Why your workplace strategy is now your talent strategy with Tushar Agarwal

How to retain talent through a flexible workplace approach.

Tushar's headshot alongside New World of Work logo

Welcome to New World of Work: a podcast exploring the new frontier of the modern workforce. In each episode, we’ll hear from some of the world’s best and brightest people and culture experts on the cutting-edge topics HR professionals are most interested in today, explored through a global lens.

Episode description

The recent shift to remote work has helped many people find a better work/life balance, more autonomy, and a flexible schedule that suits their lifestyle. The option to work remotely has become a non-negotiable for many job seekers, and companies that don’t offer it will struggle to attract and retain qualified staff. In this episode, Rhys sits down with Tushar Agarwal, the co-founder and CEO of Hubble, to learn how the shift to remote work will change real estate needs for enterprises everywhere. Hubble helps businesses like Accenture, Trustpilot and Oddbox navigate this new remote working landscape, offering access to a global network of on-demand workspaces, a curated set of remote work perks and much more. During the episode, Tushar offers his perspective on how the shift to remote work has brought on new and evolving real estate needs like the downsizing of office space or the addition of new elements like hoteling stations or collaboration rooms. He also offers his insights into the remote working world, sharing tips for business leaders hoping to provide their teams with more flexibility and the freedom of choice.

Episode transcript

Rhys: Welcome to New World of Work: a podcast exploring the new frontier of the modern workforce. 

I’m Rhys Black, Head of Workplace Design at Oyster, a global employment platform making it easier than ever to build a brilliant team on an international scale.

On New World of Work, we’ll hear from some of the world’s best and brightest people and culture experts on cutting-edge topics that people ops professionals need to hear today, all through a global lens.  

Join us as we navigate this new world of work together and learn more about each other along the way. 

If there’s one thing we can say with certainty about the pandemic, it’s that it’s resulted in some fundamental changes that could be here to stay for good. 

For example, the shift to remote work has helped many people find a better work/life balance, more autonomy, and a flexible schedule that suits their lifestyle.

The option to work remotely has become a non-negotiable for many job seekers today. Companies that don’t offer it will struggle to attract and retain the best talent.

In fact, nearly half of employees say they would leave a company that imposed a return-to-office mandate.

Along with the shift to remote work comes new and evolving real estate needs. For example, companies may need to downsize their office space, or add new elements like collaboration rooms and event space.

In this episode, I’m sitting down with Tushar Agarwal, the co-founder and CEO of Hubble, to learn how remote work will change real estate needs for enterprises everywhere. Hubble helps businesses like Accenture, Trustpilot and Oddbox navigate this new remote working landscape. It offers access to a global network of on-demand workspaces, a curated set of remote work perks, and much more.

Tushar offers his insights into the remote working world, sharing tips for business leaders hoping to provide their teams with more flexibility and the freedom of choice. 

He kicked off our discussion by sharing more about his background and Hubble’s founding story.

Tushar: my name is Tushar Aggarwal, and I'm the co-founder and CEO of Hubble, which is Hubble Newcomb and I been I founded this business eight years ago back in 2014, and we started off as a pure play Airbnb for office space. So that was really about businesses letting out their spare desks or spare capacity that they had in their office to other businesses on a really flexible basis. And then, as the flexible office market grew and exploded and we started to see brands like we work, we ended up sort of becoming a little bit like a Booking.com or Expedia for the market where you could come online, you could search for flexible office space, whether you are a small business or a large one, and you could do everything automatically on the website. And very recently, as we've gone through this period of COVID and a huge amount of change in how people think about where and how they work, we've really repositioned Hubble as a hybrid working platform. So that's really enabling businesses of all sizes to configure the right blend of workspace for them, whether that's being office first, whether that's hybrid and sort of, you know, a mix of office working from home and on demand workspace or whether that's even being remote first where you don't have a full time office as such, but you may be working from home and you may be working from on demand workspace, too. So that's really been the evolution of Hubble over the past eight years, and this is my second job after working for my sins in investment banking and finance before this.

