Leading up to the pandemic thousands of businesses implemented strategies that drove creativity and engagement. A key tactic was to promote face-to-face collaboration by changing how people work along with where they work.
Many organisations implemented processes that leveraged human connection and multimode thinking and along with that changed work structures from departmental command and control to teams that focussed on customer outcomes. These changes resulted in quicker development of new ideas, better problem solving, improved customer experience and generally happier employees.
Workspace, a critical enabler also changed to reflect this more collaborative way of work. Enclosed meeting spaces reduced (improving occupancy), and more open space created to promote transparency and collaboration. Movement within the buildings also encouraged serendipitous new connections and wayfinding found its way from retail to corporate. In many environments mobile whiteboards were used to both partition open space and provide canvases to build ideas, solve problems and track projects.
Enter a global pandemic and face to face was replaced with Zoom calls and digital collaboration tools, but as we approach the reopening of society and work what will be the impact of the nearly 2 years of public health restrictions on people, society, and work be?
First thing to recognise is that not all businesses are the same and what work required to deliver customer outcomes is not the same. Decisions on the future of work needs to be an executive decision with cognisance of the businesses purpose, culture, and strategy and not simply one of cost and employee preference.
What employees want is not a lot different to what they have always wanted but has Covid introduced some new dynamics?
- To be treated with respect (listened to)
- Renumerated fairly
- Provide opportunity to grow
- To be afforded some flexibility
New or focussed dynamics because of work from home
- Work/Life balance – can be improved with work from anywhere options if disciplined about disconnecting from work, but if not can lead to burnout. This is being sighted as a cause of a ‘resignation pandemic’.
- Collaboration – businesses need this to drive innovation and productivity and digital doesn’t deliver as mush as face to face.
- Connection – individuals need this for their mental health and businesses need this to reinforce the organisations culture. Creating this digitally is sub optimal at best.
- Wellness – services that address employees wellbeing is believed to be a big driver of getting people back to the office and improving retention.
Here are 3 things we think will supercharge your employee experience
- Create storyboards in your collaborative spaces sharing insights from customers, employees about their work from home experience. Use pictures and quotes and let your teams add to the wall. It’s a great way to get them connected through their story telling and you never know what insights will emerge.
- Create a centre of excellence for design that all employees irrespective of their job can undertake. Thinking like a designer is a 21st Century skill and will not only help the organisation create a culture of collaboration but help employees grow.
- Around the world people are moving jobs as organisations and the restrictions ease. This is an interesting question and the countless surveys sent, don’t cut it! People leaders must connect with their team members face to face as part of the introduction to your version of hybrid work and business as usual.