11 Ways To Impress a Hiring Manager During an Interview

You’ve applied, writing a standout cover letter and your CV matches the skills the company are looking for and now you have been invited to interview.

Interviewing is your biggest opportunity to make a good impression, in the days before your interview we suggest setting some time aside for

1. Do your research on the company and the people that are interviewing

Look at everything you can find on the services they offer, view their website, social media and look up all recent news articles about them. Look at company reviews from previous employees and if you are lucky, they might have shared some information about the types of questions you’ll be asked in the interview. Look up the people that are interviewing you, how do they relate to your role. Look at the activity on their LinkedIn where they have written or commented on something, try to put together a bit of a persona about them.

2. Understand the Culture

You may think your experience is the most important factor when making a hiring decision. However, making sure you are a good fit for the company is one of the main things a hiring manager will look for.

3. Practice your answers to common interview questions

Prepare your answer to the common question: “Tell me about yourself, and why are you interested in this role with our company?” The idea is to quickly communicate who you are and what value you will bring to the company and the role—it’s your personal elevator pitch.

4. Reread the Job description

Write down examples from your past and current work that align with the job description requirements.

5. Prepare smart questions for your interviewers

Employers expect you to ask questions: they want to know that you’re thinking seriously about what it would be like to work there.

6. Are you a critical thinker

All employers everywhere value this ability, which also encompasses analytical skills like gathering and evaluating information.

7. Can you collaborate

Regardless of the role, the hiring manager will want to know that you can work well with others so is good to have some examples of this to hand.

8. Be very clear about why you want the job

Look for something that you can draw on from your research about the company, competitors, services and partners during the conversation that shows you have a deep interest in the opportunity. Write down why you want the job, practice saying it with lots of enthusiasm.

9. Plan your outfit the night before

You’ll know the dress type they are expecting from your research, and you should dress accordingly head to toe, regardless of whether it is an in-person interview or via a video meeting tool.

10. Reiterate your discussion at the end of the meeting

Reiterate that you believe that your experience aligns with what they are looking for in a candidate and share that you have specific skills that they’re looking for, naming them. This type of response demonstrates your professionalism and makes it clear that you’ve been paying attention during the interview.

11. Shake hands and make eye contact

Close with a firm handshake and good eye contact and follow up with an email within 24 hours thanking them for their time.

The importance of mental health provisions in the corporate environment

One in four people in the UK will have a mental health challenge at some point in their lives. Anxiety and depression are the most common mental health problems. They are often a reaction to a difficult life event, such as bereavement, but can also be caused by work-related issues.

Why don’t people talk about mental health?

Awareness of mental health is increasing, but we still face a world where people with mental health problems face discrimination and can face challenges getting the help they need. Many people who experience distress try to keep their feelings hidden because they are afraid of other people’s responses. Fear of discrimination and feelings of shame are among the top reasons people give for not telling their colleagues about their mental health problems.

When we create workplace cultures where people can be themselves, it is easier for people to speak about mental health concerns without fear, and easier for them to reach out for help when they need it. Even so, the decision to disclose distress at work is not one people take lightly. Workplaces must become environments where people feel safe to be themselves.

Companies’ awareness of good workplace mental health and wellbeing is growing. However, companies are still struggling in supporting employee mental health and wellbeing.

According to a recent report by the government mental ill-health is now the most common reason for claiming health-related benefits and 86 per cent remain on the benefits for more than three months (compared to 76 per cent for all other claimants). And the evidence shows that the longer people are detached from the labour market, the less chance they have of returning to work.

The cost of poor mental health to the country is also very high. A recent review of the health of Britain’s working-age population carried out by Dame Carol Black estimated that over £100 billion is lost to the economy through ill-health and associated sickness absence and unemployment. In addition, United Kingdom (UK) employers annually pay an estimated £9 billion in statutory sick pay and occupational sick pay, of which we think around £2-4 billion is likely to be paid because of mental ill-health.