The idea for Hubble was really around thinking about why it was incredibly difficult to get commercial good access to commercial property on a flexible basis. So one of the things that I wasn't aware of when I first started my job in investment banking was that a typical commercial real estate lease, whether that's a retail space or warehouse space or an office space in the western world was somewhere between 10 to 20 years. So if you were a business looking to start a store, start a shop or look for a new office, you had no choice but to commit to on a 10 year basis or not have a store, an office at all. And the way that that problem was highlighted to me was I had a bunch of friends who was trying to start their new businesses and really struggling to get access to commercial premises. And also in my job in banking, we were advising some of the largest companies on the planet, and they were looking to figure out whether they could raise debt, whether they could raise equity or whether they could finance an acquisition. And part of my job was to look at their finances and look at their balance sheet. And you could see that so many of these larger companies had huge amounts of commercial real estate leases and liabilities sitting there, and they would frequently say to us, this is a lot of real estate actually that we're not really using, but we can't really get out of it because we're locked in for the long term. So that starts to form this idea in my head that actually over the next five to 10 years, 20 years, as it becomes easier and easier for people to start businesses as people become more mobile due to mobile technology and essentially business life becomes less and less stable, people are going to need access to flexible commercial leases. And for me, office space was was was really the key problem that we kept hearing over and over again. And there's already other platforms addressing that within the retail space as well. So that was really the inception of Hubble of how can we democratize access to really great office space for businesses that don't want to commit to really expensive long term leases?

The challenge that we're helping businesses with is really helping them figure out what their blend of workspace should be based on what the employees want and also what the employer wants. So we've actually got a set of tools to help analyze employee preferences, to actually survey those employees deeply and be able to figure out where and how they want to work. And then we essentially help companies use that data to be able to configure the right mix of space based on whatever data is coming out.

Rhys: Many businesses are struggling to find the sweet spot of remote and in-office work. It can be confusing to determine what your employees want, and what kind of setup will best serve existing and prospective clients.

In a post-COVID world, Tushar says that most organizations are looking to tailor their experience according to the needs of each specific team, department and employee.

Tushar: In terms of trends, I guess the key trend that we've seen is that pre-COVID, for most knowledge workers, irrespective of what sector you were in, how big your company was, if you were a knowledge worker, the assumption was that you would be expected to come into an office to work five days a week, and there was some flexibility around the fringes before. The main thing that we've seen post-COVID really is that the workplace experience people are demanding workplace experience be personalized down to an individual level, down to team level and organization level. So, you know, different organizations, even within the same sector, are adopting wildly different strategies. So you would have seen Goldman Sachs have very publicly come out and said that we are all going back to the office full time. And that's how we work. And if you don't like it, you can go work somewhere else. But then you've seen also that Goldman Sachs competitors like UBS and Citigroup have said, Actually, we're going to work in a hybrid way. We don't need you to come back full time. Similarly, in technology, you've seen Netflix say that they're going to come back to the office full time. And Reed Hastings is a very vocal proponent of full time office working. On the flip side, you've got a company like Spotify who are letting their employees decide whether they are remote first or whether they are office first. And you can choose to opt into either and either is fine and they'll help you figure out what that is. So I think the key trend that we've seen is people are really starting to rethink what the office is for from first principles and really the the core reasons for not working remotely and working and getting together in-person tend to be around three key use cases. So the first use case is collaboration. People prefer to collaborate in person if they can. And so people are accessing, particularly on demand work space to get their team together, to do a brainstorm, to do a weekly meeting of a department or whatever that is. Secondly, it's around clients. So, you know, as we move out of lockdown winning clients as a competition. And so if your competitor is taking your potential client out for fancy lunches and dinners and you're trying to get them on a 20 minute Zoom call, you may lose that client. And so there's certainly an arms race in terms of getting back in front of clients face to face that people can. And so we're starting to see fiscal workspace be used for that. And third is around culture, and I don't necessarily believe that culture can only be built in the office. However, we are starting to see companies, even those who are remote, first wanting to get all of that team together on a frequent basis, whether that's every month or every quarter, every six months, just so people can form those real human bonds. And people become friends rather than, you know, a person on a screen that they see almost on a daily basis. So I think most companies, large and small, are understanding that that is where they want people to come together, but they don't necessarily need people to be together eight to 12 hours a day, five days a week for most of that work to happen. As long as that, there is a huge amount of trust in the organization that everyone is going to do the job that they want to do. So I think we're just entering this. Absolutely fascinating era where we've left full time office working behind in history as a as a relic of the industrial revolution because that's where it started, you know, that started on the factory floor. The concept of clocking in, clocking out was on the factory floor, and we still use that terminology today for office working. And it was a sort of a legacy behavior that we perpetuated for hundreds of years. And it took something like a global pandemic and home working at scale for us to start to rethink of why we why do we actually do that? And is this the way that we should work going forward? Or is there going to be something different that we can do?

