How Executives Can Prepare for Long-Term Distributed Work

Some business shifts happen suddenly. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent government stay-at-home directives forced organizations across the globe to make a rapid transition to remote work. Keeping employees connected and productive as they worked from home was an imperative for sustaining business continuity.

Many organizations succeeded. They quickly implemented new technologies and processes that helped address immediate challenges, allowing employees to effectively communicate, collaborate and complete tasks without setting foot in corporate offices.

This sudden workforce change of 2020 could be a catalyst for a long-term transformation that benefits both organizations and their employees. By building a robust distributed work model, organizations can recruit new employees from a wider geographic pool, help facilitate a better work/life balance for employees, and potentially reduce office real estate costs.

Neither organizations nor their employees are eager to return to “business as usual.” According to a recent VMware survey, 61 percent of respondents agree that their organisation is experiencing the benefits of remote work and can’t return to how things were before. Approximately 90 percent of respondents agree that it is an employer’s responsibility to ensure employees can access the digital tools they need for remote work.

The VMware Anywhere Workspace includes the tools your organization needs to empower a distributed workforce. By implementing digital work spaces, high-performance remote access, united endpoint management and intrinsic security from VMware, you can create a true “work-from-anywhere” organization.

Facing the challenges of sustaining distributed work

The distributed-work model thrust upon us in 2020 offers important opportunities for businesses and their employees. But to maintain the success of distributed work for the long term, your organization will likely have to address several key challenges.

Operational complexity. Too many organizations piece together their distributed-work strategy, adopting multiple point solutions from different vendors. Attempts to integrate those solutions are not always successful. As a result, administrators are left with multiple tools and siloed teams. You need ways to unify endpoint management, simplifying administration even as you support a growing variety of device types and platforms.

Implementing scalable solutions will be key. Existing virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), digital workspace and security solutions might have allowed employees to start working from home quickly during the pandemic or another period of business disruption. But can those solutions scale for the long term, as a growing number of employees expect seamless remote-work experiences? If your solutions can’t scale, distributed workers could be plagued with productivity-sapping availability issues while IT administrators become overwhelmed with complexity.

Fragmented security. As you implement and expand your distributed-workforce strategy, security must be a top priority. Look beyond traditional, perimeter-based security models. With remote employees frequently using personal devices to access apps and data, far away from company offices, you need to protect a significantly expanded attack surface.

Your organization might have relaxed security policies when stay-at-home directives were first issued. But you now need solutions that extend security policies to new endpoints scattered across a broad array of locations. And you need sufficient visibility into all of your distributed apps, data, devices and networks so you can identify threats from wherever they emerge.

Adding individual point solutions introduces both complexity and risk. Many organizations struggle to manage numerous distinct products, agents and interfaces. Beyond creating administrative complexity, this kind of fragmented approach leaves gaps that hackers will be eager to exploit. Your organization needs a singular, integrated approach to security that safeguards all assets and streamlines management—without negatively affecting user productivity.

Sub-optimal user experience. For many organizations, the pandemic did not halt hiring. Yet on boarding distributed employees can be slow and frustrating for new hires. You need ways to speed the on boarding process without requiring people to be physically present at headquarters. For employees to be productive on day one, your IT group must be able to give them secure, frictionless access to essential apps and data.

Once employees are ready to work, many need ways to overcome challenging home Wi-Fi networks. Poor network connectivity and slow virtual private network performance can seriously hamper distributed-work productivity. To make sure employees can continue to get their work done, wherever they are located, you need to provide performance and bandwidth at levels that at least approach what employees experience at the company office.

Adapting to new ways of working with the VMware Anywhere Workspace

To help organizations navigate immediate challenges and prepare for the future, VMware has created the VMware Anywhere Workspace. This integrated solution can help your organization overcome pressing remote-work obstacles and maximize benefits well into the future. You can embrace a sustainable distributed work strategy through a secure, scalable and unified digital infrastructure.

The VMware Anywhere Workspace addresses the challenges of distributed work by enabling you to automate the workspace, secure the edge, and deliver high-quality, multi-modal experiences.

Automate the workspace. The VMware Anywhere Workspace helps simplify operations and centralize endpoint management by automating the workspace. VMware Workspace ONE digital workspaces, for example, help remove complexities with automated enrollment across all platforms.

