The reality of work is changing – as a result of digitization and increased workplace flexibility. Traditional office setups, work schedules, and in-person meetings have become less ubiquitous, making remote and distributed workforces the new norm. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed the way how businesses work – enabling employees to work remotely has become a top priority for most organizations. The workplace changes are becoming a permanent part of the future of work – and the future is now.
Workplace transformation involves a balance of investing in talent, processes, and technology. It is not about implementing a broad set of applications but instead focusing on improving collaboration through simplification and agility. Moreover, it should meet the needs of on-site and remote employees alike. If implemented effectively, workplace transformation will reduce operating expenses and improve productivity for organizations of any size. However, this is not guaranteed. In many cases, the difference between success and failure relates to the tools and strategies businesses use to support the new form that is comprised of remote and distributed employees.
A few things businesses need to consider before initiating workplace transformation:
- Companies must stop sacrificing employee productivity for the sake of reducing operating expenses. Instead, they need to implement strategies that help meet both objectives.
- One size doesn’t fit all in the use of systems to assist employees in completing their duties. Businesses need to customize solutions based on their specific scope of responsibilities.
- Modernization and remote upgradability are the new requirements for an ever-increasing mobile workforce. New solutions should have the potential to serve users faster and reduce IT complexity.
- Digital collaboration tools must be simple to use and appropriate to a particular task.
- Remote and on-site employees should be given the same access to resources. Imbalances cause friction and have the tendency to reduce retention and morale.
- As businesses rethink the traditional employment model, the challenges of workplace, retention, and satisfaction must be addressed. Companies should be active in the management of automation and refocusing talent.
- Companies should view workplace transformation as a strategic way of maintaining their competitive advantage. Through proper investment, employee satisfaction will remain high and likely nurture product and service innovation.
How to Prepare for the New Way of Work
With this transformation comes the rare opportunity to enhance work and the nature of employment. Businesses can shape the future of work with foresight so that inequalities are reduced, and well-being is strengthened. To achieve this, all stakeholders need to be aware of the changes, create a vision of the expected outcome, and plan so that the opportunities are seized and the concerns that arise are addressed.
Leverage Data to Improve Decision-Making
Employers today are gathering more data than ever, but simply collecting vast amounts of data as a result of digital transformation is not enough. The success lies in being able to use insights effectively, to guide changes.
Advanced data analytics tools can provide companies with important information about talent acquisition, time and attendance, and how employees perform. So businesses need to use a sort of data to turn insights into action.
The integration of data into the HR strategy enables businesses to work on the happiness of the workforce and make changes that are intended to keep employees happy and motivated. Most importantly, employees don’t stay at jobs they don’t like; they switch for another. If employers want to retain top talent, recruiters will need to work smarter than ever before and utilize data in ways that can help them do that.
Improve Data Security
One of the major concerns to flexible work has always been security. How can the IT team maintain control over the users’ workspace if they are not physically tied to one device and one location? What happens if an employee loses their device? What if insecure networks are used to access sensitive business data? These are the things that keep businesses worried.
However, the thing about getting on a digital transformation and a flexible work strategy is that IT teams can enhance and strengthen the security of their data and information. If you are asking how the answer is simple. Without diving into all the technical details, digital workspaces are inherently more secure. Especially, if your digital transformation strategy utilizes cloud-based HR systems. The reason being, all of the installation, maintenance, storage, security, everything is in the hands of the software provider. They know how to combat everything malicious sources can throw at them.
Set a Proper Digital Strategy in Place
The world of work is moving on with transformation irrespective of industries and business functions. Most of the technology investments result in an organization undergoing a digital transformation, and this can’t be done without having the right digital policy in place. Creating a digital strategy starts with taking a closer look at business priorities and confirming how current systems and processes support the business and how much it aligns with strengthening the company’s goals. A successful digital strategy must be associated to the needs of the business, focused on strategic enablement rather than just efficiency and effectiveness.
Streamline Business Operations
Streamlining business functions is always a better idea, but even more so when creating a digital transformation policy. One of the best places to start is by truly understanding and assessing your employees’ abilities and strengths.
Then, set a clear plan that reduces the time spent on misconceptions and enhances overall workflows. By executing projects with standardized procedures, your workforce will be more efficient and ultimately more creative, spending increased time on modernization and less on obstacles.
Develop Skill Management Programs
The growth in automation in workplaces has raised many concerns around changing work models and new ways of working. As new job opportunities and skills are increasing, there is an excellent demand for upskilling and continuous learning. To truly embrace the new way of working, businesses must develop flexible work strategies and integrated skill management. The job and skill management solutions that businesses use today are very basic, and until they are incorporated into HR technology needs, companies can’t resolve the biggest challenges emerging with the future of work.
Invest in Right Tools
Workplace transformation may differ from business to business, and heavy spending alone is not going to guarantee success. Advanced technologies such as the Internet of Things, because of its ability to provide operational intelligence, the cloud, for its scalability, and data analytics, which can transform data into predictive and actionable insights can significantly impact your business operations. But there is no one size fits all solution. There are multiple options, and companies must ensure that they invest in the most suitable technologies for them. Also, the solution should be flexible enough to accommodate growth and an eventual move into the cloud.
Enhance Workforce Involvement
Workplace transformation can be easily achieved through increased employee engagement. By boosting internal employee engagement, employees feel more valued and fulfilled, making them more open to change. Engagement drives adoption, but digital transformation can drive engagement.
A recent survey has found that flexible work schedules positively affect levels of employee engagement. And, in the digital age, flexibility is easier than ever to put into practice. Employees can work remotely, use their own devices, and utilize digital tools to interact with teams. They are more likely to appreciate the real benefits of digital transformations and adapt to the same.
Adopt Workforce Intelligence Technology
With the increasingly digital and evolving nature of work, company viability will be based on the ability to automate core business functions. As the workforce becomes remote and distributed, automation will need to be executed intelligently to support business goals and provide employees with the right set of tools to be more competent – especially in the absence of a traditional workplace environment.
Intelligent automation is not just about digital solutions. Instead, it develops a new, straighter path to get work done, which becomes even more necessary in the future of work. Workforce intelligence helps create an approach that allows distributed teams to be successful with the correct mix of tools to get the right business outcomes. The right tools can turn your employees into top performers, adjust to any situation, support business objectives, and deliver best-in-class performances.
Workforce intelligence identifies what tools your business needs. Also, it helps companies maximize their investments in intelligent automation tools for a more productive remote working experience. And it’s easy to execute, which means you can allocate time to perfecting processes – not repairing them.
Today, digital technologies are being successfully applied to workforce redesign, with the mix of on-site and remote employees, full-time and gig workforce. However, the readiness among businesses to accept this change is yet to be developed. They need a more inclusive approach towards the transformation and create the right internal ecosystem. Advanced HR platform will help transform workspaces into secure, extremely collaborative, and productive environments and allow employees to access critical business systems securely and remotely.