I think the great thing about the world we’re entering now is that not every company across every sector has to look the same. You can be a software engineer at Netflix and really enjoy going into the office every day because that's what you want and that's what everyone else there wants. Or you can be a software engineer at Spotify and decide to remote live a remote first nomadic life. And you see the colleagues that you work with once every six months at a big, you know, team offsite and you're happy with that. So I think certainly that personalization and people gravitating towards what they what they like. I think that's that's a good thing because we're all different. And you know, that was that was also the point of. The branding that you've seen from people like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan or Netflix, where they've pretty much asking people to self-select themselves, they've said we are an office first culture. We. Will be a great place for people who want to work in this way, so come and join us, and if you don't like it, that's absolutely fine. You can join a competitor of ours who works in a completely different way. I think the other thing worth talking about here is different roles within organizations. So. Typically, you're starting to see. Different roles wants to work in person more than. Other roles, so in our own company, we we see our sales team, customer support team, generally customer facing individuals who prefer to be in the office. Most of the time, and that's not five days a week, that's typically on average three days a week. And also even when they are not working from the company office, actually working outside their homes in a local co-working space or whatever that is. And we also see our software engineering team who does like to do the opposite where they actually prefer to be working from home most of the time. Sometimes they'll use on demand workspaces and they'll come into the company office occasionally. And whilst that's not universally true, those trends are generally seeming to be true across most of our client base. I think there's always exceptions to that. There sometimes salespeople who prefer to actually be at home because they're going to be on the phone 12 hours a day and they'd much rather not bother their colleagues or overhear the noise from all their colleagues. Actually being at home is perfect for them. And on the flip side, you also have engineers who prefer to do pair programing together. So if you have an engineer learning from another engineer, they much prefer to do that in person than do that remotely or virtually. So there's always exceptions to that, but I think you'll start to see that difference happening across different departments, which attract different sorts of individuals which have different sorts of roles and different ways that they are.

Rhys: Although the option to work remotely has become a key selling feature for attracting and retaining talent, it’s a slightly different story when it comes to client service.

At a fundamental level, nearly every business on the planet is selling something. 

We depend on human relationships to function as a society, and it can be easier to form those relationships through high-quality, in-person interactions rather than a quick Zoom call here and there. 

While there are some exceptions to this rule, many companies are still set on offering an in-person, face-to-face customer experience post-pandemic.

Tushar: If you look at the comments again, we go back to Goldman Sachs and we even look at what Jamie Dimon, who's the CEO of JP Morgan, said they got a lot of flack for saying that everyone is everyone within those companies has to go back to the office. But actually, the extended version of that quote is that it was a message to their clients saying guys will be back on trains, planes and cars to come see you as soon as we can. And it was a really a commitment to the level of service and level of relationship that they want to say that they have with their clients and they will sort of move heaven and earth to make sure that their clients get a high level of service. And I think, you know, that's example from the financial services industry, but across most industries, you're having to sell. At some point, someone with an organization is having to sell something to someone else unless you're purely consumer e-commerce. But I think, you know, face to face selling, building relationships, building bonds is very much a human trait. And and I think, of course, lots of selling can be done remotely, and it also depends on who your client is. If they're used to working in a remote way, then of course, you could sell to them remotely. But there's still a lot of people who are very traditional in the way they want to do business, particularly how they want to do client business. You know, we work in the real estate sector. The real estate sector takes lots of pride in getting together in person and doing deals over lunch and dinner, and they get a lot of fun out of it. And they felt that all the fun had been wiped out over the last couple of years from the sector itself as well. So, yeah, I think I think that's certainly how lots of people are thinking about it. If my competitor is going to jump on a Zoom call. I will make sure that I'm taking my client out for lunch and we'll see who wins in the long term.