Over-the-air management helps ensure that your IT group can reach every endpoint with policies, patches and updates. Intelligence-driven, management for Windows 10 devices streamlines processes while avoiding infrastructure costs. In addition, VMware Edge Network Intelligence provides IT with actionable and automated insights on network health and app delivery. Your administrators can concentrate on defining and delivering a consistent workspace experience.

The VMware Anywhere Workspace can be scaled rapidly so your organisation can accommodate a short-term influx in remote workers or prepare for long-term expansion of the remote-work model. With the VMware Horizon VDI solution, you can take advantage of hybrid- and multi-cloud deployment models to scale users. A single cloud console lets you reduce management complexity.

Secure the edge. The VMware Anywhere Workspace enables you to safeguard remote endpoints and data, shrinking your attack surface while unifying security. For example, VMware Carbon Black Cloud is a cloud-native platform that provides layered endpoint protection backed by machine learning and behavior analytics to thwart malware attacks. You can also adopt the VMware SASE Platform, an integrated secure access service edge (SASE) solution that combines the power of software-defined WAN gateways, Zero Trust secure access, secure web gateways, cloud security access brokers and next-generation firewalls.

Deliver high-quality, multi-modal experiences. The VMware Anywhere Workspace puts employees first by accelerating on boarding and providing consistent, high-quality experiences across personal and company-owned devices. Distributed workers have everything they need on day one. Using the Workspace ONE Intelligent Hub, employees have immediate access to a full set of business applications through a single sign-on process, whether they are using a personally owned or company-owned device. Zero Trust capabilities help ensure that only authorized people are granted access to apps. Self-serve resources and notifications help workers stay engaged and supported.

The VMware Anywhere Workspace also helps overcome the networking limitations of remote work. VMware SD-WAN gives remote workers the reliable remote access and robust performance they need for using critical business applications when working from home. It also helps safeguard network traffic while giving IT a choice of using built-in firewall capabilities, deploying security software as a virtual network function, or directing traffic to a third-party cloud-based firewall-as-a-service solution.

Preparing for a future of more flexible work

VMware is in a unique position to provide an integrated solution to holistically address the challenges of distributed work. By bringing together digital work spaces, high-performance edge networking, unified endpoint management and intrinsic security, the VMware Anywhere Workspace enables you to adapt to the present and prepare for the future of distributed work. You can scale to support a growing distributed workforce and maximize employee productivity while maintaining robust security.

By VMware

Source: How Executives Can Prepare for Long-Term Distributed Work

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If you’re getting started with managing remote employees, be sure to check out our master guide: 13 Things You Didn’t Plan for When Hiring Remote Employees

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5 Ways to Increase Morale When You’re In Charge of An Unmotivated Team

In Gallup’s 2017 State of the Global Workplace, it was reported that only 15% of employees feel motivated and engaged at work. This lack of motivation is undoubtedly a problem for the workers themselves; however, it’s an even bigger problem for the leaders who are trying to coax high performance out of a group of people who feel psychologically disconnected from their jobs.

Some leaders might be prone to brush this problem under the rug and pretend that it doesn’t exist. Or, they might throw up their hands, complaining about “workers today,” and feel helpless to do anything about it. The reality is that organizations are implementing all sorts of new technologies and systems to streamline efficiencies, yet the people side of change is often being overlooked.

If you’re inundated with workers who have lost that passion for what they do, and wondering how to reignite their spark and increase morale, here are 5 approaches you can adopt:

1. Start with yourself

If you’ve got an unmotivated team, the logical starting point for finding a resolution is to look at what’s going on within the team, right? The truth is that yes, the core of the problem may well lie within your team itself… but what if it doesn’t? It’s natural to want to point the finger and place blame, especially when you’re striving to do things by the book, but it’s worth pausing and taking a moment to reflect upon how your team views you as a leader. Try to look at your leadership approach from your team’s perspective.

  • Do you appear passionate about your work?
  • Are you respectful and upbeat?
  • Do you nit-pick and make your team feel like they can’t do anything right?
  • Do you provide constructive feedback and praise a job well done?
  • Do you follow the company culture?
  • Do you set good examples?
  • How do people feel when they are around you?

When I first mention this to leaders that I work with, I’m often met with that look that says ‘don’t be silly, it’s not MY fault.’Still, the Prudential Pulse of the American Worker special report suggested that only less than one third of employees feel that their manager has what it takes to successfully lead a team. Frequently, there is a disconnect between how effective managers think they are leading, and how their employees perceive them.

