Paul Cosgrove is head of the Regional Engineering Solar unit in Statkraft UK, based in London.
How has employee attitude and expectation to workplace flexibility changed since Covid?
In very general industry terms, we have seen a rapid paradigm shift in staff attitudes and expectations. Pre-Covid, the large majority of what was previously perceived as not possible or appropriate by mainstream companies has clearly been proven otherwise.
Pre-Covid, employees who had already established trust with their leaders and immediate team and had a good home office setup were already working in a hybrid remote way from time-to-time. Usually this was done to support staff in combining work with family life.
As a result of remote working becoming mandatory for many during Covid, I have observed many changes in attitudes and expectations regarding workplace flexibility.
For line staff, they are very proud and encouraged by Statkraft's response during lockdown periods and positively welcome and value having the choice of continued, sustained periods of remote working and more flexible working hours as the norm, rather than the exception. Additionally, we are recognising the opportunities for asynchronous working concepts to increase overall team productivity via smart independent working approaches.
For leaders, they are recognising the possibilities of contracting and even recruiting staff who are remote from their project office cities or countries, in order to get the best people on our teams more readily.
What we have seen more generally is that there are some surprise benefits to remote working, such as the ability to focus and concentrate and increase the size of their staff network connections, and in some cases improve their staff relationships. We also place much more importance and value on utilising physical time together in planned, productive ways, in a variety of environments, such as real time collaboration activities and relationship building through social/informal activities.