GNcareers, from Gulf News

New age workplaces require a changed mindset

New age workplaces require a changed mindsetImage Credit: Supplied

To complete a successful workplace transformation you must unlearn what you know as the typical workplace.

Imagine: Walking into your office, checking your email and getting the following messaging: ''From next week, all employees are being moved to unassigned, open seating. Please pack up your belongings before you head out for the holiday break.''

The usual response would be ''There is no way I am giving up my office or desk to move to open seating!'' It turns out that this is actually a great thing.

Many progressive organisations are rethinking their office space to drive down business costs. Why? Because office space is expensive.

And organisations with assigned office spaces are paying for these facilities, regardless of whether employees are in the office or at their desks.

On a given day, many companies see less than 50 per cent office utilisation, as employees may be off-site attending a client meeting, travelling, on vacation or simply working from home. Therefore, creating an office space based on actual need can drive efficiency and significant cost savings.

This can be achieved by redesigning the workplace to offer a more inspiring and engaging environment that improves employee productivity. To do this however, a company needs to get out of old habits and unlearn what you already know.

Working remotely

Creating an open office is one thing — a complete workplace transformation is totally different...

As employees, we are accustomed to come into the office every day, work in a location in plain view of our manager, and use a traditional desktop or laptop to complete our daily work regime. While that may have been the reality in the past, a workplace transformation will change how we work, the technologies we use, and will ultimately enable us to reach our full potential.

The ability to work remotely is a key factor for this transformation to ignite, and critically, is fast becoming a requirement for the next generation of talent when looking for employment. Recently, a professor from INSEAD Business School, Abu Dhabi stated that a decade from now, millennials will constitute for about 75 per cent of the global workforce.

Businesses need to understand what millennials are looking for when seeking employment and flexible working patterns has moved up the expectation list. Tomorrow's C-suite and business leaders do not see work as a 'place' but as something they do.

Companies must:

Unlearn the definition of an office

It is time to move beyond the workplace as a room with offices and cubicles and instead create open spaces and meeting rooms where organisational and project teams can sit together and collaborate.

For people that need a quiet space to do their work, private rooms should be provided for employees to take calls or complete their creative work without distraction. And, to make sure employees remain engaged and upbeat, use some of the reclaimed office space to give something back to employees — a cafe, yoga room, or an outdoor space.

Unlearn the traditional management of employees

No longer can a ''good employee'' be considered as someone who simply comes into the office every day, puts in face time, works through the to-do list and then goes home. However, this has been the traditional expectation that many managers have from their personnel.

A good employee is one that produces fantastic results and goes the extra mile to add value to their business. But this can only be achieved if employees feel inspired. Therefore, senior management should no longer focus on where employees physically are.

Instead let them work wherever is best for the project they are working on, and that includes locations including coffee shops, libraries or homes. Taking this a step further, managers should hire employees who are best suited for a given job — not just those that are located near a corporate headquarters.

Unlearn the corporate ''desktop'' as the only way to work

The corporate PC had its place. It provided employees a single way to access their business apps and data. Unfortunately, the corporate PC is a thing of the past: employees want to use their own computers, tablets and smartphones to manage email and complete their work. It is time to transition away from the ''desktop'' to a workspace solution that securely delivers all of the apps and data employees need to their device of choice.

The workspace must also provide collaboration tools so that people can (and are encouraged) to work together on projects or have face-to-face meetings regardless of their location. This mobile workspace model ensures that employees have access to all the resources and information they need, as well as the ability to collaborate with their colleagues and customers around the world.

By rethinking, or ''unlearning'', how work has traditionally been completed, a new workplace is naturally created that is flexible, engaging and gives people the ability to work where they are most inspired.

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Source: Johnny Karam, Special to