A lot has changed in the past two years, especially the way we work. In order to meet the expectations of employees, companies have to redefine their working models. The digital service provider Macaw explains which features characterize an Everywhere Enterprise approach.
The corona pandemic has taught one thing: Extraordinary times require extraordinary solutions. However, companies that demand an obligatory return to their desks in view of falling incidences will find it difficult in the future – more and more employees are demanding an everywhere enterprise approach. On the way there, Macaw believes that companies must have the following points on their screens:
1. Establish new ways of thinking and approaches
According to the study “Redesigning Work for a Hybrid Future” published by Gartner, 75 percent of those surveyed want to work flexibly in the future. If a company insists that the workforce return to the office full-time, four out of ten employees are willing to change employers. In view of these figures, companies have to realign themselves. The first step is to answer a few questions: What do the employees need? Who can work remotely and who may need to be on site regularly? “Employee Experience” (EX) is the buzzword and, as with the “Customer Experience”, an emotional bond with the customers, in this case the employees, should develop. Digital tools and platforms play a central role in this. Employees should find everything there they need to do their job, to learn and to exchange ideas with colleagues. Companies that invest in EX will quickly see the benefits: employees are more motivated and therefore more innovative. At the same time, the number of potential new talents grows when you can work from anywhere in the world.
2. Strengthen the connection between each other
Strong networks in the workplace are more than just “nice to have”, they influence two crucial factors – productivity and innovation. However, the Microsoft Work Trend Index shows an alarming development: While the relationships within a team have become stronger as a result of the switch to remote work, the different teams are becoming more and more isolated from one another. Almost every second employee in Germany says that their network has become smaller. Also, for someone just starting out in his or her career, it’s particularly difficult to form relationships without hallway conversations, chance encounters, and small talk. Managers therefore have an important role to play: They must look for opportunities to promote cross-team collaboration and the spontaneous exchange of ideas. In addition, the chief purpose officer will be the next important function at C-level in many companies in the future: His task is to exemplify values and tasks such as sustainability, diversity, inclusion and people empowerment.
3. Counteract digital overload.
The proportion of time spent on email, instant messaging, phone and video calls has increased significantly in the face of remote work – and with it the digital burden. Here, too, the Microsoft Work Trend Index provides interesting insights: In Germany, 55 percent of employees feel overworked, 42 percent are exhausted. Leaders need to consider how to reduce workloads, balance synchronous and asynchronous collaboration, and create a culture where breaks are encouraged and respected. An absolute no-go is the monitoring of employees: the popular Office software Microsoft 365 allows an evaluation of the use of individual products. For example, how often customer service uses the chat, how many emails are sent on which days and how long the camera is activated during customer meetings. Under no circumstances should this information be used for employee evaluation.
4. Democratize knowledge
A joint use of information and know-how is indispensable for the innovative power of a company. Typically, knowledge is distributed throughout the organization—in Microsoft Teams channels, inboxes, shared drives, collaboration apps, and of course, in the minds of individual employees. In order for everyone to be able to find the information they need to do their best job, companies should create a central, searchable platform that feeds all available information. At the same time, it is important to promote a culture of knowledge sharing. For example, by rewarding employees whose shared content is of great interest. Basically, shared knowledge helps to make well-founded decisions and thus to improve work. Additionally, it ensures that a company does not lose valuable expertise when someone resigns or moves to a new department.
“At the moment we have the opportunity to rethink our working models and workflows from the ground up. Companies should not miss this opportunity. On the way to an everywhere enterprise, however, it is crucial to develop good solutions to strengthen networks, social interaction and cultural aspects again and to shape the new flexibility of the working world in such a way that everyone benefits,” explains Ivo Swaag, Digital Hybrid Workplace Specialist at Macaw.