Never before has the BOSS Federation’s AGM been held ‘virtually’ online. However, there was no lack of enthusiasm amongst BOSS members to participate in this unprecedented manner with almost 100 participants, many of whom took advantage of the ‘chat facility’ to input questions and observations.
BOSS CEO Amy Hutchinson kicked off the day by welcoming everyone and thanking event sponsor ECI Software Solutions for their support, she then took members through the agenda before handing over to BOSS Chairman Simon Drakeford who covered the BOSS AGM and financial report.
Hutchinson then guided members through the new BOSS strategy, built around four key “pillars” of the Federation’s offerings:
· Networking & recognition
· Thought leadership
Hutchinson also reported that the BOSS Business Supplies Charity had been particularly active during the recent COVID-19 crisis, offering ‘one off’ care packages to support those in need of financial assistance and paying out £46K in grants so far in 2020, including £24K since the beginning of April.
Generations expert and historian of contemporary values Dr Eliza Filby then gave an insightful presentation on the immediate and long terms effects of the current crisis, entitled “The Impact of COVID-19 on the Future of Work”. She began by reporting two major aspects of ‘usual’ working life that had been severely questioned by the recent lockdown:
· The need to travel abroad for meetings
· The need to have all staff together in one office
The world of work, she argued, has been changed forever by this truly global phenomenon: there would be no return to ‘normal’, so what would the world look like once the move out of lockdown (described by Filby as ‘the great pivot’) had happened?
While the ‘normality’ of flexible working will inevitably rise as demand for it has now been expressed by employers as well as employees, Filby suggested that there will still be a need for offices, not least because 60% of jobs cannot be undertaken at home.
However, in the short term, these offices will look very different – providing some clear opportunities for the OP industry.
Filby concluded by stressing the importance of building and sustaining relationships with clients, because while existing client relationships are easier and quicker to sustain in a virtual world, it is more difficult to build a new client base online.
BOSS members can watch Eliza’s full presentation on www.bossfederation.com/members-day-2020
The day concluded with a wide-ranging Q&A session hosted by Drakeford, inevitably including questions on the future of the workplace, but also specific queries about the structure of the industry, the future of rebates and ‘soft money’ and the effect of the increased grants made by the Charity on its funds and fundraising capabilities.
Drakeford finally wrapped the day up by thanking Eliza Filby for being ‘right on the button’, promising that BOSS would be offering more virtual hook-ups and encouraging members that “As an industry we are not ‘sleepy stationery salesmen’: we are right in the epicentre of change. And, whatever that change will be, BOSS will be there to support the industry through it.”