With the vaccine rollout underway, the road to normality becomes a serious possibility. We can soon start to make plans for the future, but the first thing we need to understand is where precisely are we now?
Ricoh recently undertook a survey established a clear understanding of what workers in the UK have dealt with this year. This includes employees working both remotely and, in the office, ranging from frontline workers to c-suite managers. Managers and workers’ experience were evaluated to help identify their most significant challenges and overall employee behavioural experience. This, in turn, enabled Ricoh to highlight the opportunities we, as businesses, currently face as we plan our future.
Four common concerns were identified:
– Happiness, motivation and productivity are significant challenges
– Existing office spaces are unsuitable for a post-COVID world
– Managers are struggling to introduce new processes and look after their employees
– New technology also caused concerns for managers over security issues and its inefficient use.
So, why does all this make employee behaviour experience such an important factor? Because every challenge facing organizations globally, in terms of productivity, process and wellbeing, centre around your people.
What are the challenges facing employees and managers?
We may have come a long way, but there are still many teething issues that affect our day-to-day lives. And managers and employees are on the front line of dealing with them.
Anything that changes in our life causes friction and stress. Relocation, remote working, changing power dynamics – these are all common occurrences across the country, but they’re major events which have occurred all at once. Then there are all the little things we used to take for granted while working in an office environment; such as conversations, micro-rewards, and collaboration ease. Now all replaced with digital imitations that sometimes don’t quite hit the mark.
Sudden changes to routines, environments and ways of working can have a big physiologically impact, which can ultimately change the employee behavioural experience, ultimately impacting wellbeing.
Meanwhile, for managers, there is an additional layer; their roles have changed drastically. Once they were focused on organizational objectives. Now they must pay much more significant consideration to their employees’ wellbeing – while still ensuring things get done. And this is all happening amidst huge societal change, with distressing news and uncertainty across the country.
One of the most difficult things to replicate from our office days is social interaction – a critical human happiness requirement. It plays a huge part in peoples’ mental wellbeing, especially with smaller, more tight-knit teams and companies. We’ve all come to understand the challenges with video conferencing, collaborating while working remotely and getting quick answers to questions you could once ask in person.
Your people can no longer easily enjoy ‘water cooler’ moments, share stories or discuss projects. And it’s much harder to receive constructive criticism, praise or positive feedback from managers. A key aspect of how we get happiness in the workplace.
Behavioural science can help bridge the gaps between your peoples’ difficulties with motivation, happiness and self-worth – both as individuals and within our teams – and a manager’s organizational challenges of the economy, productivity and process. Leading to a more positive employee behavioural experience.
How can a small business strategy centered around a more conscious workplace help alleviate these issues?
Organizations have to look at how they can evolve agile working practices that cater to a blend of remote and physical workplace environments. And people are central to that. So put in place an employee behavioural experience strategy to fit a hybrid work style.
Technology is a great example of this. There are many fantastic options out there that can help your business transform to meet new challenges and opportunities. But you need to pick the ones that are right for your people, or your business will never see the full benefit. It would be best to consider how any new technology will affect your managers and your employees, and how you can help them integrate the new technology into their working lives and use it effectively.
When it comes to wellbeing, it’s important to understand that the position we are in now isn’t sustainable, whether we’re comfortable working from home or not. You need to be conscious of your people’s health, productivity and happiness, and ensure you’re making critical business decisions with their future in minds.
Coming into the office will become a choice, enabling aspects of flexible working to be maintained. Therefore, organizations have a positive choice to cater to their needs. Making them feel valued, enabling those shared social interactions, and keeping them safe.
Get this balance right to create a positive employee behavioural experience across the organization.
What steps can Canadian small to medium size organizations take moving forwards?
Recent IDC data for North America (below) shows organizations in a post-COVID world are already committing to the new reality with nearly all making more investment in team collaboration solutions and nearly half of them ready spending on conferencing solution that makes flexible work, work better.
As the key private sector jobs provider and backbone of the economy, the challenge for leaders will be how to deliver solutions that are smart, affordable and can grow with the business. At the same time, it is becoming imperative for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to address the very real and growing concerns for employee well-being while working from home. Employees are more autonomous and seeking a better balance between their working, social and personal lives.
The IDC also suggests smaller businesses prioritize their investments in technology and workplace partnerships that empower the hybrid workforce of tomorrow.
As the lifeblood of any organization, great place to start that will likely to have wide-ranging workforce support is your communication and collaboration strategy. More specifically, reinventing and reimagining your concept of ‘the meeting’ – not just now but after the pandemic.
How and where we work, collaborate and share information has changed. What’s next?
Redefine work and change. For better.
Put your customers and employees first with scalable collaboration solutions that enable business efficiency, performance and growth. Ricoh can help.
Take the next step by talking to a Ricoh professional about your needs and how we can help you overcome your unique collaboration challenges.
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