Has working from home been a success only because it is temporary? What is the right future of work ? And how does it translate for the workplace?
The Covid-19 crisis has forced us to adopt new ways of working. We have proven that we can perform well while being apart . Workplaces are unlikely to ever be the same again – but what does that mean in reality?
There is no one-size-fits-all solution. The question and the context are too complex for that. Because every industry, every organisation, every performance lever and every culture are different. But also, every Employee Experience is unique.
If 89% of organization s recognize the value of Employee Experience as crucial, only 38% are very satisfied with the current one (Source: NTT Global survey).
How to improve the Employee Experience?
Organizations should consider the 3 key elements of the Employee Experience and select what actions they can take. These 3 elements are:
- the resources: the tools, the technology and digital environment
- the social & cultural environment: all the connections, collaboration, interaction, culture
- the physical environment, i.e. the physical workplace
If the physical workplace is just one element of the overall Employee Experience, it has a huge impact on people and their experience. Therefore, Harmony & Mobility has recently joined forces with a creative agency for interior design, ielo design, to reflect on the raison d’être of the workplace and explore various tangible ways to reimagine the right workplace of tomorrow.
Reinventing the right workplace
This should be done by designing innovative workplace set-ups, according to Employees needs but also organisation’s key performance levers.
For Harmony & Mobility Consulting and ielo design, the workplace needs to be:
- Co-created with Employees
- Flexible, flexible, flexible
- Designed for activity-based working
- Optimized to foster socialisation and enhance collaboration
- With a focus on wellbeing
- Enabled by the right technology and digitization
As of the reflection part, we, at Harmony & Mobility Consulting, can support your organisation see new paths and generate fresh solutions with a New Workplace Reflection Program. In the meantime, here is a methodology we would like to share with you to guide you along the way.
STEP 1: Define the purpose of the office
To us, it is not all-or-nothing. The office cannot simply go away because studies have also shown that technology struggles to replicate some elements we find in the office.
So, the first step is to analyse what Employees are missing when their work from home. Here are a few elements to keep in mind.
We are social animals; we need connections with other people.
When we work from home, we miss conviviality, social interactions, impromptu interactions at the coffee machine. Also, when we seat together, we support each other’s, we build trust. And this is even more important for the younger generation: Millennials is the generation that has missed the office the most.
2- Sense of belonging
The office provides a common ground. It helps to foster a sense of being in it together, being in it in the same direction.
Being together physically is much more effective to stimulate thinking, to bounce ideas without the awkwardness of the delay of a Zoom call.
Energy is contagious. When we are together, we feel more energized, more motivated.
And it is easier to solve complex problems if we are in a face-to-face situation.
In short, the workplace is about PEOPLE. About people and their EXPERIENCE at work.
STEP 2: Craft the best solution for your organisation and your Employees
The workplace is as much about where we work as how we work. So, organisations need to pause and reflect before taking action. Here is a model we would like to share with you:
1- Start with the end in mind: the Vision
The first thing is to align on who your organisation wants to be and where it wants to be tomorrow.
What is the vision? In terms of:
- business development
Of course, the vision will differ between organisations, but it might as well differ between functions or teams within the same company.
2- Assess the current Reality
Once you are clear on the vision, reflect on the current reality. That is the organisation’s context today, in terms of talents, culture, ways of working, development.
Employees opinion should definitively be assessed too. Organisations should check how the workplace reflects their preferences today. And how the current balance of in-office and remote work reflects their choices.
3- Explore your Options: to go from today to tomorrow
Once you are clear on the vision and you have assessed your organisation’s current reality, then you should reflect on what can be changed, realistically. Rethink how work can be done differently, keeping Employees needs in mind.
The workplace is about people and their experience at work. So, focusing on Employee Experience is essential to maintain the 3 key levers of performance for the organisation which, to us, are:
STEP 3. Support the workplace transformation
2020 has been hectic. But it can be a powerful catalyst for change.
It will be very tempting to revert to what was in place before the pandemic, the “business as usual”. But instead, companies should take this opportunity to transform.
The fresh look at the office space is only one element in the equation. Leaders will need to be the pilots of those transformations. They will need to shift mindset because new ways of working are complex with onsite, online, and hybrid workplaces to manage.
For this, leaders will need to:
- Be extra clear on goals, roles, processes, relationships
- Build trust among their teams
- Manage distributed teams, bringing the right upskilling and support to everyone
- Develop accountability only on the results
We believe organizations that set the right environment and equip the managers with the right skills and mindset will be in a strong position to become agile, responsive and so more successful over the longer term.
And keep in mind that there is support, like Executive Coaching to only name one, that can help your organisation empower and grow leaders so that they develop the right skills to lead through transformation.
So, what is the next step for your organisation to transform?