If we look at who uses an office is typically knowledge workers. The vast majority of knowledge workers somewhere like the U.K. or the Western world work in services sectors, financial services, consulting, media, arts, PR. They're all services sectors. So in those sectors, they're still a high value placed on in-person. The frequency of in-person can probably come down quite significantly. You can do update meetings on Zoom over a call. And what used to be face to face every week and maybe be face to face once a month or once every three months. But certainly there is a, you know, a pride there. I mean, I personally have seen I used to be someone who did most of my meetings face to face. And I would say now about just less than a third of my meetings are face to face. And I do get a lot of efficiency out of being able to do 10 or 12 Zoom calls in a day vs. only be able to do for in-person meetings in the day because I've got to travel half an hour an hour here or there across town to to see people. And it's made even harder when your first two meetings of the day are in-person, then your third ones on Zoom, then your fourth one's in-person, your fifth one on Zoom. That makes life even harder than before.

I think people do appreciate the level of efficiency that you can gain, and it's really all about the frequency in which you need to meet people, right? So one of the big arguments that's placed upon full time office working is how can you possibly build culture and collaboration and all this sort of stuff without everyone working together all of the time? And the way that we think about this is how do people form friendships? So, you know, there's there's lots of stages in our lives that overdeliver who our friends are for a long period of our lives, whether that's going to school, going to university or college, starting at your first company, as a fresh graduate, you're in this sort of intense period where you meet lots, lots of people, lots of your peers and then you form these friendships. And I think as we get older, we see that in order to maintain those friendships, you don't need to see those people every single day anymore. You can have a WhatsApp message with them once a week. You could go see with them for dinner once every couple of months because the foundation was formed and the maintenance actually doesn't require daily interaction anymore. And I think that's really the same thing that you can see with within organizations where people are trying to foster this bond between employees. You can actually do lots of intense activities together to form that initial bond and that foundation. And then you can actually be a remote first organization or hybrid organization with people meeting infrequently but are in touch digitally to maintain those bonds. And I think the same thing can be managed for clients where you can have an intense period upfront where your what are wining dining that client or you're meeting them for in person once every three months, but the interactions in between can be done digitally or remotely. So it's it's a fascinating thing, and we're really going back to first principles on both human behavior and also work etiquette and efficiency versus impacts. And everyone is trying to wrestle all of these dynamics at the same time, and it's absolutely fascinating.

Rhys: Ultimately, navigating this changing world of work is one big lesson in human behaviour and social dynamics.

Companies aren’t just choosing where their employees will do their work: they’re making a statement about their identity - Because the environment you choose to work in says a lot about who you are as a company and what you value most.

From now on, Tushar says a company’s real estate strategy is equivalent to its talent strategy.

