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Is Virtual the Future for Shared Services / GBS?

Introduction

Prior to COVID-19 many leading Shared Services / GBS organizations had some type of flexible work arrangement policies in place as a way to improve morale and create trust with employees by allowing them the flexibility to work around childcare and other non-work activities that are difficult to accomplish outside of work hours.  When these arrangements expanded beyond flex time, employees were able to work from home for part of their workweek, giving them additional flexibility to schedule their work time and reduce time and costs for commuting to the office.

With COVID-19, flexible work arrangements took a major leap forward for all Shared Services around the world, with a dramatic shift to support the majority of work activities taking place remotely, and most often from an employee’s home.  Now, after two years of COVID, Shared Services leaders are wondering how their plans for remote working in the future compare with the plans of other leading Share Services organizations.

iPolling Results Review

The results from a recent Peeriosity poll provides instant insight to how companies approached virtual work arrangements, and what current plans are for returning to the office in the next six months. Read more to know if virtual is the future of shared services / GBS

Regarding the percentage of Peeriosity Member Companies workforce that was working from home or remotely for at least 12 months during the pandemic, the results indicate that 30% of companies had 100% of their workforce working virtually, with 45% in the range of 76% to 99%, and the remaining 25% in the range of 51 to 75%.  No one selected any options of 50% or less.  Here are the details:

percentage of shared services who's working from home for at least 12 months | is virtual the future for shared services

The second polling question asked Peeriosity members how likely it is that the majority of their Shared Services workforce will return to the office fulltime within the next six months.  For 40%, returning to the office fulltime in the next six months is not likely, with 35% indicating it is somewhat likely, and the remaining 25% expecting a fulltime return to the office within six months to be very likely.  No companies indicated that they were already back, almost 2 years from the beginning of the pandemic.

is virtual the future? | results of the shared services workforce that will return to the office

 

A few of the comments from members include:

  • We are scheduled to go back 3 days per week on February 1 unless the COVID infection rates remain high. We postponed a January 4 return due to the high rate of new infections.
  • Many centers will continue a hybrid schedule.
  • We are moving to a work from home 2 days per week, and 3 days in the office. At this point in the US, all colleagues are required to be in the office at least 1 day per week.
  • We are on a hybrid schedule – (office three days per week).
  • We are mostly working from home.
  • Our service centers will comply with country protocols. We will likely have more flexible arrangements for our employees.

Closing Summary

For Peeriosity member companies, responding to COVID-19 required quick and decisive action that pushed the boundaries for how Shared Services work activities are performed.   Temporary measures soon became long-term with member companies shifting to a virtual work model for the majority of staff for a year or more.  For many, a return to the office in some capacity is likely within the next six months, depending on how quickly the virus can be contained in 2022.  As this transition takes place, the rules will have changed dramatically, with many new models emerging to support in-person team interactions for a portion of the workweek and allow remote working for part of the week for most employees.

What percentage of your company’s Shared Services workforce worked virtually for 12 months or more in response to COVID-19?  Are you planning to have employees return to the office within the next 6 months, and if yes, what will be the requirements for how many days in the office for members of your Shared Services team?

Who are your peers and how are you collaborating with them?

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 “iPolling” is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from participating or accessing content. Members have full visibility to all respondents and their comments. Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer Mail, members can easily communicate at any time with others who participated in iPolling.

Peeriosity members are invited to log into www.peeriosity.com to join the discussion and connect with Peers.   Membership is for practitioners only, with no consultants or vendors permitted.  To learn more about Peeriosity, click here.

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