element for Johnnie Johnson is that people are given a certain degree of flexibility and choice so they love where they work.

“You don’t have to turn up at an office, sit at a desk to deliver these outcomes. They can be done from a range of places. So working does not mean being in an office.” – Yvonne Castle

Conversely, we are still in need of the creativity factor. Yvonne agrees that the ignition of the creative spark often happens when people come together. And “that’s exactly what we’re doing with our innovation hub.”

Productivity may change faces and scenarios but not meaning

 A Rounded Proposal

According to Johnnie Johnson, there are three major stages to follow through to scale the transition to the future office. The digital future in the office contemplates a rounded proposal that not only outlines the company’s priorities but also the company’s core values and its employees. Let’s have a look at these component’s outline.

1. How and Where We Work

Outlining the ‘How’s’ and ‘Where We Work’ is essential. In terms of their planning, Yvonne shares, “we are on a journey.” She finds it important to emphasize that “we’ve been on it, we are on it, and we will still be going on it.” From a governance point of view, she continues saying that “working with our Board, we all want to test these measures.”


Not only we need a variety of work scenarios but also a new working approach

2.  Flexible Lifestyle Policy

Trying to be strategic about this plan, Yvonne says that one of the key elements for Johnnie Johnson was to cater for “outstanding people.” She continues affirming people factor being one of their priorities: to attract, retain, and reward exceptional talent. Yvonne linked this input with the output of having “outstanding services wrapping everything up.”


Employees should be at the heart of every operation

3. A Paperless Reality

Steve continues to share some more insights on how “to provide people with choice.” When it comes to their paperless initiative and a long-term feasible option, Steve thought of “digitalising a lot of our operational processes.” Removing some, if not the majority, of the paper transactions would mean a lower carbon footprint as well as a more efficient and inclusive way of communication. There is not only one solution and “having everyone on-board on this journey,” he shares, was crucial.


Finally, the most relevant element is the transition into paperless

The Challenges Ahead 

 Some of the most frequent asked questions in the follow-up section were related to how this pilot scheme would pitch these ongoing improvements through a governance process. Yvonne said that previous surveys (and ‘baseline stats’) with clients and employees helped to bring new ideas to their Board.

Some of the positive feedback on the chat group emphasized how visual, direct and efficient the plan was. Peter Lunio, reinforced the ideas of “we” as a team and that “no one size fits all.” In this regard,  Steve clarified that being open to feedback and concerns from employees and company members was a vital piece of the engine. Only when they opened the means of communication to all, people started to reach out by sharing potential problematic scenarios as well as possible solutions.

Inspiring Transition

As we closed this introductory episode, we could only agree that there is not one single solution but a compendium of measures, approaches and attitudes to make an inspiring transition possible. On this respect, Johnnie Johnson is still leading us in the right direction to an inspiring yet challenging journey.

Contact us

The registration for our upcoming Breakfast Briefing S2 #02 is now open. Register here. If you would like a copy of our more detailed briefing pack contact

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