The last twelve months have been a steep learning curve for everyone – understanding the role of an epidemiologist and the “R value”, getting to grips with the meaning of “viral load” and “herd immunity” – all things with which we would not have been familiar were it not for the Covid pandemic.
We have also learnt the importance of resilience within the workplace: how to survive within a new environment and adapt to new ways of working. The speed at which pharmaceutical companies met the challenge of finding, testing and manufacturing a Covid vaccine is just one impressive example.
As the UK starts to open up after its third and longest lockdown, the question on everyone’s mind is how much will change and how much will stay the same in the post-pandemic world?
When it comes to office-based work, the last year has demonstrated that location is perhaps not as crucial as originally thought. The evolution of technology has enabled employees to collaborate and work effectively from multiple remote locations. Employees who benefit from improved work-life balance and less time spent on the daily commute are more productive. With this in mind, businesses are re-examining how they use their office space with some looking to make savings through office closures and others aiming to accommodate team growth without the need to provide more desk space.
Without doubt, most of us have missed face-to-face interaction and being with colleagues and clients in the office and it’s easy to understand why some have sometimes felt isolated at home. This is perhaps why businesses are increasingly talking about an agile “hybrid” model of home- and office-based working.
Before the pandemic, many employers attempted to offer “work-life balance” but this was never really universally accepted and it was something to which working parents often aspired but feared would be the death knell for their career.
As businesses contemplate whether employees should return to the office full-time, part-time or even not at all, there has never been a better opportunity to deliver real and lasting change. One of the positives to have arisen from the last year may be that lockdowns have fundamentally changed cultural and societal attitudes to work. So now is the ideal time for flexible thinking, even if this may involve some difficult decisions.
In March 2021, Linklaters announced it was offering voluntary redundancy to all its London secretaries as a result of a new homeworking policy which could see staff working from home for up to half the week. Within law firms, the long-established model of each fee earner having their own dedicated secretary was supplanted around 10 years ago with sharing a secretary between two or three fee earners. In a post pandemic world, even that model seems outdated now and so it is perhaps not surprising that businesses are choosing this moment to question the best way of doing things; the provision of secretarial support is just one example.
At Global BPO, our PA and secretarial services have been an integral part of our clients’ businesses since 2001 – long before Covid! Our experienced teams of experts provide support with all types of secretarial and PA tasks including document production, house-style formatting, digital dictation, copy-typing, PowerPoint and Excel support and data entry. We also often create services from scratch if a client has a new and specific requirement.
Our flexible working patterns and shift-times enable fluctuations in workload to be managed efficiently across time zones. Our clients also have peace of mind with regards to confidentiality and information security. We comply with SRA guidelines and are ISO 27001-certified and each of our teams works within the client’s own secure system.
Typically, our clients save around 55-60% when compared to in-house provision. For example, organisations benefit from a significant reduction in the total cost to business including: salary, recruitment, employers’ national insurance, pension contributions, office space and management time.
No one has a crystal ball but if we had to predict a principal trend for the future, it would be flexibility. Businesses want streamlined solutions and flexibility so they can respond quickly and efficiently to new opportunities, fluctuating workload and economic challenges.
You can find out more about our secretarial support services here.