Companies can introduce well-being policies and make a serious investment in employee health, but if their activity is not aligned in how people are managed, a supportive and inclusive culture and committed leadership, the policies will not have a real impact. Building a compassionate workplace goes hand in hand with acknowledging the complexity of mental health challenges and respecting people as individuals. Compassionate leadership is supported by a hard business case showing desired outcomes such as improved relationships as well as higher motivation and job satisfaction levels, all of which can lead to enhanced performance and productivity.

Tackling Mental health stigma

Mental health conditions are not rare or restricted to a small proportion of the population. They need not prevent many people from performing effectively and efficiently at work. The UK government has put together programmes available for employers and managers to raise awareness amongst staff and develop their confidence to discuss mental health and well-being at work.

Managing mental health

According to CIPD 2019 study, nearly three-fifths have seen an increase in the number of reported common mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression, among employees in the last 12 months. Only a small minority report a decrease. Just one in ten (9%) of organisations have a standalone mental health policy for employees, although a further third incorporates mental health within another policy and one in five are in the process of developing a policy. Most are taking some action to manage employee mental health. The most common action taken is phased return to work and/or other reasonable adjustments last year.

Organisations that focus on improving employee awareness of mental health, increasing managers’ skills and confidence, and encouraging openness and discussion reap the benefits of increased employee engagement. Creating a culture of open discussion means employees feel supported by their organisation and are more likely to access support when they are struggling.

A workforce that enjoys good mental health and well-being may experience lower absenteeism. Investing in the well-being of staff is therefore also an economic issue for business.

Steps to help shape a thriving workforce according to the charity Mind.

Encourage openness and discussion about mental health

An open culture around mental health is a key part of employees feeling their mental health is supported (only 9 per cent of staff in organisations without openness and discussion of mental health feel their organisation supports their mental health). A great first step for organisations is to have a senior leader sign the Mental Health at Work Commitment. Having a senior member of staff such as your CEO signing the Commitment signals your pledge to changing how employees think and act about mental health in the workplace. Running regular internal communications campaigns is another great way to raise awareness of mental health and challenge stigma.

People management is about more than work targets

Employees experiencing poor mental health tend to speak to their line manager first (76 per cent disclosed to their line manager), but a lack of understanding in managers can be a barrier to disclosure – less than half (45 per cent) feel their manager understands their problems. Regular one-to-ones and catch-ups can help maintain good working relationships and build mutual trust. Ensure managers hold one-to-ones with their staff every four to six weeks. Managers must know what support is on offer to staff experiencing poor mental health and can advise on how to access it.

Be aware of your employees’ workload

Not only is this frequently mentioned as a primary source of stress, but those with the highest demands have less time to seek support. Over 1 in 4 employees are working more than 50 hours a week and three-quarters of those with an unmanageable workload had experienced anxiety multiple times in the last month. Employers need to ensure that employees’ workloads are manageable by providing extra support if needed and ensuring that job roles match their abilities and experience. Workload reviews and stress-risk assessments should be carried out on an ongoing basis as well as when jobs are being designed. Staff surveys can be an effective tool to capture information about wellbeing. Ensure you ask staff about things like their workload, leadership and management, opportunities for personal development and internal communication.

Ensure employees feel comfortable disclosing poor mental health

Half of the employees do not feel comfortable disclosing poor mental health at work, but the results suggest that employees are more likely to improve their situation. Managers should be upskilled on how to provide in-work support to staff who are experiencing a mental health problem, including how to handle disclosure, approach a conversation about mental health and explore support measures including reasonable adjustments. Organisations need to create an environment where employees and managers feel supported through the process.

Review and assess mental health and wellbeing support tools

Ineffective support can make an employee’s situation worse and in some cases having no support at all is less detrimental than having ineffective support (17 per cent of those with ineffective support said their situation got worse, compared to 5 per cent of those who had no support at all). Organisations should collect data and report on how often support tools are accessed by employees and request this information from suppliers (e.g. your EAP provider). You should also seek feedback from staff as to how easily accessible, effective and well-publicised your support tools are through regular employee surveys.

