GUEST REVIEW: In just over two years, the way many Australians work has changed dramatically. Workers hunkered down in home offices or turned dining tables and even bedrooms into workplaces as their employers implemented remote work to comply with containment measures designed to control the pandemic .
These work-from-home arrangements have given people the opportunity to change the way they manage work and personal priorities. Costly and time-consuming trips to and from work became an unpleasant memory, while someone was always home to receive the weekly online groceries. At the same time, they could continue to connect with colleagues and clients via chat, video call or email.
Unfortunately, the “back to the office” stage of pandemic management has threatened to curtail some of these benefits, causing tension between organizations and their employees. Some organizations require people to return or quit.
A strong push for hybrid working
At Workday, we recommend companies recognize that, for many workers who can do their jobs from home or on the road, as well as in the office, the five-day-a-week office routine is dead – one point of view reinforced by our recent research, Employee Expectations 2022. We believe that a hybrid, flexible model that allows people to work from the location that best allows them to be productive and achieve work- personal life is the answer. The demand for this approach is shown in a recent survey of 2,000 Australian workers, conducted for a report by Swinburne Edge and Deloitte Australia, which found that 78% of workers who could work remotely wanted to work ‘hybrid’ or from home. . A significant proportion (39%) of workers who currently had to work on-site felt the same way.
To retain talented workers and create an agile and dynamic company, business leaders must move beyond inherited cultures and processes that treat work as a place rather than an activity and undertake a profound culture transformation, technology and people.
This process is neither simple nor straightforward. For example, many companies will need to overcome entrenched resistance from traditional-minded managers and workers and the fact that a hybrid working regime disproportionately benefits team members who can do their jobs with a laptop. and an internet connection.
Using technology to listen to feelings, learn and respond
To effectively implement hybrid working and other flexibility measures, companies need to listen to workforce sentiment, learn and respond accordingly. They will be able to assess the appetite of the workforce to choose how, when and where they work and implement measures that improve employee engagement, with benefits in terms of productivity, revenue, growth, employee satisfaction and customer experience.
Six essential characteristics of a new normal business
Leaders will need to review and update existing policies while considering new ones if they are motivated to build a business that will thrive in this new normal. In doing so, we believe they will need to demonstrate six essential characteristics, namely:
- Leverage insights: Prioritizing employee engagement is critical for companies to sustain long-term productivity increases in a hybrid environment. Understanding what the workforce wants is the key to adaptability and retention of growing talent. Technology can be used to gauge employee sentiment in near real time. For example, Workday’s Peakon Employee Voice helps leaders understand what their people are thinking, provides a platform to engage them in new and more effective ways, and also guides the organization on the path to adaptation.
- Enable continuity: The pandemic has shown that every business needs to model “what if” and “art of the possible” scenarios to plan for and minimize disruption. In a dynamic business landscape, businesses must stay nimble and pivot when necessary with data-driven insights to guide them.
- Adaptability: In addition to business continuity plans, companies must be able to innovate quickly to quickly and easily deploy new processes and policies, a key example being the ability to add employee vaccination and readiness to return to work on HR files. during the pandemic. This requires companies to have the right tools in place that deliver relevant information while allowing them to effectively collaborate around business outcomes with employees on the channels that work for them anytime and anywhere, without bureaucracy or bureaucracy. additional.
- Supporting their employees: In today’s hybrid workplace, physical and mental wellbeing has never been more important and finding ways to support employees is essential for a thriving business environment. From being able to easily share health and safety protocols to having tools that help them understand employee sentiment, business leaders will be able to listen, make better decisions, and lead with empathy. Enabling a positive end-user experience for employees within an organization is just as important as creating a great end-user experience for customers.
- Security by Design: The rapid increase in cybersecurity incidents around the world has illustrated the challenges faced by businesses of all sizes. Organizations should implement a robust security ecosystem that protects both employees and data and is designed to withstand rigorous audits and controls without impacting the user experience. Creating a secure omnichannel experience will allow staff to collaborate securely from anywhere, anytime, and from any device.
- Collaborate anywhere, anytime, on any device: Hybrid working practices mean that end users must be able to work from anywhere, regardless of time, location, or device. Ensuring an omnichannel experience in collaboration apps is key to ensuring a seamless user experience for employees when they need it.
Re-engineering organizations to make these characteristics part of their DNA is not easy and requires full cooperation between business, finance and IT teams to create organizations that are ready for any challenges ahead. With shared KPIs, this combined team is able to make a huge difference in the performance of an organization as they are ready to digitize, transform and close the digital acceleration gap to outperform the competition.
With the changing business landscape, tools and technologies must also be able to meet the needs of the workforce. Organizations can avoid issues such as extended downtime and running outdated systems by engaging their technology vendors to have consistent service level agreements and transparent product update processes, their to focus on generating new revenue streams and growth.
With an effective hybrid work model in place, underpinned by technologies and processes that promote flexibility and agility, companies will be well positioned to thrive in a rapidly changing world of hybrid work.
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