Therefore, by taking a good, hard look at your own leadership style, you’ll be able to ensure that you’re doing everything within your power to use yourself as an instrument to boost morale. I suggest starting with a thorough leadership inventory. If you’re unsure how to do this, my book The Consummate Leader outlines the steps in the inventory process.

2. Be blunt

We can spend all day taking guesses as to why a team is feeling unmotivated. Is it the workload? The tasks they’re doing? Are they bored? Are they lacking a good role model? We can guess and guess until the cows come home, but at the end of the day we’re no closer to understanding the root of the problem. Therefore, instead of making assumptions, it’s much more productive to just ask.

Taking an interest in your employees can make them feel more valued, and feeling more valued is key to boosting motivation in more than 90% of workers, according to the American Psychological Association. Depending on the characteristics of your team and your relationship with them, you may decide to schedule 1:1 meetings to discuss problems openly, or you could decide to draft up an anonymous survey which can make workers feel more comfortable sharing their feelings. Do what works for you.

3. Reassess workloads

Stress is a frequent challenge for many of the people I coach. I’ve found that trying to keep up with the demands to do more with less can cause some people to start to resent jobs that they previously might have enjoyed.

If your team members have been working hard, without any respite, they could be suffering from burnout; a nasty condition that affects around two thirds of all workers according to a Gallup study. I’ve written quite a bit about this in a previous blog post which looks at strategies for coping with burnout and finding balance, and it’s something that I’ve seen span practically every industry, from IT to healthcare.

The problem with burnout is that is creates both physical and psychological symptoms, so it not only makes people feel negatively about their job, but actually causes them to lose motivation through the physical signs of stress, like loss of appetite and headaches. Burnout is something that can progress quickly, so catching it early is vital. Consider if your employees are being given too much to handle, and delegate tasks keeping that in mind.

4. Look at the big picture

Depending on the size of the business, a failure to see the big picture can be a major reason for feeling unmotivated at work. In smaller organizations where there’s typically a more flexible organizational structure, it can be easy for employees to see where and how they fit into the work family. In larger businesses, however, which tend to be more segmented and departmentalized, it can be hard for employees to see exactly how their input affects the core business, and this can be pretty demotivating at times.

Ask your team about their career goals, and highlight how the work they’re doing not only benefits the business but also contributes to their own personal career growth. Aligning individual tasks with the bigger picture provides a much-needed sense of progress. In her book, The Progress Principle, Harvard Business School Professor Teresa Amabile studied more than 10,000 diary entries from employees. She found that when workers felt like they were progressing and achieving, they noted feeling happier, more positive, and ultimately more motivated. Thus, by putting an emphasis on development, you might find that you’re better able to engage your team.

5. Take time for team building

One of the most important things that you can do is ensure that your employees feel that they are part of a team, and understand how instrumental they are in supporting the team structure. Team building activities are a great way to create a sense of camaraderie, and can even make work more fun, too.  Give your team more of a chance to get to know one another and build a sense of trust. Whether you choose simple activities like celebrating birthdays or enjoying a team lunch, or more involved activities like having an off-site retreat facilitated by a consultant such as myself, you can create a greater sense of goodwill amongst team members that can lead to greater motivation.

In her article with Steven Kramer in the Harvard Business Review, Theresa Amabile argued that there are two factors related to increasing morale when you’re in charge of an unmotivated team: catalysts, and nourishers. Catalysts are those things that have a direct impact on workplace productivity, like streamlining work processes or establishing role clarity. Nourishers are different. Nourishers work to promote better health and wellbeing in employees, giving them the inner tools they need to generate feelings of positivity. Team building activities are fantastic nourishers, promoting ideas of mutual respect and emotional support that can affect how people perceive their jobs.

By: Dr. Patricia Thompson

 

Source: 5 Ways to Increase Morale When You’re in Charge of an Unmotivated Team – Silver Lining Psychology

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Getting Your Team Ready for the Hybrid Office

Getting Your Team Ready for the Hybrid Office

In all the years I’ve been a remote- advocate, there’s one thing I’ve consistently noticed when talking to remote workers: They almost never want to go back to the office. Recent studies have also shown that only 12% of employees are willing to work full-time from an office in the future.

