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Rethinking work: The opportunity to transform our working culture for good

UK&I Managing Director Jeni Mundy reflects on how the coronavirus has potential to change how we work for good

By Jeni Mundy , UK&I Managing Director, Visa

May 21,2020 14:08 PM GMT
Woman working from home

Anyone who works with me has heard me say that work is something we do rather than a place we go. I strongly believe that getting the job done doesn’t depend on sitting at the same desk in the same office every single day of the week.

Over the years we have become used to a way of working where most people are office-based, with many of us spending a lot of time commuting. While we may have adopted some flexible working practises and part-time hours, those working this way often struggle to feel properly included. The coronavirus pandemic has shown us that we can do things differently, and if we don’t take this opportunity to rethink how we work together, we will miss a chance to change our culture for the better.

At Visa, we have been clear – we are offering the majority of our workforce the option to work from home through the remainder of the 2020 calendar year. It goes without saying that the wellbeing of our employees is our top priority.

That’s not to say that some of our offices won’t reopen in stages, but we want to offer flexibility and reassurance to our teams, especially at such an uncertain time.

We have also introduced ‘Wellbeing Hours’ for the vast majority of our employees. We’re encouraging as many of our people as possible to down tools early on a Friday and take some time for themselves. This initiative is running over the next few months and we believe it is more important than ever as we all deal with the additional stress caused by the current situation.

As we move out of lockdown we have the opportunity to make a permanent shift in how we work. It’s not good enough to unthinkingly return to the old ways of doing things. We should be asking ourselves questions such as, what is the purpose of traditional offices? What activities are improved by people coming together in one place? How can we rethink the shape and design of our office spaces to best facilitate these activities?

I hope we are able to use this time to accelerate into a new world where we find a balance between being together and doing what we need to do in a way and at a time that suits us, and where work is truly defined by outcomes.

The opportunity is ours to take.

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