Tushar: So your workplace strategy is now your talent strategy is a phrase that I've been saying now for the past year or so, if not longer. And the reason for that is purely we were we're entering an era, especially after two years of lockdowns where most knowledge workers across the planet. Have demonstrated that they don't need to be in an office full time to get work done and be productive. So as we enter this post-COVID world, those same employees are demanding the same level of flexibility, autonomy and choice over where they work and if they don't get that from their employer. Nearly 40 percent of them are saying that they will leave an employer that mandates a full time office policy because really, for them, they've demonstrated that they don't need to be in an employer mandated place of work to get work done. They hugely value the flexibility that comes with choosing where they work and how they work, and that is really akin to, you know, a big lifestyle improvement that they've seen and most people have seen over the past couple of years. And it's not something that they're going to let go very lightly. And we've started to see surveys where people are saying that, you know, they would prefer the ability to work flexibly over taking a pay rise. People would leave companies that don't. People that don't let them work in the way that they want. And you've also cited see this four day workweek as well starts a great start to gain ground again within sort of public opinion. So it really has created this huge power shift from employer to employee, where employees have a have a lot more say in how and where they want to work. So now if you are an H.R. manager or you're an H.R. director, I'm pretty sure that your existing employees and anyone that you've tried to hire has asked you in the last 12 to 18 months. So how did you guys work? Are you remote? Are you hybrid? What's the expectation to come back to in the office? And really, those same people are in charge of retaining talent and hiring talent. So if you give the wrong answer to an existing employee or to a prospective employee, you've got a pretty high risk that either that new employee won't join your firm or the existing employee will leave, and that is now become almost table stakes in hiring and retaining staff because people value it so much.

So you have to make a huge amount of sacrifice in order to go and commute to an HQ in the center of a main city every day. And when lockdown happened, people started to regain some of that control. People moved out of London, people started to commute less. People started to see their family. More people move to countries with much better weather. You know, Lisbon and the Caribbean benefited from remote workers for more than more than anywhere else. And so to then now give that up all over again for a reason that seems race of the arbitrary to some people is a big, big decision to make, especially when you have more and more employers who are willing to give employees that flexibility, autonomy and choice. And so you'd much rather go work for an equivalent employer who's willing to pay you a similar salary in a similar sector for a similar role. And you get to work the way you want versus a company that is being much more dogmatic. So, you know, I really think it is the single most important question that comes up in nearly every hiring interview in the H.R. manager. Check in. So much so that LinkedIn released a feature three months ago where every company profile page has the ability to say whether your office first hybrid or remote. So and we know LinkedIn is the largest recruiting recruiting network on the planet.

Rhys: With all of these changes happening at a mile a minute in the workforce, it’s logical that the next step in the evolution would be major infrastructure changes.

Tushar confirmed that we’re already beginning to see a ripple effect reflected in our physical office spaces. However, these changes will continue unfolding over a longer period of time given the nature of real estate.

Tushar: it's something which can't change overnight because the nature of the property sector is something which is long term. It takes quite a while to change these cases because there's too many stakeholders involved. There's the landlords, there's the local councils, there's lots of things going on there. We have started to see lots of demand for workspaces in. Places where people live in residential areas, whether that's the suburbs or even rural areas, funnily enough, in the UK, some of the best internet coverage is actually in the most rural areas because of where these changes are. So we have started to see that, of course, especially those who live significantly further out and have decided they're not going to move back into a city like London itself. That's certainly going to happen, I think, in terms of residential being created in places where there was commercial. I think that would happen purely because house prices are so high that they're pricing most people out. So if there is a bunch of commercial space that is unlikely to be used or utilized, then yes, it does make sense from a local government perspective to change the use case into residential to open up more and more capacity. So I think we will start to see that, but it's going to be something that happens relatively gradually because of the nature of real estate itself. I think in general. What I wanted to mention around co-working spaces is that co-working spaces started off, and this is generally still the you know what people's assumption is of co-working spaces, that it's a big open plan office. You kind of go in and you get a hot desk and you kind of work from there. But that market has moved on and matured quite considerably over the past, you know, six or seven years where actually a most of these co-working spaces are not these noisy open plan spaces where you drop in and have a coffee and everyone's loud. Most of actually the real estate within the building has private offices for teams, and it's more around viewing that as a as a hotel experience or hospitality experience than it is around, you know, moving from an environment where you had a private office for yourself and now you have to go work in hot desk environment, which you think is relatively chaotic. It's not really the café and coffee shop that we all think it is. It's really around most of its high quality office space private offices for four teams themselves, with some room to sort of drop in and work as you wish as well. So I think I think that's I think the nature of that because that's becoming more and more sophisticated and the brands are also becoming quite varied. You can go to a brand which is very professional, feels like a very smart five star hotel, or you can go to a brand which is geared towards one particular sector. Or you can go its own brand, which is cheap and cheerful. And the prices reflect that and the furnishings reflect that. It starts to look a little bit more like the hotel market where you have we work and reach us. So we're kind of like the Hilton and Marriott, like the big brands everyone knows that are sort of same across the world. Then you've got this long tail of all these independent brands. You've got something different to offer. And I think that level of variety as well and variety and environment is something which is starting to become more and more appealing to people because remember, that work is not a singular thing for most knowledge workers. We're doing a series of activity over the course of a day, a week or a month. It could be meeting a client. It could be doing deep thinking on your own. It could be collaborating with the rest of your department. It could be holding an event for clients. All of those activities warrants different physical environments and would benefit from different physical environments. So again, just thinking about what is the best physical space for the outcome that I want to achieve is something that people start to think about again as well.