8 Top Video Job Interview Tips

1. Dress for Success

In preparation for your video interview, research the company culture before your interview so you have a good idea of what’s appropriate, you should dress professionally—the same way you would for an in-person interview.

To look your best on camera, avoid bright colours and opt for softer colours instead. If you are wearing a tie, wear a solid colour rather than a patterned one. If you wear glasses, adjust the lighting in the room to reduce glare from the lenses.

2. Good lighting is a must

Make sure your light source comes from behind your computer and directs towards your face and your background is not distracting.

Make sure you position the camera so that you are looking up slightly and centred on the screen.

Check your background is free from clutter and embarrassing items like laundry piles.

3. Preparation is key

When interviewing virtually, make sure you set up your laptop in a quite spot with little distractions. Let any people in your home know in advance when and where you will be interviewing so they know not to bother you.

Log in 10 minutes before your interview to ensure your audio and video are functioning properly.

Print out your CV and make notes that you can refer to in the interview.

4. Body language speaks volumes

Whether we realize it or not, we are constantly reading each other’s facial expressions and body language. Be confident, smile, make eye contact and actively listen to your interviewer throughout.

When you speak, you want to direct your gaze at the webcam. When you do this, your eyes are more likely to align with the interviewer’s eyes on the other end and help convey the same level of eye contact as an in-person interview.

Sit in your chair with your back straight and your shoulders open. Feet can be planted on the floor and arms can rest in your lap or on the desk.

5. Have well-versed answers at the ready for all the typical interview questions

  • Tell me about you
  • Why are you interested in working here
  • Why do you want to leave your current role
  • Can you provide an example of a weakness

6. Technology can lag

When speaking make sure you project your voice slightly to ensure the interviewer is not straining to hear you. When the interviewer is speaking make sure you pause before answering so as to make sure you are not speaking over them.

7. Ask questions.

Be prepared and have some questions written down about the job, the culture, the team and the organisation in general.

8. Close the interview by thanking them for their time

Thank them for their time and follow up with a thank you email later that day or the next. Think about adding something that you and the employer discussed while getting to know each other that will make the thank-you message more personal.

If you would like to talk to one of our team about a role please call or email us today.

Should salary expectations be shared in the job advert?

When a company is looking to hire and they are putting together the job spec to put out into the market, internally they have to agree on what that role is worth and the range they are willing to pay for that role, yet in many instances in today’s market when advertising companies only mention of salary is when they say ‘competitive salary’, what does that even mean and why do they insist on keeping it vague

Why don’t they do it?

Employers argue that if they put the salary on the job ad, they would be inundated with applications, but is this the real reason?

Some employers cite that they have never shared salary expectations, but recruitment practices evolve like every part of your organisation and not disclosing remuneration is quickly becoming an archaic way of doing things.

Employers might hope they can save money on talent. Although they think your position is worth £65k if they can get you for £55k they will. Although tacky and boarding on unethical, your manager may be pleased with you for saying them £10k but what is the cost in the long run and what kind of environment does this mentality breed.

Another reason employers argue they don’t provide the salary range is that it gives them more opportunity to look at a wider range of applicants.

Some employers say that they can’t show the salary because people already employed by them may become disgruntled. Keeping salary information private in the workplace helps mitigate jealousy and constant raise requests.

Who are the most likely to undervalue themselves when applying for jobs?

When offered a ‘competitive salary’, the most likely people to be undervalued are women, ethnic minorities, LGBTQ+, and people with a disability.

According to the charity Young Women’s Trust, women earn on average £223,000 less than men over the course of a lifetime based on data from the Office for National Statistics and shows that a gender income gap exists as soon as women start working.

The difference in pay between the sexes is largest among higher earners.

The difference in gross hourly earnings (excluding overtime) for men and women at the top and bottom decile and median, UK, 1997 to 2020, full-time employees.

What about across the United Kingdoms?

