HR's guide to redesigning the workplace

HR's guide to redesigning the workplace

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Given employees today can typically be clubbed under one of three working styles - tethered, nomad, and hybrid, here's what you can keep in mind.

While leaders spend a lot of time thinking about who they should hire and how to get the best out of their staff, they spend little time putting themselves in the employee’s place. This often leads to a lack of empathy in rolling out people processes, according to Verizon Business' new report, Time to Change the Way We Work, conducted by Omdia. 

Compiling responses from more than 1,100 business decision-makers (BDMs), IT decision-makers, and employees, the paper covered workplace redesign through the lens of employee experience (EX) in three areas: people, process, and technology.

Under the 'people' umbrella, while flexible working hours and competitive benefits packages, what's more critical is to first segment the workforce based on role (i.e., work style).

There were three types of work styles highlighted in the report (and the role they are suitable for):

1. Tethered: Employees are constantly based in a single work location, such as an office, hospital, retail premises, or manufacturing line. This style is most frequently in place for retail assistants, hospitality workers, or manufacturing operatives. 

2. Nomad: Employees occupy roles that require them to frequently work on the move, often across multiple locations. This style is most frequently in place for delivery drivers, field service workers, and photographers.

3. Hybrid: Employees spread their time between remote locations and a dedicated work base/location (such as home, office, etc.). This style is most frequently in place for business administrators, chief executives, and ICT technicians.

Under the 'process' umbrella, key stakeholders from HR, IT, facilities management, and employee communications must consider employee onboarding and new-hire training, as well as key life events such as becoming a parent or a first-time manager, holistically.

Each work style can be mapped based on the business processes that groups of employees follow and the technology required to carry out their roles. This is an area where HR can learn from its colleagues in marketing, whereby CX frameworks can be used for employee journey mapping to guide and shape EX.

Employee journeys consider the events, touchpoints, and activities employees go through during their employment in an organisation. They may include elements such as employee onboarding, benefits, growth and development, performance management, and team collaboration.

There are three employee mapping questions for BDMs to consider, according to the report, in designing and redesigning EX:

1. What is the outcome/objective that an employee is trying to achieve
What is the employee responsible for in delivering value?

2. How does the process of delivering the outcome make employees feel?
How do the desired outcomes and the factors & processes that influence and support its delivery make the employee feel?

3. How well-supported are employees in delivering the outcome?
What tools, working practices, support structures, and environments are available to them that help the employee deliver the desired value?

Under the 'technology' umbrella, given the importance of user experience in mitigating the risk of bad technology investments, employees should play a more active role in the decision-making process. Employees should be asked what tools they need in order to be productive and efficient. Failure to consult or include users in the decision-making process will not reduce costs, improve collaboration, or improve the employee experience.

In understanding the workforce's technology needs, frontline workers and contact center agents (those employees directly interacting with customers and clients) have been largely underserved by modern technology and services. While office workers have access to many applications via their desktop or mobile devices and can switch easily from one source of information to another, this is rarely the case for nomadic frontline workers or contact center staff.

Reinventing the office based on work style

This survey shows that 95% of organisations will support some degree of remote working; consequently, much office space will now be vacant or excessive. Therefore, organisations are likely to downsize or repurpose and optimise their offices for collaboration. According to the report, rarely are an employee’s specific needs taken into consideration when businesses consider what makes them want to come to the office or what an optimal office layout would look like.

An activity-based-working (ABW) approach strikes a better hybrid work-style balance and is likely to help improve personal productivity, employee well-being, and team productivity. 

ABW is typically designed to cater to greater flexibility and allows staff to choose from diverse settings explicitly designed for the tasks they need to carry out. Rather than merely being offered office cubes and meeting rooms, employees can choose from collaborative meeting rooms, quiet areas for focus work, booths, and open spaces for team discussions.

[Browse through all our office photo features, by visiting HRO's Spacial Awareness section, and find out why organisations choose one layout over the other!] 

Photos / Verizon & Omdia report

Follow us on Telegram and on Instagram @humanresourcesonline for all the latest HR and manpower news from around the region!

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Follow us on Telegram and on Instagram @humanresourcesonline for all the latest HR and manpower news from around the region!

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