The Workplace of the Future – Four Essential Strategies To Get You There

Get ready. The workplace of the future has arrived more suddenly than anyone could have imagined. When it comes to “where”, “when” and “how” we work, behaviours have shifted across all of the world’s economies.

It seems not so long ago we were all talking about artificial intelligence and whether or not robots would take our jobs, but the sudden impact of a pandemic has reminded us that technologies are only one aspect of the massive shift in our ways of working.

What do we mean by the workplace of the future?

When we talk about the workplace of the future, we are talking about three main elements:

  • Work (the what & how)
  • People (the who)
  • Workplace (the where).

There is no doubt that the future workplace will be a place where concerns focus on:

  • Health and safety guidelines
  • Efficiencies
  • Cost-reduction, such as reviewing real estate profiles and leases
  • Challenges on team integrations
  • Understanding reluctancy to return to the office

Considering such concerns across the three main elements of the future workplace helps to consider both the impact and the opportunity that the future workplace presents in a strategy.

Where do I start?

The crucial first step in defining your future workplace is to translate your vision into a set of design principles.

  1. Design Principles

These are simple yet specific statements defining what is tangibly different to what, how, who or where work is done. A carefully drafted set of design principles (typically between 7 and 15 statements) helps align your organisation around the vision. These principles also make the future relatable to all employees whilst giving guidance and boundaries for decisions that will be required to be made to develop your operating model.

This approach can apply to an entire company, a business unit or an individual function.

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  1. Value & Value Streams

Focus on the specific value and value steams in the business. Begin by defining what the value is that you deliver to your end consumer or beneficiary. Then map at a high level the value streams that need to operate across your organisation to enable the delivery of the value.

When defining the value streams, ensure you reference the design principles to ensure they are embodied in what you define/create.

The objective of this is to define what and how you do work without the boundaries of the who and where the work should be performed.

  1. Understand your critical decisions

As you work through your value streams ensure you call out the critical decisions that you need to make as an organisation. Good principles often highlight specific types of decisions that your workplace of the future should facilitate.

  1. Identify who & what skills are needed

Explain which capabilities are essential to fulfilling strategic goals, such as “support a repeatable product design process that balances customer requirements and technical feasibility”. Or “allow us to easily add and subtract businesses.” The latter principle, for instance, would suggest an operating model that maintains minimal integration across its business units. Once you are aware of the capabilities needed you can find the right skills to deliver these goals.

 

If you would like further information on these strategies or to discuss your workplace of the future, contact Simon Adams: simona@ninefeettall.com.

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