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Only 15% of office based employees in retail want to return

Embracing hybrid working will be essential to survival, say both employees and the C-suite in the retail industry after the toughest year they’ve ever faced.

In light of the tough time retailers have had, hybrid working is seen as a means of surviving future shocks, with 77% of the C-suite and 65% of employees saying that a hybrid working model would allow them to be more resilient to similar challenges down the line.

Escaping a burning platform

Although necessitated by a global pandemic, retailers were, for the most part, able to navigate the move to remote working very successfully. When it came to implementing digital tools, there was alignment between employees and the C-Suite; 100% of the sector’s C-Suite and 97% of employees reported a well or adequate transition with 59% of employees saying that they were happy with the changes that their organisation made to transform working processes.

However, there have been downsides to remote working in the sector: 78% of those working in retail miss socialising with their colleagues, whilst 50% felt that they were not provided with the right equipment to work from home.

Additionally, 58% feel it is now harder collaborating as part of a team and 40% said they struggle to separate work and home time. Employee mental health is very high on the leadership agenda; with 83% of the C-suite in the sector making it a priority.

Commenting on the findings, Nigel Naylor-Smith, Head of Fujitsu’s Retail & Hospitality business said,

“This has been an exceptional past 12 months for retail and hospitality, but it’s clear there’s little benefit in going back to the way things were before the pandemic. Office-based employees in the sector are keen to maintain the work/life shift alongside other industries such as financial services. And why not – the technology is available to make remote working successful in the long-term and there are obvious financial benefits, such as space rationalisation, much needed by the sector at this crucial time. Clearly, many roles in the retail and hospitality sectors are not performed remotely, but these can still benefit from new collaborations that help drive inclusion, wellbeing, colleague retention and general operational performance. Across all roles, there has never been a better opportunity to change.

“Looking forward, it’s imperative that leadership teams continue to ensure their workforce are fully equipped when working remotely, or in operational locations, with an open line of communication to iron out any potential pain points around technology, equipment and most of all – focus on colleague wellbeing”.

**Finding the hybrid balance **

The impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is evident, but challenges remain in ensuring employees are supported.

Many C-suites are also worried about how extended time in a remote workplace would impact employees. For example, 57% worried that without face-to-face interaction employees would not feel appreciated in their roles, while 60% were concerned that remote working meant their employees would feel under more scrutiny.

Considering this, a well-managed hybrid model becomes all the more important. With 53% of leaders saying the changes made to date don’t go far enough, signalling that the hard work starts now for UK organisations to be fully fit for hybrid.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Fujitsu .

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