Fidelity Investments’ Ann Roddy discusses the company’s ‘dynamic working’ policy and how it has reconfigured its Dublin office space to prepare for the future of work.
What the workplace will look like in the future will largely depend on the lessons learned from the past two and a half years.
This period essentially allowed for a mass remote working experiment, with many employers and employees coming to the realisation that the office as we once knew it may need to change.
Financial services company Fidelity Investments has been working on blending onsite and offsite working in a hybrid model that it calls ‘dynamic working’.
According to Ann Roddy, vice-president of technology management, this approach means that most staff will spend some time in the office and some time working offsite to support diverse work and life needs.
“We have structured this right now to allocate space in the office for each team on a one-week-a-month basis with flexibility to drop into a common space on other days of their choosing,” she said.
“We are working diligently to create purposeful in-person work experiences and spaces that will make the most of associates’ time onsite.”
The company used the pandemic lockdowns as an opportunity to revamp its Dublin office to create a more flexible workspace. “We want associates to enjoy coming into the office, and feedback thus far has been really positive on the revamp,” said Roddy.
“Throughout the pandemic, we actively listened and collected feedback from our associates, where we heard loud and clear the merits of a commute-free day, the ability to have heads-down work time, and the wellbeing benefits that came along with offsite work.
“We also heard that our associates missed the relationship-building and collaboration opportunities that in-person work provides.”
Technology has become a major factor in the workplace evolution and Roddy said it is central to providing flexibility, recalling her own experience with tech in her career.
“Over 20 years ago, I was the first person in Fidelity Ireland to work as a ‘telecommuter’. I recall structuring my tea breaks around uploading code to the server,” she said.
“I do not take for granted the speed of internet connections from home nowadays and technology like Zoom and Teams make connecting with colleagues around the world so easy.”
Workplace trends and challenges
Outside of the advances in tech and the changes to the physical workspace, Roddy said that what the actual workforce will look like will determine the future of work.
“Over the last several decades, due to advances in healthcare, people are living longer but fewer children are being born so our population will age rapidly over the coming decades. This will have a profound impact on the nature of the workforce,” she said.
“There will be fewer young graduates, and the era of people typically retiring at 65 will dissipate because many people will choose to continue working in some capacity. Couple this trend with increasing immigrants coming to live and work here we will have an increasingly diverse workforce, which I view as a good thing.”
And while the pandemic has led to a more hybrid and flexible working environment, Roddy said this shift is not without challenges that will need to be addressed.
“Employers need to consider the role, type of work, needs of the team and business and potentially other factors such as onboard and training needs when thinking about hybrid work policies. It is difficult to suit every associate situation as there are so many aspects to consider, but using associate feedback is an important consideration,” she said.
“Employers need to provide flexibility to hire and retain staff whatever their age or circumstances – it is a key requirement for most candidates searching for jobs right now.”
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