As we settle back into the office, we asked CEO Andrew Try to reflect on 2022 and talk us through predictions for the year ahead.
2022 can be best described as a discombobulation. So much of what we all considered normal was already out of kilter, and whilst this time last year I expected it to be a year of returning to norms, I think few predicted the rollercoaster of influences that affected work, personal, national and international sentiment.
As a business owner and manager, trying to forecast and predict in normal circumstances is hard and through 2022 it was harder still. However, sticking to key strategic anchors of creative, energetic people with a passion for being the best, challenging the status quo and building a better future' served us well at ComXo.
Here are my top 3 headwinds that we navigated as a business last year:
- Staff wellbeing
With a workforce that is fully hybrid, the business focus was to support the physical and mental health of our entire team, including those we could no longer see. ComXo is a boutique specialist delivering high service levels and market leading innovation, and for this a strong culture is required. Investment went into flexible shift patterns, "come into the office" events, wellbeing packages, parties , training and development, video team culture, resident mental health practitioners, and my weekly CEO video check in.
- Change in workforce and workplace utilisation for clients.
As a workplace service partner to some of the largest professional service firms in the world, 2022 was uniquely challenging. The WFH (Work from Home) to WFO (Work from Office) ratio was difficult to forecast as "new normal" working practices evolved rapidly throughout the year. The spring saw the rebound from Covid and lockdown and war in Ukraine. The summer had the extra Jubilee bank holiday and 40C temperatures. In Autumn we mourned the death of the Queen, whilst numerous prime ministers came and went. Finally, Christmas was marred by strikes. How could we forecast this, and what normal would look like?
- Inflationary forces, cost of living and the focus on value delivery.
Retaining and incentivising our dedicated and experienced teams has been essential. Searching for more value for customers as prices had to go up was, and remains, our focus. We have been helped by a tight labour market making customers look to outsource as an answer to their own staff troubles, but most importantly it's our continued effort to make ComXo a great place to work. We delivered 9 new team induction groups last year compared to an average of 5 per year, and our staff turnover is around 10% less than industry average which I'm very proud of.
This year what are my predictions?
It is impossible to second guess the macro except to say that complexity, global shock, fast moving trends and fluidity will continue to dominate. The companies that have the most flexible structures and elastic outlooks will benefit; those trying to hang on to the past will not. As the saying goes "When the big waves rain down upon you, the person who's smiling is the surfer!".
From the ComXo standpoint, creating flexible workplace and workforce environments is about the ability to "Centralise, Optimise and Virtualise". Central, virtualised services sitting on digital platforms, enabling AI and delivering data driven insight saves lots of money, increases workforce productivity and transforms client experience. As a business that thrives on managing complex challenges and streamlining them for a great result, we will continue to facilitate our customers on this journey, whatever 2023 and beyond throws at us.