To change you need to be brave enough to start
The year 2021 will be the year of change in many ways. In office environments, we will see a lot of different proceedings that optimally serve the needs of companies and staff while simultaneously integrating the work culture.
Together we will create scenarios that will help our customers to perceive their future needs more clearly. A few significant work environment trends can be seen:
- Introduction of a hybrid model combining remote working and office work
- the overall wellbeing of the working environment and
- maintaining community
These important themes drive companies to develop their work environments. Now, at the latest, even in tardy companies, the importance of the physical work environment for the corporate culture, for the wellbeing of the staff and, above all, for maintaining team spirit has been awakened.
The digital work environment alone in most companies won’t maintain a healthy, prosperous work community where work is done together for a common goal. The roughest examples from our customers are experiences where employees even change employers, because you can do your own practical work also in a competing company. The reason may be a lack of a great social environment as the work community is distributed to home offices. Of course, in some companies we manage to keep the team spirit strong, but we pay special attention to this and invest in constructive measures.
More concrete measures
A movement in the direction in which companies are starting to take concrete action instead of mapping and guessing can also be seen. Over the past year, many companies were still waiting and hoping the situation would quickly pass. We now know that the emergency conditions will continue longer than expected. A year is starting to be a long time for work environments and work culture to be maintained.
In our own organization and with the help of our partners, we have invested in an agile starting model where companies can get started on development easily and with a low threshold. The aim of the model is to quickly outline the main features of the past, present and future. The most essential challenge seems to be the courage to start.
“The key is to start a dialogue with the staff to create a clear picture of what we have learned from this extensive experiment during a year. For many companies, this has been a leap of faith in many ways, but it has also resulted in a lot of good,” says Antti Pitkänen from Agile Work, a company specializing in change management in work environments.
It is highly recommended to use expert help who can facilitate the change. Internal, self-administered surveys usually highlight certain issues, such as: How much remote work do employees want to do in the future? Or how has remote working gone in terms of efficiency? It would be more relevant already to ask: What are the things about the new model of work that should be maintained and developed? And what more elements are needed to support the functioning of future work environments?
We have also identified a phenomenon that emphasizes individual freedom and the development of self-direction. Knowledge workers operate as their own freelance units, and the company's common strategic goals and models may weaken as a result. Alongside the great opportunities, there is also a high risk that the employer branding and company story will deteriorate. Thus, the burning questions are: How much can the company demand from employees in the future? What are the investments that companies need to make to maintain community spirit? How to ensure the transfer of tacit knowledge and the continuity of innovation with the increase in remote working?
Together towards change
Companies’ HR professionals are now on the brink of the biggest questions than ever before. How will distributed work be managed in the future and how to guide development in accordance with the company's values? How will this change be visible to our customers?
“Developing the future work and working environments for companies requires extensive cooperation between different functions. This development towards a distributed hybrid work model requires seamless cooperation between HR, FM, IT and those responsible for business development. However, this development work must be carried out with the involvement of staff and customers.” Antti lists.
However, there are also many positive developments during this time. People seem to be more prepared for even bigger changes than before and resistance to change in work environment development projects is less because the biggest turmoil has already been experienced. Very few companies with knowledge workers are dependent on, for example, their own individual workstation. For most, it is good enough to find a high-quality, shared workstation for those who need them. There is also a clear increase in the quality and quantity of meeting spaces. People will continue to want to come to the office to meet their colleagues and enjoy a professional, comfortable work environment with comprehensive services.
It would be wise for companies to position themselves in change, so that it is the current time that provides fertile ground for inspiring change for both staff and management.
If you are interested in designing your work environment and need support in developing it, you can contact us directly. We have made successful work environment change projects for several of our client companies and will be happy to tell you more.
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