So transfer wise, Shopify and Salesforce have looked at their existing office buildings, and they are typically all on long term leases, 10 15 year leases. And they actually spent huge amount of time over lockdown reconfiguring that space to be able to suit the use cases. So they stripped out a lot of the solo desks and that, you know, a lot of the space that people just get their heads down and work. And they replaced that with social spaces, meeting spaces, collaboration spaces, client spaces. And so, yeah, I think the the ratio of collaboration space to solo spaces almost completely inverted in lots of those buildings. And if you look at some of the visions that someone like Google has, so Google is, you know, quite interesting because they are the ones who pioneered the front office. So the Google plaques 20 years ago was this thing of wonder where people are like, Oh, there's all these fancy colors and slides and bikes all around campus, and they were the first people to almost bring the home into the office, the creature comforts of home into the office and make the office nicer than most people's homes. They kind of pioneered that. And now, 20 years later, when hybrid working is taking off, they're looking to pioneer. Once again, they're saying We're not going to be a remote organization because we believe we have really great spaces for people to do really great work. And we're going to spend a lot of time innovating around the sort of physical spaces that people work in. And some of their designs involve really great hybrid meetings. So you essentially pop into a booth which has sort of screens all around for people who are dining and remotely. And they basically have this like lossless audio and an eye tracking software. So it means that actually people can look each other in the eye even if they're working remotely. You've got these sort of privacy balloons, so if you're working in a big co-working space, you can press a button. This balloon sort of inflates around you, which creates this noise canceling sort of solution around you. So the person next to you isn't disturbed by you being on a phone call. So you know they're pioneering this next wave of how do we design an office that supports how people want to work? But we still very much believe that people will come into the office or should come into the office at least part of the time.

Rhys: Technology has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for companies all over the globe. Although in many ways, the working world has become simpler, the paradox of choice means that many employers are feeling overwhelmed by the options.

This is where companies like Hubble come in. Tushar shared a few simple steps employers can take to ensure they’re keeping their employees—and their clients—happy.

Tushar: I think the first step is, if you haven't already done this is to. Just speak to your employees, survey them, ask them lots of questions around how they want to work, but not only just how and what, but also why. And I think the why will surface a lot more insights than just asking people what they want. And I think once you've got those insights, then you have to look at your own real estate portfolio to see how you can use, how you can use that. So if you're already sitting in a long term lease and you've got an office, then maybe the best thing to do is is there any sort of reconfiguration of the space that we should be doing to make sure that people are much happier? Is there actually a bunch of employees that we have who? For them, it's really difficult to come in on a on a regular basis, so we should actually give them access to a network of on demand spaces that they can use outside of the company headquarters. I think if you are coming up on a on a lease renewal or you have the ability to essentially be a bit more flexible about what office you should have, then you have the luxury of starting from first principles. So you can sort of decide, okay, based on that employee data and based on what the C-suite and the employer is saying, maybe we can start off with an office of this size and this location, give employees access to workspaces on demand that they can use as a when they want, and we can just see how this goes and we are able to sort of then it's right on that and learn from that over time. So I think a lot of it comes down to if you know what your employees want and why they want it, you can make a lots of good decisions and you can sort of assess what's within your control and what's not within your control.

