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25 February 2022

How people, greener choices and hybrid offices are transforming the way we think at Intersoft

Managing Director, James Thomas shares 3 topics currently on his mind this month and explores how our workforce is adapting post-lockdowns.

Intersoft

MD James looks at the value of collaboration as we adapt to a new way of working. He explores the challenges of hiring and retaining good talent, how ethical choices and recruitment are intricately linked, our ever-evolving commitment to fostering a positive and engaging working environment and how greener choices are transforming Intersoft.

People

Good people are businesses best assets and at the moment they are hard to find.

Intersoft is currently on a huge recruitment drive, and we’ve found that the top two drivers for attracting and retaining good talent are not just providing a competitive salary and attractive benefits package but it’s also offering the new hybrid way of working and Intersoft are working hard to find the perfect balance.

Whilst the fear of Covid (hopefully) continues to decline, the option to bring people back to the office is one that very few will welcome, especially not 5 days a week, but we’re human beings, it’s in our nature that great minds work better when they can work together and feed off each other, and as much as technology has helped us get through the last 2 years a Teams call is just not the same as sitting in a room together.

We want to foster individuality above all at Intersoft as we adapt to a new way of working.

So, the journey to find a healthy balance is underway, will “good” people be good enough to understand the benefit of collaboration is worth the commute? Will “good” employers understand that forcing people to sit in traffic or on a long commute every day is not going to attract the best talent? The answer to all these questions I suppose comes back to us being human, we’re a diverse bunch – so the right balance is different for us all and we want to foster individuality above all at Intersoft as we adapt to a new way of working.

Green

Why do we want everyone commuting every day again? Creating more traffic and pollution in an already over-polluted environment when it’s simply not needed.

Who isn’t trying to be “greener” nowadays?  I think with the younger workforce, we can tie this into my first point on ensuring a company promotes ethical and greener solutions for its staff – this is also a huge box to tick when hiring good talent. Why do we want everyone commuting every day again? Creating more traffic and pollution in an already over-polluted environment when it’s simply not needed.

So, if I do want to encourage my workforce to come into the office and collaborate more, I need to ensure they can do so in a positive way that benefits both the company and the environment. Here’s what we’ve done so far:

Cycle to Work

We’ve joined the Cycle to Work scheme to help promote our sustainable choices ethos at Intersoft. It’s been a great addition to help encourage employees to cycle both for their own mental health and physical well-being as well as saving them money on a good bike.

Electric cars

We’ve also recently signed up to LoveElectric to help reduce carbon emissions, boost our green credentials and add to the list of employee ‘perks’. It works similar to the cycle to work scheme, where employees sacrifice a small portion of their salary in return for a new electric car, typically saving up to 50%. We’ve also just commissioned to have a bank of electrical charge points at our Egham offices, this means anyone driving an electric car can benefit.

Green energy

We are fortunate to work on the outskirts of leafy Windsor Great Park in Egham and we want to nurture this as best we can in reducing our carbon footprint in the energy we use. How are we doing it? We have two main demands for electricity; one for our office to power the lights and electricals, and the other is for our SaaS (software as a service) infrastructure.

We lease our office space from Orbit Developments, part of the Emerson Group, who purchases renewable standard electricity where their 100% renewable electricity products are certified by the Carbon Trust and conform to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.

For our servers, we use Azure, as a part of Microsoft. A key driver for partnering with them to host our servers is because they are 100% committed to helping build a clean-energy future and continually strive towards sustainability.

Azure has been 100% carbon neutral since 2012. Their renewable energy is energy that is collected from renewable resources, which are naturally replenished on a human time scale, such as solar energy, wind power, hydroelectric power, geothermal energy, tidal power, and biofuels.

This means they remove as much carbon each year as we emit, either by carbon removal (carbon offsetting) or reducing carbon emissions. And by 2025, Azure will shift to a 100% supply of renewable energy which reflects our commitment towards carbon neutrality entirely.

azure power plugs
Azure’s renewable energy plant

Offices

Much like every other business out there, we’re yet to find the balance of the “new normal” and the question that is on my mind: are traditional office spaces phasing out? What is the point of having banks of desks for people to sit at if they are only coming in when they want to collaborate with colleagues?

I was once told “it’s all about the numbers, nothing else matters” – how times have changed.

Gone are the days when you’d see a full bank of desks filled with bums on seats. But, if we want to succeed in encouraging teams to partake in more face-to-face interaction, and if we want new recruits to thrive in an environment where their career and skills can bloom – we’ve got to make sure the office is a space its staff look forward to visiting, disregarding an extended commute in return for an engaging day at the office.

Intersoft’s recent kitchen refurb with a new pool table

 

So, we need to ensure we not only provide attractive employee perks, but also a relaxing office environment where people can expect the office kitchen to be fully stocked as it would be at home, and being able to take a walk at lunch at Windsor Great Park. We are working hard behind the scenes to transform our office space into a hybrid home and workspace where our employees can hopefully feel calm whilst challenging a team member to a game of pool or table tennis or taking a break in one of our nest-like booths.

I believe it’s all part of the jigsaw to create the right environment and create new ways to ensure Intersoft can thrive whilst taking every possible step to nurture and care for our people and our planet – what future do we have if we can’t do that?  I was once told “it’s all about the numbers, nothing else matters” – how times have changed…

Let’s take this opportunity to make sure it changes for the better.