The gender pay gap varies substantially between regions. In every region of England, it is higher than in each of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

The gender pay gap is higher in all English regions than in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

The gender pay gap for median gross hourly earnings (excluding overtime) by work region, UK, April 1997 and 2020, full-time employees.

According to a recent survey by Hired.com in 2020 men were offered higher salaries than women 63% of the time. CEO Mehul Patel advised “There is a clear correlation between the gender wage gap and what we have identified as the ‘Expectation Gap’. The Expectation Gap is borne from a variety of external factors including lack of easily available compensation data and a phenomenon known as ‘imposter syndrome’ which, combined with other influences, further cement the wage gap. This is also true of many candidates of ethnic minorities and those identifying as LGBTQ+.”

What happens when you ban asking for salary history?

When companies were banned from asking about salary history in the US, it led to an average increase of 8% in pay offered to women candidates and a 13% increase for Black candidates.

Why shouldn’t companies try and save money on hiring?

As mentioned above it breeds inequality women, ethnic minorities, LGBTQ+ and people with a disability constantly undervaluing their skills and therefore are paid less money for the same role as their white male colleagues.

It also breeds toxicity in the workplace. If you work at a company where they are perceived as the boy’s club, where most workers are women but the leadership positions are men then this leads to a constant discussion on salary and leadership within this organisation and it can breed negativity and distracts people from focusing on the task at hand.

If you hire people for less than the competitive salary, they will likely leave and the cost to hire again and retain could outweigh the benefit of underpaying them.

In conclusion

Greater transparency will benefit both the employers and the applicants, the transparency creates a culture that provides openness and makes you feel welcome which leads to attracting a greater variety and diversity in applicants and reduces the pay gap for women ethnic minorities, LGBTQ+ and people with a disability.

About ea Change

We approach all associates with an inclusive mindset and strive to eliminate unconscious bias from our search and selection process. We continually monitor the diversity of our resource pools and share our insights with clients, providing complete transparency. In doing so, we actively support talent acquisition strategies by aligning our process with your inclusion and diversity objectives.

If you would like to talk to one of our team about a role please call or email us today.

Innovative Zero Headcount Graduate Scheme with a difference by ea Change

Cancellation of Graduate Schemes in 2020

In the grip of the global pandemic, a swathe of graduate schemes have been axed in a bid to save on costs and dampen the effects of Covid-19. This year, just 18% of graduates are securing jobs compared to the typical 60%[1]. With a deep recession caused by this year’s coronavirus pandemic, almost two in five graduate employers said they expected to hire fewer graduates or none at all in the next 12 months[2].

A reduced budget has not been the only cause for a decrease in graduate recruitment. As offices were vacated and remote working became the new norm, many organisations could not facilitate moving their graduate schemes online whilst offering the same level of training and experience they could usually provide. Large organisations such as HSBC and the BBC are delaying their programmes[3], leaving a large pool of high-level graduates looking for opportunities.

What do graduates offer?

With a median starting salary of £29,000[4], most employers look to employ graduates as a cheaper alternative to an experienced hire, with graduates willing to compromise on finance in order to gain valuable experience within a company. However, the benefits of graduate recruitment stretch much further than this. Recruiting a new generation of talent into your organisation can bring in a fresh and innovative mindset, with young people driven to excel in a new career after being in education for as long as they can remember. As graduates progress through this learning curve, they will also give the company a new perspective – likely to question how and why an approach is used, they can push your company to review existing methods.

Fresh out of university and programmed to learn quickly, graduates are often regarded as a blank canvas. Having not yet been influenced by another organisation, a graduate can be moulded to become a truly embedded part of your culture. These young minds are also adaptable to rapid change, with this level of agility a scarce commodity amongst experienced hires, and an attribute organisations in fast-evolving industries are crying out for.

As gen-Z join the workforce, they are the first wave of employees to have grown up surrounded by computers and the internet from a very early age. A unique generation with technology engrained in their genes, the current cohort of graduates will be the most adept at working with tech to date, and ready to support your company in analysing the latest trends in the digital age.

