How Will My Team Want to Work in the Future?
With vaccinations well underway, it is time to envision the future of the workplace. In J S D A’s work with CEOs and their organizations – alongside our research regarding trends in the workplace – we’ve charted a path to the appropriate actions for individual organizations. First, industry type must be considered. Remote working has been widely adopted by the professional services (77%), IT (64%) and financial services (55%) [Great Place to Work Future of Work Survey 2020]. Hospitality, retail and healthcare are also in transition, but to lesser degrees.
Executives, particularly HR leaders, are navigating a new range of challenges: their staff’s need to feel safe and their fear of getting sick; maintaining schedules for children; public transportation issues; and maintaining social distancing in the workplace. However, with the return to school and the implementation of vaccines, some of these obstacles will diminish.
At J S D A, we are focusing on the energy and connection that people will experience in a long-term hybrid work environment. Will the hybrid model be a temporary or more permanent solution? And how will it shift over time? CEOs are visioning five years in the future and asking what this means for employee engagement and customer experience.
Vistage research shows that 55% of organizations are currently allowing their teams to work remotely during the pandemic, with a reduction of the number of days working from home. Research shows that a common practice is returning workers to the organization’s workplace two or three days per week. Returning to work depends on safety and will continue to be a fluid transition over the next year or two. Most organizations are expecting a formal return this year, some as early as July or August (52%). Others are taking a slower path back, returning in Q1 or Q2 2022 (13%), while some will be even slower or have opted to remain virtual.
Redesign for rightsizing is paramount and driven by a need to rebalance customer experience and staff workplace with technology-enabled meeting spaces. This translates to less sharing of some spaces and more privacy in other spaces, as well as reduced workstation areas. Net-net, 58% of Fortune 500 executives surveyed anticipate reducing their office space from pre-COVID levels.
“Growth and comfort do not coexist.”
Ginni Rometty, former president, chair and CEO of IBM
Design sprints involve surveying groups of people to support a successful return to the office:
- survey organization goals, predict and connect the frequency of meetings with innovation initiatives.
- survey employees, temporary workers and contractors to understand what they want and need (to feel safe and meet their current needs for flexibility).
- modify employment policy handbooks to respond to the new structure and options.
- revisit hierarchy, set up and support networks of people for greatest collaboration and positivity.
- support network leaders with employee task forces and identify change agents as innovation initiatives are embraced.
- design common and work areas to create an environment centered on human wellness, and
- design meeting spaces to encourage collaboration and innovation among in-office and virtual employees and partners.
“One way to understand human progress is to look at how technology has made products and services – once reserved for the elite – progressively
more accessible and affordable.”
Dan Schulman, president and CEO of PayPal and former chairman of Symantec
Design sprints expose technology advances, such as SafeAccess, a new technology that will allow for health monitoring (temperature screening plus) prior to an employee’s arrival at the workplace. This technology gives confidence to both employer and staff. Alongside access to rapid COVID testing, leaders in larger organizations are hiring wellness professionals within new on-site wellness clinics. As we all transition to more in-person meetings, the hybrid office needs to be a workplace experience that everyone will enjoy for years to come.
Source: Great Places to Work Return to Work and the Future Workplace Study 2020.