Desk phone and paper will soon be as obsolete as floppy disks and typewriters. Today’s smartphones, tablets and portable PCs use unified communications applications to do any task, anytime, anywhere. Smartphones and portable devices are used for phone calls, conference calls, video conference meetings, online collaboration and team workflow. With wireless access to the internet everywhere, employees can be liberated from one-size-fits-all traditional desk solutions and discover the benefits of moving around, using different spaces designed for different activities, especially for interactive collaborative creative work or quiet calm reflective work.
Flexible work modes help people to perform better
Activity-Based Design (ABD) encourages collaboration by creating work environments with a variety of spaces for interactive sessions with project teams, for brainstorming, conferencing, phoning, face-to-face discussions, confidentiality, privacy, spontaneous meetings and ad hoc discussions. Such solutions help people to exchange ideas more effectively and offer choices, a key factor to stress reduction at work. ABD helps break down barriers and mixes the diverse generations. All benefit, when workplaces are designed to share information better, mentor colleagues and transfer knowledge in informal ways. New hires are immersed in learning from the day they start. Virtual teams connect seamlessly to colleagues with appropriate technology.
ABD supports Emotional Intelligence, giving managers options that encourage easy interactions with staff. Benefits include timely decisions, quicker comments for important feedback, more opportunities for giving recognition and hands-on coaching.
Transforming the workplace for knowledge workers
Creating spaces that stimulate people and support their work brings better performance and optimizes results. Worldwide surveys of knowledge workers show that noise and distractions from co-workers is a major cause of concentration loss and errors. Transparency helps people see who is present and generates more respectful interactions as visual cues help avoid interruptions and reduce distractions. Moving away from noise is now an option thanks to wireless networks and mobile devices for phone calls, conference calls, high-concentration tasks, reflective work or confidential actions done in calm spaces to produce quality results. Workplace solutions should help avoid stress at the source and diffuse tense situations between co-workers as choices for working anytime anywhere and invite people to discover what works best for them for different activities.
Research shows that the best ideas do not come to people chained to a desk in noisy spaces fighting to keep their concentration. Ideas are generated in diverse settings, especially convivial social areas, while walking around or during spontaneous informal meetings. Time-out spaces where people can play minigolf or ski on a Wii help idea generation. Research confirms the benefits of clearing the mind before doing new tasks. Turbo siestas, 20-minute naps, refresh people, resulting in quality work, increased responsiveness and error reduction. Office support services, healthy food and adequate hydration are often overlooked in the workplace, but essential for even the most basic levels of human performance. The old paradigm saw coffee breaks as downtime. If leadership is seeking innovation and creativity, intelligent workplace transformations can bring significant ROI.
Making the workplace a strategic business tool to unleash potential
Aligning all components of an organisation with workplaces developed to support and encourage the activities and behaviours that leadership identifies as important, is beneficial to all. Greater collaboration, more effective teamwork, increased idea generation and break-through innovation can be cultiv–ated by using Activity-Based Design and new work modes.
Results are measurable and include increased employee and client satisfaction, larger market share, quality improvements, new product development, quicker time to market, continuous learning, easy accommodation of changes, improved real estate use, optimised operating costs, reduced absenteeism, improved engagement plus attraction and retention of the right talent.
Presentism is wasteful and even toxic, yet some managers still measure time at the desk but do not measure results. As companies seek to increase engagement, emotionally intelligent managers focus more on coaching staff, not controlling them. Management by walking around makes no sense when there are long corridors of closed doors, little transparency and no convivial areas to exchange information in informal ways. ABD encourages interactions that break down silos and support the flatter hierarchies that most organisations seek. As flexible work modes are being implemented in nearly all sectors, leaders are discovering the value of management by results.
Implementing work environments aligned with management vision and created to truly support the many different activities people do in the «knowledge economy», transforms organisations. Investing in the workplace as a strategic business tool liberates significant potential across an organisation and brings measurable results to the bottom line along with improved employee engagement. The work environment today should not be viewed as costs or overhead to be reduced to the bare minimum. Can any organisation today afford to overlook the value of the work environment and its impact on human capital empowered to add value?
Live an der Personal Swiss
Clark Elliott referiert als Keynote- Speaker zum Thema «Workplace Strategies for Engaging Today’s Knowledge Workers». Dienstag, 14. April 2015, 13.45 – 14.15 Uhr, Forum 2, Halle 5