Challenges of Remote Recruitment and Training

With the ongoing global pandemic comes the need for an agile recruitment and onboarding process that can be taken care of remotely and yet still deliver on requirements. Even though there was a trend for digitalisation of the initial stages of the recruitment process before coronavirus, the complete loss of any face-to-face contact does present challenges.

At the moment many employers have never even met their new employees in person for months after they’ve commenced work – a strange and alien way of working which takes some adjusting to. This adjustment to completely digital recruitment, along with new technologies such as AI and machine learning taking hold in the recruitment process, has led 79% of respondents to say their company struggles to keep on top of technology changes within recruitment in a survey conducted by Forbes[5].

The remote on-boarding of a new employee can also be tough, making it hard to get to know the team, and making co-workers less available to assist than if they were in the same room. Onboarding is made even harder by current budget constraints, with 51% of employers cutting training budgets due to Covid-19[6]. This makes it all the more important that you obtain the best candidate for the job, with proven ability to ensure this process runs smoothly. A greater weight is being put on skills such as problem solving, self-discipline and being a good self-starter, as this skill set is essential to enable a successful start in a remote role.

Problems with Conventional Graduate Schemes

Risk associated with running a traditional graduate scheme is discouraging top firms from implementing this approach. Even before the effects of the global pandemic graduate recruitment was slowing down dramatically, with the Institute of Student Employers reporting in January 2020 that employers were planning to increase graduate-level recruitment by just 3%, in comparison to an 18% rise the previous year[7]. Lack of return on graduate investment can leave employers out of pocket, ploughing money and time into recruitment and training in the hope that graduates will stick with the company for years to come, only for them to up and leave at the end of their scheme, taking their skills and experience with them. Even if they choose to stay on, managers are often frustrated by the rotational nature of a traditional graduate scheme, with knowledge being lost when graduates move on to a different business area after months of training.

The structure of a conventional graduate scheme does not always meet the talent supply needs of the business. Inflexible timeframes which work to fit in with the academic year are often not aligned to a project’s start, so graduate talent is not trained and available when it is really needed. Organisations receive a huge influx of applications for internally run graduate schemes, therefore requiring dedicated teams to filter the applications and run the recruitment process. This also means that managers within the business often do not meet the graduate until they are employed within their teams.

In times when recruitment budgets have been slashed and a low headcount is key, the recruitment and training costs of a traditional graduate scheme are not feasible, and because of this many companies have completely written off the idea of graduate recruitment this year.

Why it is still worth investing in Graduates right now

Whilst the economy has been badly hit by the impact of Covid-19, this downturn will not last forever. With the end of lockdown in sight, the Bank of England have predicted GDP will recover rapidly towards pre-Covid levels over 2021, and confidently forecast growth of 7.25% in 2022[8]. There is a danger that companies who have skimped on their usual intake of graduates will soon be scrambling to meet their recruitment needs as growth returns to businesses over the next two years.

ea Futures Programme

The ea Futures programmes is a cost-effective and flexible graduate recruitment solution for companies looking to build a future high-performance change pipeline. Our ‘project analysts’ are hand-picked from a pool of high potential graduates with at least a 2:1 degree from a Russell Group university.

The recruitment process is completely taken care of by ea Change, as well as training in soft and hard skills and facilitation of industry recognised certifications and accreditations. By absorbing the initial cost of taking on a recent graduate and supplying deployment-ready project analysts, we offer an alternative to a traditional graduate scheme on a much tighter budget. They become part of the ea family and get deployed on-site with a client on a 12- or 24-month contract to be a project analyst.

The project analysts are employed by us, reducing the risk shouldered by you and having no effect on permanent headcount. After their fixed term, we charge no transfer fee should you decide to take them on as a permanent employee, but there is also no commitment to employment – effectively giving you the opportunity to ‘try before you buy’. Our project analysts can be on-boarded within challenging timeframes, working with your business’s resource demand.

If you would like to know more about our project analyst scheme, please gives us a call or email us to find out more.








