by Angelina Ihl
For several years, the term Modern Workplace has been used in the context of future-oriented workplaces. This denotes, amongst other things, the digital transformation of the classic workplace: From the desk with a large computer in the office, the phone system, filing cabinets and printer to the digital and paperless workplace. It enables flexible working from wherever, whenever with a notebook or a similar end device via digital tools and services. A change that many companies didn’t introduce for a plethora of reasons, and were then forced to introduce at the beginning of the pandemic. With the realisation that this way of working is very possible.
In order to provide the technical requirements needed, in the first step, companies introduce tools such as MS Teams and equip their staff with notebooks. In theory this enables employees flexible and location-independent collaboration. They can see each other in meetings via a camera, work on documents together and use other tools such as OneNote, Planner and Whiteboards to structure the work. However, we know from practice that the multitude of new options can quickly overwhelm employees and provoke a negative attitude as a result. This is why we recommend that leaders involve their teams in the topics of a modern working environment from the beginning.
A process that begins with training courses for using these new tools and makes new rules of play necessary. Rules that differ greatly from the analogue world of work, where existing guidelines no longer apply or simply don’t make sense. Another reason why we need clear concepts that provide enlightenment on what it means to work remotely. Open communication is also needed when companies call their workforce back into the office. The long commute, the noise in open-plan offices or the feeling of lack of trust are just some of the reasons why employees refuse to return to the office completely or partially. Office concepts that are not well thought out and are enforced by management quickly lead to frustration, loss of productivity and in extreme cases even to employees leaving the company. In the increasing competition for skilled workers, this is a factor that should not be underestimated. Rules in the digital world can be very diverse and must fit the corporate or individual team culture.
In workshops, participants can summarise which changes the employees experience, which communication measures make sense and which guidelines the company needs in order not only to function but also to be evaluated positively. Potential first measures could include:
Allowing employees to be the best judge of which activities can be done from the office and which from home. It is usually difficult for a manager to assess this, especially when it comes to deeply operational issues in which only the employees have sufficient insight. In this environment, good leaders move away from micromanagement, take on a supporting role and create freedom for the team to make their own decisions.
Are you transferring to the digital workplace and facing questions on proper leadership? Our colleagues from the Change and Adoption team of HanseVision can support you. Together with you, we'll develop suitable working guidelines in workshops and coach your managers on the digital workplace.