Dimension Data, leading global IT solutions and technology provider, has released NTT Ltd.’s 2020 Intelligent Workplace Report ‘Shaping Employee Experiences for a World Transformed’, which highlights that the pandemic has put employee wellbeing at the forefront of the business agenda. Almost four-fifths (80%) of organisations agree that working from home during the pandemic has been challenging for employees. Connectivity and workspace issues such as bandwidth, a feeling of isolation and a lack of dedicated workspace have all contributed to their concerns. Organisations have to look at every aspect of workplace strategy to optimise employee experience, including culture, technology and location.
The report which surveyed 1,350 participants across 19 markets found that 92% of the respondents believe employee needs will be at the heart of the future workplace design. Our findings show that three-quarters (74%) of organisations agree employees would prefer to have the choice and flexibility to work in an office when it is safe to do so, and 91% agreed that face-to-face meeting time is essential to build a sense of teamwork and/or when meeting clients.
As the world continues to adapt to the challenges of Covid-19, organisations must develop a more robust strategy to permanently provide for their distributed workforce. While 86% of organisations recognise the value of employee experience as a crucial strategic differentiator, only 40% are very satisfied with their current capability.
For now, a third of all businesses (35%) have changed their IT policy to help employees work within a new operating model and just over half (52%) have deployed new communication and productivity tools. In many cases employees have been left to use their personal devices and applications which has rapidly increased the risk of security vulnerabilities. In fact, only 46% have increased their IT security capabilities to keep their organisation and employees secure.
“Taking account of the employee’s whole work and life experience, especially in this hyperconnected world. That means securing their data while also ensuring they can stay productive, efficient and engaged, underpinned by their orgainisation’s commitment to digital transformation through the right technologies and training,” says Michaela Voller, Chief HR Executive at Dimension Data.
Establishing the new workplace strategies today for the office of tomorrow
According to the report findings, almost half (48%) of businesses are already reviewing the general office design and how best to align with employees’ new needs.
Respondents are somewhat polarised on what to do with office space in general, with over a third (34.4%) of global C-suite executives saying they are looking to reduce office space, yet almost a quarter (24%) plan to increase it. That said, most agree that the physical space will have a more defined, flexible use to provide for a more collaborative environment enabling:
- Connecting the distributed workforce: just over half (60%) will install video conferencing/video collaboration spaces to bring remote and office employees together
- Facilitate creativity and collaboration: over a third (44%) will implement creative/thinking spaces
- Drive activity-based work initiatives: a third (35%) will reduce individual office desk space with 40% increasing meeting spaces
Intelligent solutions will empower the employee
We now have access to a vast range of digital platforms and applications, but the rapid adoption of these new technologies has not always been supported with adequate training. To motivate employees to use new technology, it’s important to clearly articulate the benefit to them as individuals, especially if they are working remotely.
Just 41.6% of businesses, across the globe, have access to workplace analytics to help them understand and assess new pain points introduced by remote working. By reviewing which applications and features people are using through workplace analytics, businesses can learn how to prioritise, tailor and measure the impact of training to positively impact on adoption, usage and productivity – all of which contributes to the employee experience.
Businesses must set the foundation for the future employee experience now
Having adapted to the pandemic in recent months, over half (55.3%) of the global C-suite strongly agree that now is the time to create the workplace of the future.
According to Graham Parker, Executive: Intelligent Workplace at Dimension Data, “We are laying a foundation for the ways of working of the future. By shaping a workplace strategy that can help tomorrow’s business leaders react with agility and purpose, we can drive real change. We’re seeing some of these shifts already: what would have previously taken companies months, if not years, to achieve is now taking place in real time. Employees feel heard and more supported, and businesses are being braver in making decisions that led by both data and human impact.