A man sitting in a desk chair smiling at the camera. He is Alex Ferreira of Avanade Ireland.
Alex Ferreira. Image: © Connor McKenna/Siliconrepublic.com

Why the role of the office needs to change

27 Aug 2021

Avanade Ireland’s Alex Ferreira discusses the importance of employee engagement in the new digital working world.

Click here to view the full Future of Work Week series.

Throughout this week on Siliconrepublic.com, we have examined the trends, challenges and considerations around the future of work, much of which has pertained to remote, hybrid and flexible working.

Many of the experts have said that the office as we know it will certainly change forever. It may not disappear, but it won’t be used the way it was before.

To discuss this new working world in more detail, we spoke to Alex Ferreira, director of modern workplace in Avanade Ireland, who highlighted several questions around the topic of hybrid working.

“How do we keep the employee satisfaction [and] employee productivity really high in these times? How do we embrace things like flexible work hours? How do we enable or empower people to choose their own best time for them to accomplish their work in the way that suits them best? And also how to keep people engaged?”

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He said that now hybrid working means companies need innovative ways to engage their workforce and the role of the office needs to change.

“What we used to do in the office, the nine-to-five, just going to your desk in the office, is something that I think will be reimagined,” he said.

“I think organisations will use the office much more as a hub for collaboration and not just the place people go to work. I think employees will be empowered to work from where it suits them best and then come together when it makes sense, maybe to do some brainstorming.”

However, he warned that it’s important to not simply rely on offices for collaboration. If companies are planning to adopt a hybrid or remote-first working model, employees will need to feel like they can collaborate in their virtual workplace as much as the physical office.

“When we talk about digital transformation, it is about how to address those challenges, how to bring together the digital workplace and the technologies in a consistent and coherent manner that allows people to be productive.”

He gave the example of Microsoft Viva, which launched in February of this year with the aim of making remote working easier by incorporating communications, wellbeing, learning and more into one central hub.

Ferreira also spoke about the challenge employers will have going forward when it comes to managing their employees.

“The big transformation all employers are going through right now is going from a model where you could see everyone in the office, you could see them at their desk working away and going into meetings, into a model where you actually have to trust the people,” he said.

“I think this has huge potential in terms of making people happier and making people more productive and empowering the individuals to actually connect with their objectives, connect with what they’re doing and finding creative ways on how to achieve that.”

Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the deputy editor of Silicon Republic in 2020, having worked as the careers editor until June 2019. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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