[1] J. Jones. “The uncertain present and future for recent graduates.” Bbc.com. https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20200901-the-class-of-2020s-uncertain-present-and-future (Accessed Feb. 19th, 2021)

[2] S. Weale. “Majority of UK employers have had to cancel work experience due to Covid-19.” Theguardian.com. https://www.theguardian.com/money/2020/jul/29/majority-employers-cancel-work-experience-students-graduates-covid-19 (Accessed Feb. 19th, 2021)

[3] [Unknown author]. “Don’t let graduate schemes fall behind in the wake of Covid-19.” Managers.org.uk. https://www.managers.org.uk/knowledge-and-insights/article/dont-let-graduate-schemes-fall-behind-in-the-wake-of-covid-19-2/ (Accessed Feb. 19th, 2021)

[4] M. Grove. “Graduate salaries in the UK.” Luminate.prospects.ac.uk. https://luminate.prospects.ac.uk/graduate-salaries-in-the-uk (Accessed Feb. 22nd, 2021)

[5] C. Day. “Transforming Talent Acquisition Starts Yesterday.” Forbes.com. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2020/03/09/transforming-talent-acquisition-starts-yesterday/?sh=23ffe43d6cf9 (Accessed Feb. 23rd, 2021)

[6] C. Ball. “UK graduate labour market update: 17 February.” Luminate.prospects.ac.uk. https://luminate.prospects.ac.uk/uk-graduate-labour-market-update-17-february (Accessed Feb. 23rd, 2021)

[7] K. Makortoff. “UK employers will offer fewer entry-level jobs in 2020, figures suggest.” Theguardian.com. https://www.theguardian.com/money/2020/jan/06/uk-employers-fewer-entry-level-jobs-2020-survey (Accessed Feb. 22nd, 2021)

[8] J. Rojas. “UK economy will ‘recover rapidly’ as vaccines are rolled out this year, Bank of England predicts.” News.sky.com. https://news.sky.com/story/bank-of-england-sees-economy-recovering-rapidly-as-vaccines-rolled-out-12208428 (Accessed Feb. 24th, 2021)

The Future of Work – is the office environment dead?

Recently the BBC World Services put together a panel to discuss the future of work.

Hosted by Katya Adler

The panel included.

  • Nicolas Schmit: EU Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights
  • Molly Kinder: David M. Rubenstein Fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Programme
  • Manish Bahl: Senior Director, Centre for the Future of Work at Cognizant, Asia Pacific
  • Ivan Petrella: Former Director of Argentina 2030. Fellow of the Center for Internet and Society – Harvard University

On the podcast, they discussed whether we will ever go back to full-time working from an office again or will all offices be virtual going forward.

The Pandemic has dramatically changed the way we work, millions of people had to abruptly start working from home at the beginning of the pandemic and the majority are reluctant to go back into the office.

What will this mean for the future of work and how will it impact both employers and staff?

Ivan Petrella said the death of the office is exaggerated, human beings by nature are social creatures and like being together. He believes the office is here to stay as people are the most productive when with other people.

Another of the panel participants Manish Bahl thinks that the new normal post-pandemic will be a virtual environment and in-person meetings as and when needed. He believes that working from home is now the norm and firmly established and given rise to “remotopia” what remotopia means is remote working is the norm and can imagine homes of the future being built with home offices and current homes being retrospectively fitted with a home office. He agrees that the notion of the office is not dead but the idea of spending 40-50 hours a week will certainly be a thing of the past.

Molly Kinder was surprised how quickly her 5-year got up to speed in remote learning and her 75-year-old mother also was able to use video conferencing technology to communicate the majority of 2020. She believes we have embraced a digital world far greater than she anticipated. Although she also agrees that we are all missing human interactions, and we can see where some of these interactions are nowhere near the real thing. However, virtual doctor appointments are easy and perhaps instead of having to fly across the world to present at conferences, we can now do this at home which gives you more opportunity to present at a variety of events.

Molly Kinder also highlighted that when we talk about the ability to work from home, we are talking about white-collar jobs and that the lower and even middle-wage workers don’t have the luxury of working from home.

