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How to wrestle back control of your workplace strategy from COVID-19

  • Posted on June 17, 2020
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes

Six months ago, if you were asked what’s driving your workplace strategy, it would have been trickier to guess your reply. You might have been focused on any number of pursuits. 

Like building a compelling employee experience to reduce employee attrition and attract top talent.

Perhaps expanding the use of automation and AI to lower costs or increase capacity.

Or changing the way works gets done to enhance product and service delivery. 

But ask what’s driving your workplace strategy today and the answer to that question is probably clear. 

Because what’s driving everyone’s workplace strategy right now is COVID-19.

Coerced by a crisis
The pandemic has forced a remote working agenda on nearly every organization, all over the world. COVID-19 has demanded you change or evolve the way you work – regardless of whether that was something you were seeking to do before.

Yet, while the COVID-19 outbreak was a crisis no one saw coming, there’s been a trend of increasing high-risk scenarios in recent decades. These disruptive events are increasing in frequency and impact.

COVID-19 might have come out of the blue, but disruptive events are accelerating in impact and frequency. That’s why you need a framework and strategy that helps you to respond quickly and at scale.

Rapid responses, rational reactions
The immediate step many firms took as COVID-19 swept across the globe was to adopt a technology-driven agenda to enable remote/hybrid remote working at scale supporting business continuity. We proposed embracing an Elastic Digital Workplace approach – a way to protect your people and productivity while helping you to securely adapt to a changing business reality.  

The Elastic Digital Workplace features six core tenets: culture and adoption; elastic collaboration; a virtual work environment; seamless networking; distributed continuity; and adaptive security. While not every organization will have embraced all these elements, those who have been able to weather the early impact of the outbreak have addressed most of the considerations.

Evolving the Elastic Digital Workplace 
But while COVID-19 initially meant an explosive demand in basic remote working enablement (and there are still substantial rapid response needs) we’re now seeing clients ask for help with bigger transformation requirements across the intersection of the workplace and the workforce.

We’ve identified three phases that organizations need to move through as they look to rethink their approach to the workplace in light of COVID-19:

  1. Respond: The phase that most organizations have now worked through, as they seek to provide resources to employees and protect business and productivity – adapting ways of working, whilst supporting their health and wellbeing.
  2. Reset: The stage many firms are heading towards, moving to a more flexible and adaptable workforce that has an appropriate balance of staff and suppliers as well as increasing levels of automation.
  3. Renew: The goal going forward, with a new employee value proposition that enables a continually evolving business, which can harness new skills and digital resources from the global marketplace efficiently.

As they look to reset and renew their approach, organizations are seeking to reshape boundaries to increase collaboration and reimagine not just who does work tasks but also how work gets done. Their focus is broadening, with the Elastic Digital Workplace complemented by a focus on workplace culture and employee experience as well as business operations. 

You might already be familiar with this more holistic approach – it’s central to our Workplace Experience framework:

 

 

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Having a clear WX strategy on which to base future workplace and workforce decisions is an imperative as you rethink how to move forward. And this is more than just a methodology – it’s the opportunity for real competitive advantage. According to our research, companies in the top 20% of WX scores have remained more resilient throughout the crisis, outperforming their peers.

Our new guide discusses the key considerations you’ll need to address as you look to reclaim control of your workplace strategy from COVID-19. It walks you through five steps to help your organization survive and thrive in the ‘new’: 
  1. Confirm your future business, workplace and employee experience blueprint and roadmap
  2. Modernize, extend and fully exploit the workplace technology ecosystem to reduce costs, improve business agility, resilience and ROI
  3. Reconfigure how work gets done in a hybrid remote environment to protect sales, lower the cost to serve whilst increasing customer centricity and agility
  4. Adapt the workforce and sourcing configuration to align with new ways of working, talent requirements and cost base
  5. Protect business resilience, productivity, culture. Achieve meaningful technology adoption and behavioral change with workplace analytics

Discover how you can rethink your workplace and your workforce, to survive and thrive in the new normal – read our new guide now.

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