Increased flexibility is core to that environment. Over the last year, teams have demonstrated resilience and flexibility to deliver on Vodafone’s purpose and strategy. As it moves forwards, it wants to enable everyone at Vodafone to do their best work in the way that works best for them and their teams, inside and outside its offices.
For nearly 40 years, Vodafone’s offices have been an integral part of the community, where they worked together to connect societies, businesses and customers. Vodafone also learned that over the past year, despite the challenges we have all faced, they found remote working to be productive and have wider benefits. They are now looking to enhance their physical and virtual workplaces, ensuring that they can work together better and more productively than ever before.
Vodafone’s research shows that as societies reopen, teams want the freedom to determine how they work best, and a more hybrid and flexible way of working is here to stay. Hybrid working for Vodafone combines the best of access to the office and remote working, supported by the right tools and technology. Offices will be used primarily for creation and collaboration and have been designed as such; they will also continue to provide a safe place to work for those who need it.
To support remote working Vodafone has a concept called ‘office in a box’. It provides people with a complete office experience: desk, monitor, connectivity, lamps, giving them some design choices. The organisation is also experimenting with co-working spaces closer to where people live to provide options to work in an office environment with the convenience of reduced commuting.
Technology will be important in determining the hybrid breakdown going forward, and Vodafone is testing out its new office concept and tools across its global campuses. It’s using hybrid working as an opportunity to build accessibility into the physical and digital workplace. “We want to learn, see how people use the new spaces and tools, and then adjust as we go forward, because in these things clearly there is also an investment component, so we want to get it right. We want to learn from how people are using the space and ensure accessibility is built into our design,” Francesco says.
Vodafone plans to expand its options to reach the best and most diverse talent through the introduction of skill hubs in different cities and changing ways of working. For example, by offering options to work from home between 80 and 100% of the time for customer care roles. This type of flexibility is designed to leverage flexible ways of working to improve inclusion and attract a broader, diverse group of candidates to roles.
Francesco says: “For us, this is also an opportunity to engage in a better way with communities as everyone is looking at the future post-pandemic and investing to reignite the economy, in different cities, places and parts of the country. And we clearly have a role to play as an employer. Now, that's really a win-win opportunity because it means access to a broader and more diverse pool of talent for us and we support local communities.”
To further accelerate its work on inclusion, Vodafone needed to have the right data. So the firm launched a voluntary self-declaration campaign, Count Me In, which will allow employees to voluntarily share their gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity and caring responsibilities to enable measurement of inclusion and equity across critical processes such as remuneration and progression. “We want our workforce to represent the demographics of our markets and ensure inclusion is embedded across the employee lifecycle,” Francesco says.
A chance to experiment, learn and adjust
Francesco is clear that Vodafone’s journey is far from over. He explains: “We will keep listening to our people to inform what we do next. We may make mistakes, which is an opportunity to learn, adjust and change. And it's not easy because we all like clear and definitive answers, and we want them now. I think we have to resist that temptation to say this how it is always going to be. We're still learning and one of the learnings is that it's important to keep all the doors open at this stage without making statements that are, to some extent, irreversible because things continue to evolve. It's important that we can evolve the organisation together.”