Looking back on the sudden shift from going to the office every day to working from home, it’s obvious that the way people work has changed. In addition, it affected the way people look at their workplace, devices, employee services, work-life balance, physical and mental wellbeing and more. Different expectations, different opinions, different habits, different feelings — even different priorities.
However, don’t get used to it… because it’s all about to change again.
The voice of the employee: Can you hear what they are feeling?
With new insights based on what we have all experienced and learned, it’s doubtful that we will go back to the office in the same way we used to. A hybrid pattern of home working and working in the office space is a more likely scenario for most people. Avoiding commuting time (including frustrating traffic jams), concentrated work in a quiet home space, and exercising during breaks are just some experiences that people now value as part of a more flexible working life. We now have new opportunities to improve the overall work environment according to new employee expectations and changes in society at large. Other priorities like carbon reduction, diversity and inclusion, accessibility and social value have become more important in the employee experience.
On the other hand, there was a lack of social contact and face-to-face meetings with colleagues. People often found themselves caught in back-to-back online meetings instead of being able to quickly align with colleagues by just walking over to their desk. The risk of burnout and stress-related absenteeism has increased, and being more distanced can lead to a misalignment between personal goals and company goals. Extra effort and attention is needed here to avoid the risk of losing a strong and coherent company culture — especially when it comes to onboarding new hires.
In the future, we will see the best of both worlds combine in an optimized way of working, but we are still learning. To accelerate to this optimized situation, two things are key:
- The new normal should be defined by everyone involved, using the experiences, insight and best practices of people who work together.
- Employee services should not only provide a quick and solid solution, but a positive employee experience at the same time.
With this in mind, how can we embrace the changes and optimize the way we do our work together?
First, as mentioned above, the new normal must be created by all people involved and cannot be drawn on a management table — isolated from the day-to-day employee experience. Defining employee needs and behaviors is key to providing and supporting the right working environment and employee services. It must take into account the company, geographical and cultural aspects, and of course the line of work. A clear and continuous updated view can help design and manage a good working space.
Offices can be made fit-for-purpose. Employees will choose to come to the office for specific activities when the office is optimized to their needs. For instance: supporting team collaboration in creativity rooms, areas to meet colleagues and clients (even when not planned), activity-based workplaces, ergonomic office furniture or even a friendly colleague at the hospitality desk or service desk. When it comes to working outside the office, the most important elements are flexibility and the right tools and support — in other words, a state-of-the-art digital workplace for frictionless working anytime, anywhere.
One important aspect here is the number of contact points and interfaces for the different types of employee services. To successfully blend internal services with the digital world, it’s important to move away from a siloed approach that separates HR, IT, facilities, legal, etc., and towards employee service-oriented models with complete experience management.
However, it’s one thing to aim to provide the kind of experience that makes employees value the services — but it’s another thing entirely to know. Normal IT metrics can measure a lot, like the number of incidents, wait times, and whether or not the problem is solved. What they can’t measure is whether employees are happy with the services provided.
If you want to know how employees truly feel about their digital workplace, there are other questions to ask here. For example:
- Are agents providing a great experience in terms of kindness, empathy, proactiveness and knowledge
- Did the solution provided match the employee’s individual expectations?
- Are employees overwhelmed by all the changes?
An effective way to understand what makes employees happy in their work(place) is by looking beyond standard IT metrics, surveys and polls to capture sentiments similar to the ones we’ve outlined above. Measure frequently and with small scope. Analyze a broad array of signals with AI, using modern tooling and devices.
Still, it’s not metrics that make employees happy. They need to see that action is being taken on their concerns and that the organization changes according to employee input. So, before introducing even more metrics, ensure that action is being taken on all feedback and employees should be involved.
Employees know best what works for them. They want to be heard and to influence improvements in their workplaces. The key to employee experience is providing ways they can contribute and take part in reaching both personal goals and company goals. Active personal recognition and appreciation builds pride and will strengthen the employee experience.
Based on these observations, Atos has redesigned our digital workplace offerings to put the employee at the center of all operations. We make sure every individual voice is heard and influences the solutions we deliver to make employee life easier. Atos partners with the most innovative software companies to provide a digital workplace that is simple and convenient for the employee — and efficient for the organization.
As an example, in this video, we invite you to learn how Atos Digital Workplace makes newly hired employees feel special. We take care of all the necessary actions to provide the support, training and equipment required, so you can engage new employees with your teams even before their first day on the job. We are confident that a positive first experience and the great feeling it leaves behind will attract even more talent to your organization.
Experienced manager and innovation consultant.
Janusz has more than 20 years of track record in the IT management area. Passionate to deliver the best experiences to our customers. For Janusz, driving business transformation has a lot in common with navigation where courage is supported by knowledge and technology. He puts innovation and business creativity in the center of operations.
Before joining the Digital Workplace Innovation Team, Janusz led the digital transformation programs for large customers in energy and telecom markets.
Date Reitsema is an experienced manager with a strong background in the field of IT secondment and a thought leader in Employee Experience.
After several business management roles he has structured and lead the Atos Employee Experience program “We Are Atos”, which is the key Group transformation program for the continuous improvement of the way of working all together, covering Social Value, Diversity & Inclusion, Wellbeing, Life@work and ultimately employee satisfaction which leads also to better customer satisfaction.
In his current role he has overall responsibility for the Employee Experience Accelerators as part of the Digital Workplace solution of Atos.