Though it comes with its own challenges, it’s clear that implementing a workplace will be essential. It also requires a solid plan for getting your team on board before you decide to go back to the office, even if just for a couple of days per week.

Here are five ways of preparing your team for the switch.

Related: How to Support Your Returning Workforce

1. Provide guarantees for a safe work environment

Physical safety and stable mental are the chief priorities for most employees. Health hazards represent the primary difference between the office as we once knew it and the future of the workplace. So going back to the office naturally raises concerns.

But employees are well aware of these issues by now. Many of them were seriously concerned even before 2020 whenever the flu season was around the corner. A line can be drawn between a top employer who acknowledges employees as the company’s number-one asset and one whose priorities are elsewhere.

Put together a realistic plan to tackle in-office health, including:

  • Rethinking office paths.
  • Adding more space between desks.
  • Periodically running health check-ups on your staff.
  • Implementinging a strict room-booking system to prevent overcrowding.
  • Having people come into the office at different times of day.
  • Keeping routine meetings via video calls.

Present this plan to your employees before you ask them to return to the office so they can be aware of the new changes and suggest potential improvements.

2. Place the individual at the center of your business

Remote work has been challenging enough in the pandemic. In a hybrid setting, these obstacles will only accumulate. Within a hybrid workplace, every individual is likely to struggle with making the schedule work for them. As work keeps switching between the office and their screens at home, they might lose focus and .

This can put a halt on their professional-development goals, leaving them feeling like they haven’t achieved everything they wanted at the end of the year. Giving everyone the freedom to craft a schedule that suits their needs can prove a first good step to take in this regard.

Similarly, the issue of loneliness when working from home will persist for people who still haven’t adapted. Imposing a strict policy as to when people should come to the office won’t work for everyone. The few people who are feeling constricted or find it hard to focus at home will be better off with flexible choices that let them work from the office with their colleagues, even if just on a rotational basis.

To find all hidden problems, talk to your team — to every single person. Anonymous employee-feedback surveys or polls are appropriate approaches to receive the details of sensitive issues they wouldn’t want to otherwise disclose.

3. Ask employees for feedback before making any change

The pre-remote-work era was largely dependent on leadership decisions. Employee feedback was something not all organizations took seriously. Even when they did, surveys were sent too rarely. But working remotely highlighted the importance of listening to employees and meeting their demands. In turn, managers have gained relevant insights into how they could improve employee satisfaction, simply by talking to the people in their company.

Making a change within the hybrid office can always have a severely negative impact. Get everyone to come into the office and you might end up with half of your team sick. Force them to show up at strict office hours and you’ll lose them as they leave for more understanding employers.

Before you decide on anything, discuss it with everyone. Schedules, work processes, tools, concerns, team collaboration and independent wishes are all aspects to bring up before returning to your office.

4. Paving the way for new restrictions

Regardless of how strong your hybrid-workplace plans are, new restrictions are bound to appear, so don’t rely only on your office for specific project tasks. Make sure that everything you’re planning to handle in the office can be done at home too. Prepare a list of policies or guidelines, and don’t ditch a tool that might turn out to be your best on-project communication pathway.

Keep your team culture in mind at this point. Have a list of team-building activities your employees can bond over using video calls in case of a new lockdown. This is also the perfect time to tap into a global talent pool and start hiring non-locally. Bonus points for diversity right so you can benefit from fresh talent and new cultures.

Related: 17 Major Companies That Have Announced Employees Can Work Remotely Long Term

5. Prioritize transparency and trust

Keep everyone in the loop. Have a document anyone can access to see your roadmap to the hybrid office. Be fully honest when it comes to not being able to do something. If you can’t promise everyone will enjoy using a new collaboration app, let them know. The same goes for any time you need to reduce costs or prepare for a low-sales season.

8Nearly 90% of employees expect CEOs to speak out publicly regarding any new societal or local issues. Displaying trust and interest in keeping your employees safe gives them the mental security they need to worry less about what’s to come. Transparency is the keyword to hold on to as you’re preparing your team to join a hybrid workplace. Forget that, and you’re bound to see a sudden drop in your employee retention rates.

