The Future Workplace Must Evolve for its Workforce
May 6, 2021 / Peter Altabef
Last March, businesses throughout the world were forced to rapidly evolve their working environments due to COVID-19. As the remote workforce grew, technology adapted very quickly to support work from home. Now, well over a year into a pandemic, we can no longer solely rely on technology to fit our operating models. Instead, we must listen and transform them to meet the needs of our people.
Recently, Unisys sponsored a new IDC white paper titled, "Digital Workplace Insights™: Seeking Digital and Experience Parity to Support the Hybrid Workforce." You can read the full report here. The findings establish the critical demand for digital and experience parity in future business models. Both need to continue to develop and support one another. To achieve this, we must first identify and understand what employees need and expect.
Employee recognition is essential to strong business outcomes.
The research surveyed business leaders and employees across 15 countries and found that 70% of employees ranked recognition as their most important priority. Is the desire for recognition new? No. Is its importance growing in a hybrid environment? Yes.
Performance acknowledgement, as always, reinforces best practices and behaviors. This reinforcement contributes to a culture of self-improvement as employees find value in their ability to professionally grow. In addition, recognition leads to increased levels of productivity, which cultivate a committed and engaged employee base. Now, more than ever, recognition provides a needed social bond for employees that don’t actually meet, or meet as often, in person.
Flexible schedules will enforce work-life balance.
A hybrid workforce is the new normal, which establishes the need to create experiences that provide and encourage personal and professional balance. Today, workspaces have to some extent shifted into homes and apartments filled with family members, roommates and pets. In order to prevent burnout and stress, work and personal commitments such as family must be balanced. In fact, flexible schedules and work locations were cited by business leaders and employees as critical to an ideal employee experience.
With flexible schedules and the ability to work anytime or anywhere, employees feel a stronger sense of professional control. This leads to improved job satisfaction and ultimately boosts overall morale and enhances a company’s culture. Organizations can support balance by evolving traditional work schedules to meet the needs of a hybrid workforce.
An agile workplace provides collaboration tools.
As companies have seen an increase in the number of remote workers and the time spent in remote locations, collaboration among teams once done in conference rooms is now more dependent on the power of video and sharing platforms. As a result, businesses are appropriately placing greater priority on technologies that improve employee connectivity and the joint experience. Employees noted a three-way tie in importance among collaboration tools, productivity-enhancing applications and technical support. Organizations will have to look beyond any one of these assets and provide improvements in all three for their teams.
Ultimately, successful organizations will be able to rapidly adapt to changing business conditions and ever-evolving demand by providing parity between enhanced digital tools and a better overall experience. The pre-pandemic operating model doesn’t fully support the workforce of today, let alone that of the future.
It’s evident, the future workplace is evolving. Are you prepared to support your workforce?