Nicolas Schmit thinks some meeting will continue virtually but thinks especially in the political sphere that they will move back to face to face meetings, even though as the host Katya Adler mentioned there has been criticism of these types of meetings where they talk about the future of the good of the world but take planes that are environmentally damaging. He also said he thinks we will move into a more hybrid model of working going forward. He added that he thinks companies will save money on office space and it will mean the reorganisation of our city centres.

The panel seemed to have mixed views on the future of work and although some would like a hybrid model, it may be hard to implement with clear guidelines of when you must be in the office and what is the value of you being there.

What are companies implementing in the UK post-pandemic?

The Future We also take a look further at the market companies and building societies are transforming their relationships with their employees for example Nationwide Building Society recently announced that 13,000 employees can work from anywhere when the pandemic is over. They have decided to implement this strategy after 57% of staff said they wanted to work from home full-time, a third (36%) wanted to have a hybrid model and only 6% wanted to go back into the office full-time. As staff will now be working from home as a result Nationwide will be closing three offices it has been leasing in Swindon.

Andrew Bailey, the governor of the Bank of England recently remarked that office working would never return to pre-pandemic patterns.

PWC recently announced you’ll be able to work from home a couple of days a week and start as early or late as you like. This summer you can knock off early on Fridays too. PwC chairman Kevin Ellis said he hoped this would make flexible working “the norm rather than the exception”.

According to City AM HSBC plans to halve office space globally and hot-desking when in the office will be the new normal. In the UK, in Canary Wharf they also plan to scrap the 42nd floor for executives. “Our offices were empty half the time because we were traveling around the world. That was a waste of real estate,” chief executive Noel Quinn told the Financial Times. “If I’m asking our colleagues to change the way that they’re working, then it’s only right that we change the way we’re working.”

Some of the UK largest lenders also plan to cut nearly 40% of their office space.

Lloyds Banking Group advised that it plans to cut 20% of its office space after surveying their employees showed 78% of its 68,000 staff advised they prefer to always work from home.

Barclays Chief executive Jes Staley last April seemed to agree with the idea of reducing real estate but has since then seemed to have reevaluated “putting 7,000 people in a building may be a thing of the past” to now showing resistance to the idea of giving up the office space. He said in February 2021 “it’s remarkable it’s working as well as it is, but I don’t think it’s sustainable.” In the City AM he was quoting as saying in February 2021 “It is important to get people back together in physical concentrations. We want our people back together, to make sure we ensure the evolution of our culture and our controls, and I think that will happen over time.”

Standard Chartered will also cut a third of its space within four years, while Metro Bank said it would cut some 40% and make more use of branches.

David Solomon, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs, has called working from home an “aberration”, adding that it “is not ideal for us and it’s not a new normal.”

JPMorgan has also noticed a pattern with its work-from-home employees. Chief executive Jamie Dimon reportedly told analysts that productivity was particular affected on Mondays and Fridays and for its younger employees. However, he recently outlined Hybrid plans for some employees: “As a result, for every 100 employees, we may need seats for only 60 on average. This will significantly reduce our need for real estate”.

And it is not just the banks that are cutting office space, the insurance company Aviva has also advised it will reduce office space by 30% by the end of 2021.

Re-evaluating office space

KMPG recently did a survey of 500 firms globally with CEOs which found more than three-quarters of chief executives also wanted the government to encourage people to return to offices before employers themselves started to request it and that they wanted vaccination rates to exceed half the population before they started to encourage staff back to the office.

The pandemic is acting as the catalyst for changes that were already afoot, says FreeOfficeFinder. Remote working was on the rise prior to the pandemic, and according to a Gartner survey of company leaders, 80% plan to allow employees to work remotely at least part-time following the pandemic.

But it’s not just remote working that is prompting companies to seek out smaller spaces. In the short-term at least, FreeOfficeFinder predicts companies will favour private or self-contained offices over open-plan coworking areas for hygiene reasons: it’s easier to control footfall and the risk of cross-contamination is lower.

