This article is part of Raydiant’s new Future of Workspace Series which features interviews with a wide range of professionals and thought leaders to learn more about the future of office space and how the workplace experience will evolve.
The following is an interview we recently had with Arthur Iinuma, co-founder and President of ISBX.
What will be the 3 biggest lasting changes to the workplace caused by COVID?
- Organizations need to design for resilience. In previous times organizations designed for efficiency. However this did not allow flexibility to respond to unforeseen circumstances. Today’s organizations must be more responsive and prioritize agility and flexibility.
- Organizations are expected to offer a social safety net. Due to COVID, employers have become more vital in ensuring their employees’ financial, physical and mental well-being. Employees look for enhanced sick leave, flexible hours of operation, and child care provisions.
- Organizations rely more on contingent workers. Due to the need for flexibility in the workforce organizations are looking to replace full-time employees with contingent workers to save costs.
What workplace technologies will be the most important in the years ahead?
- Collaboration tools will be vital to every workplace. Even businesses that are not going to adopt fully remote working will need to be compatible with collaboration tools as other businesses will be using them.
- Workspace analytic solutions will be vital to enable team-wide communication and collaboration. Decision-makers need these solutions to re-evaluate the communications hardware and software ROI. This is especially important in future planning as organizations return to the office.
- The adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) will accelerate as connected devices continue to play a key role in COVID-19 strategies. IoT allows organizations to adapt across multiple sectors with automated tools to cultivate a more productive remote work culture.
What will the workplace of the future look like?
Employees need to feel a sense of belonging to be motivated to drive organizational performance. Organizations face the challenge to create a sense of belonging. The most effective way is to recognize individuals’ contributions. When people appreciate how their contributions play a vital part in advancing organizational goals they will become more engaged and motivated. Organizations that foster a strong culture will be rewarded by improved performance.
Organizations need to prioritize employee wellness. This entails designing well-being into the work itself. Technology can be used to promote connectivity, increase employee autonomy and optimize flexible scheduling. Chronic workplace stress is an enduring issue that can lead to burnout, negatively affecting employee retention. As employees work from home they face the danger of not having anywhere to escape to if they feel stressed. Organizations that invest in wellness will find that there will be less need to remedy workplace dysfunction.
What can organizations do to prepare for this new future?
- Organizations should prioritize face-time at the office. Some employees crave in-person social connections, especially when working remotely. Organizations need to formalize face-time into their work structures and encourage both formal and informal conversations.
- Organizations should consider a flexible hybrid approach. While work-from-anywhere models will be viable for some organizations, others will prefer a hybrid arrangement that is likely to become the norm. Hybrid arrangements should bring teams together physically on a periodic basis to foster stronger social connections.
- Organizations need to show compassion. Some employees may return to work grieving the loss of a loved one due to the virus. Others will be struggling with financial pressures. Still others may be supporting children as they transition back to school after a year of online classes.