Alexandra Cote

 

By: Alexandra Cote/ Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP

 

Source: Getting Your Team Ready for the Hybrid Office

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[…] What happens when a meaningful proportion of the best talent wants a remote or hybrid office experience, and that talent pool is dispersed across the country rather than concentrated in 3- […]
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Hungarian government increase SME green investments support up to EUR 140m –
dailynewshungary.com – February 24
[…] Read also The secret to success will be the hybrid office model – the new ‘normal’ Source: MTI
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UCaaS key to hybrid workplace technology when offices reopen
searchunifiedcommunications.techtarget.com – February 24
[…] Successfully adopting UCaaS for the hybrid office requires ensuring adequate network performance and high-quality user experiences […]
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Dynamic occupancy management for the hybrid workplace
http://www.us.jll.com – February 24
[…] The digital elements we’re integrating to enable effective occupancy management and planning in hybrid office environments How GoSpace AI fits into our broader occupancy management ecosystem Share: Fill ou […]
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GR8 People
http://www.gr8people.com – February 24
[…] In the hybrid office model, as defined by PwC in a recent report summarizing employer and employee perspectives o […]
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4 Ways to Cultivate Company Culture in the New Hybrid Office Environment
http://www.propmodo.com – February 24
The office will always be an important piece of who a company is and as workers disperse to remote locations, company culture needs to evolve, too.
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Q LTD Newsletter
email.qltd.com – February 24
[…] We are exploring new spaces as we anticipate the new normal and hybrid office concept […]
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Get Reworked Podcast: Herman Miller’s Ryan Anderson on the Future of Office Design After COVID
http://www.reworked.co – February 24
[…] It seems like there’s a little bit of this consensus coming around that there’s going to be this hybrid office environment where we’re still going to be going into the office for some things, but a lot of th […]
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Masks, distancing top COVID testing to keep businesses open
[…] Read more: Workplace flexibility and hybrid office options are in high demand among employees “We continue to take the necessary proactive steps t […]
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Startup survey shows hybrid office/remote work model set to continue | The Times of Israel
Even as coronavirus vaccinations are being rolled out, only 14.3% of OurCrowd’s portfolio companies see employees working solely in the workplace by July 1…
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Technology as a Service is more important than ever
http://www.intralan.co.uk – February 23
[…] and thriving, and as time goes on, it’s a strategy that will serve them well as they embrace the hybrid-office models of the future […]
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Phone Interview Tips & Questions for 2021 | Upwork
http://www.upwork.com – February 23
[…] full-time work in the office be required? Will full-time remote work be available? Will there be a hybrid office/remote work option? Ask job candidates if they are willing to work in an office again if you expect […]
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News – Hybrid office assistance model: How to implement it in your law firm? – The Impact Lawyers
theimpactlawyers.com – February 23
At the onset of the pandemic, thousands and thousands of companies were forced to organise full remote working for their employees.Many of them even considered no longer implement…
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Workspace Studio: The new open office is more airy, multifunctional, with acoustic cabins and seating areas
business-review.eu – February 23
[…] The current offices are adapted to a hybrid office-remote work system […] carried out several dozen office design and redesign projects for organizations that have adopted a hybrid office-remote work model […]
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IV Real Estate transforms two Bristol office buildings
http://www.alderking.com – February 23
[…] Both buildings can provide this hybrid office environment in which occupiers can thrive for the future and adapt to the new way of working […]
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Join Aura at LTDX 2021 | Aura
[…] At Aura, our business model is designed around flexible working and the hybrid office […]
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Is the office dead or are we just using the office building differently now?
humanresourcesonline.net – February 23
[…] places, satellite offices and the office HQ will all have to co-exist – leading to a truly hybrid office model […]
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Wanted: Workplaces that inspire people and ideas
[…] bringing people together, as organizations become increasingly comfortable with the concept of the hybrid office […]
