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How to use tech to make work better


The events of the last 18 months have sparked a step change in how employers and employees view work. One thing that has definitely come out of this period is that it is now clear that flexibility is a top priority for workforces around the globe. This is supported by BCW’s International Insights Study, in partnership with Workplace from Meta, which found that whilst 39% of the workforce believe they have flexibility there are still another 50% that want it. For HR functions wanting to attract and retain top talent, this could be an important thing to remember.

And with greater flexibility enabling employees to work in a way that best suits their lifestyle and their work-life balance, this could have a positive impact on several areas that HR looks after if well executed: from engagement to morale and much, much more. Yet, in order to create a digital-first working environment that mutually works for staff and the business - and delivers on the demand for flexible work - it’s crucial that HR has the right tech in place to deliver on this.

To find out more about what best practice with regards to using tech in the workplace looks like – and how employers can use it to engage and communicate with staff and drive better business outcomes – Abby Guthkelch, Head of Global Executive Solutions at Workplace from Meta explains what the biggest challenges currently facing HR and employers are, how organisations can manage flexible ways of working (and technology’s role in this), and best practice guidance for engaging staff in hybrid or virtual workplaces.

Abby Guthkelch,

Head of Global Executive Solutions

“Flexibility is the main priority for the global workforce...”

Q

What are the biggest changes currently facing the world of work and HR?


A

Flexibility is the main priority for the global workforce [and] when, how, where and how much people work, surfaces in the views of overall satisfaction at work. Soon to be published research from BCW and Workplace from Meta found that whilst 39% of the workforce believe they have flexibility, an additional 50% want it. The pandemic has opened up the possibilities of real flexibility. Greater flexibility and enabling people to work in ways that supports their overall work-life balance, will lead to greater engagement and it is now what is expected and demanded by the younger members of the workforce. Organisations that embrace this, and ensure their culture reflects this, will benefit from securing the best talent in the market and retaining it.

Q

How can leaders manage flexible ways of working – and what role does tech play in this?


A

Leaders need to establish working habits that allow everyone to meaningfully participate and do their best work from anywhere. Some of the biggest and most difficult behavioural changes that need to happen to enable successful hybrid teams centre around collaboration. It’s really important to help educate people on how and when to use tools so no employee is left out or left behind. At the same time it’s essential that leaders also help teams develop healthy boundaries around work schedules encouraging the use of tech features like ‘Do Not Disturb’ and silence notifications outside work hours. Leaders must cultivate a culture that hinges on trust and results rather than physical presence. 

Q

What does best practice look like when engaging staff in a virtual or hybrid workplace?


A

With some employees working remotely and some in-person, concerns over unequal visibility and access to information, lack of trust, and less opportunities to build personal relationships and team camaraderie are top of mind for many organisations. To meet the new hybrid landscape head on, people managers will need to define new working habits that ensure effective, meaningful and enjoyable ways of working for everyone.

At Workplace we’ve identified five guiding principles that every manager should consider as a framework for hybrid team success:

  • Effective communication
  • Intentional team building
  • Balance and trust
  • Recognition and digital presence
  • Inclusive collaboration

Q

How can employers best use technology to communicate with staff?


A

The biggest threat to employee trust and belonging is uncertainty. A lack of information creates a vacuum that’s likely to be filled by rumours and misinformation. This means that you need to ensure that there is a place where everyone in the organisation (regardless of their role type, work location or seniority) can be a part of company-wide conversations – where everyone can participate, talk, listen, learn and connect with each other. Technology enables employers to create a central place where they are able to build an inclusive community, where silos can be broken down, and where people are empowered to work together, building relationships that matter to them.

“The biggest threat to employee trust and belonging is uncertainty...”

Q

How important will the role of technology be to the future of work?


A

At Workplace we believe in the power of employee voice, empowering organisations to bring all their people onto one central platform and enabling them to have a voice and connect with each other. Culture, collaboration and connectivity are essential for any workplace to thrive not only now but in the workplace of the future. If you start with your people, helping them thrive and feel part of something and happy about the work they do, it will have a direct impact on how your people work, and will reflect in great customer experience and in business performance.