Traditionally, the workplace has been the location where people go to fulfill job responsibilities in exchange for some type of compensation. This activity's core objective remains the same; however, the WHERE and HOW have been put into question. Changes in the business world, customer demands, and the most recent global pandemic have raised the importance of addressing these questions.
We recently conducted an international survey where professionals across industries were asked what workplace style they would prefer when the current pandemic was over. We surveyed hundreds of professionals from different levels of the organization, including; staff, managers, directors, chief executive officers, marketing specialists, human resources analysts, sales professionals, senior auditors, partners audit firms, consultants, system administrators, and business owners. These survey respondents represented 13 countries including; Argentina, Brazil, Canadá, Chile, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Jamaica, México, Panamá, Perú, Puerto Rico, Spain, and the USA.
The survey results suggest very thought-provoking insights. 95% of respondents indicated that organizations should rethink the traditional office environment. 69% reported that the workplace office environment should adopt some type of hybrid model. 26% suggest that the traditional workplace environment should move to a work-from-home model. Only 5% of the respondents indicated they would prefer to go back to a conventional office model.
These overwhelming results seem to suggest that companies should focus more on the quality and final product of the work performed and less on where or how it is done. These results cannot be ignored. In fact, this modern thinking should be used as a conversation starter to evaluate how the workplace should be re-imagined. Progressive organizations have already implemented or have instituted successful work-from-home programs. However, the majority of companies have not even started thinking about what that would mean to their operations, processes, staff, and, ultimately, the company's future.
Upgrading traditional workplace environments is not a quick endeavor. Companies need to start thinking about their infrastructure, staffing levels, training and education commitment, and senior management vision for the organization's future.
Moving to a modern workplace environment will require every employee's commitment and willingness to change the status quo. Some considerations should be given to; (1) Setting work expectations, (2) Focusing on adaptive learning (3) Using scalable technology, (4) Designing job performance measuring tools, and (5) Removing workplace physical borders.
It will be interesting to see what results you will get if your organizations were to conduct an anonymous internal survey. Keep in mind that internal results might be skewed due to employees' concerns of jeopardizing their source of income if they are sincere in their responses. The success of your potential survey will be measured by its execution, including the employees' trust that their anonymity will be protected, their opinions will be valued, and actions will be taken based on survey results.
We are at a historic crossroads where a decision will need to be made soon; do we go back to the traditional office environment or do we prepare to adopt a very likely version of our future.
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