Rhys: The past two years have brought on a lifetime of new developments in the workforce. 

If we can accomplish this much in a matter of months, what could be in store for the future? Tushar shared some of his predictions for the next five to 10 years with me.

Tushar: I think the workplace experience will be personalized down to the organization, team and individual. And I think that different people will just work in different ways, but they'll be connected and unified by what they're doing for the company and their team. And sometimes even timezone. I think time zone is still going to be a bit of a challenge for companies that don't work fully asynchronously and sometimes asynchronous works for some departments, that doesn't work for others. I think the other thing that we'll see is we will start to see the. The center of gravity that city centers have around office working starts to weaken, and I think we'll start to see a migration of knowledge workers into parts of the world that have a high quality of life. Good weather, you know, whatever that is. But maybe few economic opportunities. So if you think about parts of the world like the Caribbean or even southern Europe, some of the most beautiful places on the planet, relatively low cost of living, depending which country you go to. But the economic opportunities there aren't as good as if you lived in London or New York, for example. So I think you will see a migration of knowledge workers to pursue a high quality of life and what they may sacrifice as a result of that is living in a big city. They may sacrifice the options of companies that they can workforce about, opt to work for hybrid or remote companies or in hybrid remote roles. And those economies themselves have really benefit from this migration knowledge workers who may then start to start local businesses there. And actually, that may end up being the economic revival of a lot of these countries who have fallen behind the London and New York and Paris over the world over the past 100 years or so. Yeah, and I think the third thing is that. I don't believe that in-person interaction at work will go away. I think it will just become more and more intentional, and people will just become a lot smarter around when they decide to interact in person versus when they decide to interact virtually. And actually, I do believe that the virtual world of work will continue to gain steam beyond just video conferencing platforms and beyond just messaging platforms into, you know, the metaverse, for example. I do believe that there is potentially a future where talent is so decentralized that you can be an avatar or a pseudonym in the metaverse, and you can be fully employed by a company who has no idea who you are, but you're essentially being compensated for the work that you do because it's really easy to measure your output and to be able to pay you for that output. So I actually think that there's an extrapolation of the gig and freelancer economy into essentially anonymous workers who are working fully digitally and being paid exactly for what output they have as well.

Rhys: It’s fascinating to think about what the future may hold for the working world. Tushar has provided us with some great insights into what we can expect to see over the next few years in terms of remote and hybrid working environments.

Here are some of my key takeaways from this episode: 

  • First, one of the key workplace trends we’re seeing today is personalization. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach that will suit every company, industry, or employee. With so many options available now, we can all choose our own adventure by finding a balance that suits our unique needs.
  • Second, a company’s real estate strategy is equivalent to its talent strategy. Having the option to work remotely has become a non-negotiable for many employees, so companies need to evaluate their stance on the value and necessity of in-person working environments.
  • And finally, although remote work has taken the world by storm over the past two years, there will always be room for human interaction in business. Companies in certain industries like finance or sales will likely continue to prioritize in-person work to strengthen relationships and retain a competitive edge.

Rhys: Thank you for listening to New World of Work, the podcast exploring the new frontier of the modern workforce through an international lens. We hope this episode served to expand your horizons and open your mind to a new perspective.

Be sure to subscribe, rate and review the podcast so we can reach more listeners.

I’m your host, Rhys Black. See you next time.

If you liked this podcast, make sure to subscribe so you don't miss an episode!

About Oyster

Oyster is a global employment platform designed to enable visionary HR leaders to find, hire, pay, manage, develop and take care of a thriving global workforce. It lets growing companies give valued international team members the experience they deserve, without the usual headaches and expense.

Oyster enables hiring anywhere in the world with reliable, compliant payroll, and great local benefits and perks.

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