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Why a Hybrid Office Will Increase Demand for Digital Workspaces : @VMblog
cameyo-arb.shp.so – February 22
Like most things in 2020, the unpredictability caused by COVID-19 prompted many large companies to revise their near-term plans.
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Uncovering New Business Opportunities – Keypoint Intelligence
[…] Many businesses are hoping to return to an in-person or hybrid office environment in the future, but many employees remain at home for the time being […]
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FREE Intranet Masterclass — Dublin | Reinvent Your Digital HQ
http://www.unily.com – February 22
[…] Learn how to build the hybrid office of the future and level up culture with a digital HQ at our FREE virtual seminar […] The intranet as a digital HQ: building the hybrid office of the future Forget the corporate cafeteria and windowed conference room […]
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42% of local workers want hybrid office-home working options: study
sbr.com.sg – February 22
[…] HR & EDUCATION | STAFF REPORTER, SINGAPORE PUBLISHED: 22 FEB 21 VIEW(S) 42% of local workers want hybrid office-home working options: study Meanwhile, 14% wish to work from home all the time […]
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Growth accelerates for Twin Cities cybersecurity businesses – StarTribune.com
[…] found that few want to permanently abandon the office and most companies are anticipating more hybrid office-home accommodations for workers […]
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The Hybrid Office is the Future of Work
blog.proactivetalent.com – February 20
[…] worker the new normal? It turns out that a third option would emerge as the final answer – the hybrid office, where workers continue telecommuting […] The hybrid office/WFH model was mostly appreciated by younger workers […] You can view the Tedx Talk where he presented his research here: I agree that the hybrid office model is likely what will become the new normal […]
2
[Bookmark] After the Crisis, People Will Return to Renewed Cities
japan-forward.com – February 20
[…] from Japan have to say about the next frontier of urban design?  Fujimoto speaks of the need for hybrid office-homes that have multi-functional uses with regards to work and daily lifestyle […]
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Recruiting Brief
[…] ClearCompany 207 Tribe TV: The Future of Work is the Hybrid Office Proactive Talent FEBRUARY 23, 2021 When will we return to the office? Will we ever return to th […] As the pros and cons are weighed, one solution is trending – the hybrid office […]
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Why Workforce Personas are Key to Reopening Offices – WWT
http://www.wwt.com – February 20
[…]   Planning your hybrid-office business strategy Reopening and returning to the office is a marathon, not a sprint […]
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Workplace Innovation Series: Peter Van Emburgh
http://www.density.io – February 20
[…] those efforts Biggest challenges thus far and planning for the future ones Thoughts about a new, hybrid office model ‍ ‍
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Three Reasons to Switch to Conference Room as a Service
[…] In a climate where remote and hybrid office environments are becoming much more common, this is a key functionality […]
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McKinsey Report: COVID-19 to supercharge adoption of AI
[…] declared that the 9 to 5 working day is dead and organizations across the globe are exploring hybrid office models, whereby employees have the freedom to work remotely but also travel into an office […]
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FREE Intranet Masterclass — Kansas City, MO | Reinvent Your Digital HQ
http://www.unily.com – February 19
[…] Learn how to build the hybrid office of the future and level up culture with a digital HQ at our FREE virtual seminar […] The intranet as a digital HQ: building the hybrid office of the future Forget the corporate cafeteria and windowed conference room […]
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[Opinion] The Workplace Is not Dead, Long Live the Hybrid Office
emag.archiexpo.com – February 19
The health crisis has shaken our relationship with the workspace and the traditional definition of the “office” has become obsolete. In this article, Céline Fraquelli, Sales Manager at Framery’s headquarters in France analyzes the new priorities to be integrated into the design of tomorrow’s…
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A consolidated recap of COVID-19 resources for facilities management: part two
[…] discusses what facility managers need to consider to prepare for a successful transition to this hybrid office and the tools to make the process most effective […]
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Pandemic exposes CX, process gaps worldwide
http://www.itweb.co.za – February 19
[…] “Now that organisations are planning to maintain a hybrid office-home work model in a post-pandemic environment, it has become clear that those process gaps have to […] notes that new research indicates that 65% of global CX leader