In the Financial Times they predict a hybrid approach with a mix of office and home-based working. The hope in many companies is that this sort of working pattern will allow employees to do focused work at home, reduce commutes and enable them to better balance professional and personal lives. In turn, offices will become a destination for innovation, collaboration, networking, coaching and socializing.

The future of work looks to be a Hybrid model for most.

It seems that most companies are favouring a hybrid model of work, but this comes with its own challenges and needs structure and processes so that everyone is clear with what is expected on them in the post-pandemic working environment. Without clear structure, processes, and guidance, teams will set their own agendas and could mean people who work from home miss out on being part of the decision-making process. Danny Harmer, chief people officer at Aviva, the UK insurer said “if companies don’t issue clear guidance, she worries that it will lead to presenteeism in the office”.

However Quora is suggesting a different solution for both the office employees and the remote employees join meetings from their laptops so no one is left out of the meeting Adam D’Angelo, Quora’s CEO, says it “is a much better experience for everyone in the meeting since they can see everyone’s face clearly, ensures everyone is on a level playing field . . . and prevents the side conversations and crosstalk that make remote employees feel excluded when half the team is joining from an office video conferencing room”.

The office environment is not dead, but it does need to adapt.

Hybrid working looks to be the way of the future but in order for it to work a variety of actions need to be taken for companies to be successful in the new way of working.

Offices need to be adapted to provide more rooms with the technology to support large video conferences from home workshops.

There needs to be processes in place, so everyone has the ability to participate in their team environment.

Employers need to outline clearly what they expect from employees in the future and how often they expect to see them in the office if at all.

New processes will need to be implemented to support the Hybrid culture, what does that mean for the current culture, and is it still fit for purpose?

The new Hybrid working will require training for all the managers and the employees to feel comfortable that they can work from home without feeling expected to come into the office.

As with every change made in business, the hybrid model will be ever-evolving and transforming over the coming years, but the key point is to remember is to listen to your employees and keep them involved in the planning and implantation of the new way of working.

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ea Change are experts in business transformation, if you would like support in creating or delivering this new way of working, please give us a call or send us an email , and someone in our team would be happy to help.

10 tips for successful change management project

Big or small, change efforts seem to run into the same brick walls over and over again. According to various pieces of research, such as the Harvard Business Review and Forbes and people such as John Kotter70% of change projects fail.

Here are 10 tips for a successful change management project.

  1. Your why is imperative, map out why you want to make the change and how you envisage it adding value for all those impacted by the change programme.
  2. Map out your end goal and timeline with phases, however, expect it to change and evolve over the life-cycle of the project.
  3. Executive buy-in paramount, engage your leaders and articulate that this change is urgent. People need to know that your executive team is on board and aligned with the vision of the transformation. Leaders must commit to exhibiting a positive outlook and willingness to change behaviour as well as processes.
  4. Create a team of change-makers and ensure everyone knows their roles and responsibilities for creating, testing and implementing.
  5. Communication is key, think about how the change project will impact your audience and tailor the message accordingly by employing targeted communication plans that engage and motivate your employees through the life-cycle of the project and give them an understanding of why the change is taking place and how the change will impact them.
  6. Work with middle management, provide them with the tools and understanding as to why the change is taking place and get them on board to share a positive message with their teams.
  7. Implement the technology that is right for you and your plans for the future, the technology needs to be one that people see the advantages and that will save time for employees to be able to focus on the important things such as provide a better customer experience.
  8. Have metrics that you can track and provide guidance on how your team can achieve these as this will help them be motivated towards the goals.
  9. Celebrate successes and communicate them to the wider employees and make them feel part of the journey.
  10. Effective training is non-negotiable, you must ensure that the employees feel they have the right level of support and that the tools they have been provided make things easier not harder to do their job.

And There You Have It! 10 Tips on How to Manage Change Successfully

Follow the processes and get other’s buy-in and it should have a huge impact and if you need any help give us a call or send us an email.