How People Analytics Can Help You Change Process, Culture, and Strategy

It seems like every business is struggling with the concept of transformation. Large incumbents are trying to keep pace with digital upstarts., and even digital native companies born as disruptors know that they need to transform. Take Uber: at only eight years old, it’s already upended the business model of taxis. Now it’s trying to move from a software platform to a robotics lab to build self-driving cars.

And while the number of initiatives that fall under the umbrella of “transformation” is so broad that it can seem meaningless, this breadth is actually one of the defining characteristic that differentiates transformation from ordinary change. A transformation is a whole portfolio of change initiatives that together form an integrated program.

And so a transformation is a system of systems, all made up of the most complex system of all — people. For this reason, organizational transformation is uniquely suited to the analysis, prediction, and experimental research approach of the people analytics field.

People analytics — defined as the use of data about human behavior, relationships and traits to make business decisions — helps to replace decision making based on anecdotal experience, hierarchy and risk avoidance with higher-quality decisions based on data analysis, prediction, and experimental research. In working with several dozen Fortune 500 companies with Microsoft’s Workplace Analytics division, we’ve observed companies using people analytics in three main ways to help understand and drive their transformation efforts.

In core functional or process transformation initiatives — which are often driven by digitization — we’ve seen examples of people analytics being used to measure activities and find embedded expertise. In one example, a people analytics team at a global CPG company was enlisted to help optimize a financial process that took place monthly in every country subsidiary around the world. The diversity of local accounting rules precluded perfect standardization, and the geographic dispersion of the teams made it hard for the transformation group to gather information the way they normally would — in conversation.

In core functional or process transformation initiatives — which are often driven by digitization — we’ve seen examples of people analytics being used to measure activities and find embedded expertise. In one example, a people analytics team at a global CPG company was enlisted to help optimize a financial process that took place monthly in every country subsidiary around the world. The diversity of local accounting rules precluded perfect standardization, and the geographic dispersion of the teams made it hard for the transformation group to gather information the way they normally would — in conversation.

So instead of starting with discovery conversations, people analytics data was used to baseline the time spent on the process in every country, and to map the networks of the people involved. They discovered that one country was 16% percent more efficient than the average of the rest of the countries: they got the same results in 71 fewer person-hours per month and with 40 fewer people involved each month.

The people analytics team was surprised — as was finance team in that country, which had no reason to benchmark themselves against other countries and had no idea that they were such a bright spot. The transformation office approached the country finance leaders with their findings and made them partners in process improvement for the rest of the subsidiaries.

It’s unlikely the CPG company would have been able to recognize and replicate these bright spots if they had undertaken transformation with a top-down approach. And, perhaps more importantly, it involved and engaged the people on the ground who had unwittingly discovered a better way of doing things.

In bottoms-up cultural transformation initiatives, the how things are done is equally or more important than what is done. Feedback loops and other methods of data-driven storytelling are our favorite way that people analytics makes culture transformation happen. Often times, facts can change the conversation from tired head-nodding to curiosity. One people analytics team in an engineering company was struggling to help develop the company’s managers, for example. Managers often perpetuated a “sink or swim” culture that didn’t fit the company’s aspirations to be an inclusive, humane workplace.

The data analysis found that teams whose managers spent at least 16 minutes of one-on-one time with each direct per week had 30% percent more engaged direct reports than the average manager, who spent just 9 minutes per week with directs. When they brought that data-driven story to the front lines, suddenly a platitude was transformed into a useful benchmark that got the attention of managers. In this way, data storytelling is a lightweight way to build trust among stakeholders and bring behavioral science to culture transformation.

Top-down strategic transformation is often made necessary by market and technology factors outside the company, but here people analytics is a critical factor for execution. A people analytics team can serve as an instrument panel of sorts to track resources, boundaries, capacity, time use, networks, skill sets, performance, and mindsets that can help pinpoint where change is possible and can measure what happens when you try it.

One people analytics team at a financial services company was trying to help the CEO manage growth while he worked to instill a new culture in which departments would be asked to run leaner and more competitive in the market – “scrappy” and “hungry” were terms that often came up. As the transformation accelerated, teams were asked to do more with less, generate more data, and make decisions faster. Amid this, department leaders began to hear anecdotes about burnout and change fatigue and questioned whether the pace was sustainable.

To address this, the people analytics team provided their CEO with a dashboard showing the number of hours that knowledge workers were active for in different teams. When an entire team is over-utilized, he knows they can’t handle more change, while under- or unevenly utilized teams might be more receptive. He can also slice the dashboard by tenure, to learn whether recent hires have been effectively onboarded before approving new hire requests to absorb extra work.

As organizations increasingly look to data to help them in their transformation efforts, it’s important to remember that this doesn’t just mean having more data or better charts. It’s about mastering the organizational muscle of using data to make better decisions; to hypothesize, experiment, measure and adapt. It’s not easy. But through careful collection and analysis of the right data, a major transformation can be a little less daunting – and hopefully a little more successful.

By: Chantrelle Nielsen & Natalie McCullough

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AIHR – Academy to Innovate HR

What is People Analytics and how is it different from HR Analytics, Workforce Analytics, or Talent Analytics? What has made it so popular all of a sudden and why should you be excited about it? What is the ROI of People Analytics? These are the questions that will be answered in this video!

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