Creating a smart workplace culture

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an image of Graham Smith, included to show our readers how best to create a fit for purpose workplace
Graham Smith, Flow Workplace

Graham Smith of Flow Workplace Solutions discusses the key considerations and benefits of creating a smart workplace culture.

The long-term success of a smart workplace cannot always be captured by a set of KPIs as the widest benefits are reflected in a change in the culture of the organisation. The work culture is made up of the subtle blend of people, place and technology. Application of smart working presents an opportunity to develop a positive, progressive culture where continuous improvement becomes the norm.

A smart workplace is based on the belief that people are given clear goals and work environments and technology removes barriers and supports success. The blend of people, place and technology will be applied to create an environment in which people will be motivated to work without barriers. There is an assumption that people will take advantage of the additional freedom to take control of their workload, however, organisations will need to put in place clear guidance and parameters of to define their expectations from the new working environment. There is a quid pro quo between the employer and the employee, both should be striving to achieve the best possible results. To ensure progress in line with expectation mutually agreed performance targets need to be established. In exchange for the new freedoms for the employee, there must be clear expectations of outputs and results.

To shift the culture successfully:

  • Managers question assumptions about the most effective way to manage people, not expect their employees to be present for fixed hours to prove they are working
  • Adopt and support the thinking that people can motivate themselves given autonomy
  • Allow people to define when and where they do their work
  • Manage people by outcomes
  • Give people autonomy and support them in achieving mutually agreed goals

Benefits of a smart workplace culture

Tangible benefits:

  • Higher productivity
  • Improved customer service
  • Cost saving on real estate, utilities and services
  • Cost savings on business travel
  • Lower employee sickness and absenteeism
  • Lower employee turnover
  • Resources better matched to customer demand
  • Faster response to market demand
  • Potential reduction in CO2 emissions

Intangible benefits:

  • Reduced risk of business disruption
  • Higher employee morale and loyalty
  • Healthier workforce through better work life balance
  • Increased creativity and innovation
  • Greater customer loyalty
  • Stronger management skills
  • More transparent succession planning
  • Greater geographical reach for talent
  • More diversity in senior management
  • Enhanced employer reputation
Productivity

The majority of any organisation’s cost is its employees, anything that can be done to address productivity is going to have a positive impact on the bottom line. A series of small increases in productivity will add up to a major improvement in overall performance. In its simplest form, work that can be done to remove the day to day niggles will lead to greater productivity and a happier workforce.

Workplace wellbeing

Striking the right balance between work and personal life leads to happy dedicated employees. Progressive organisations are considerate to the impact of happy healthy people in delivering excellent customer service which in turn will benefit the bottom line.

Creativity and problem solving

Choice of a range of work environments which support a range of tasks allows an organisation to maximise the potential of its workforce. Dull and repetitive workplaces can suppress creativity and problem-solving

Business continuity

No one can predict the future, there are multiple threats which could jeopardise delivery of services. Organisations should strive to remove location dependency and ensure all information is available in a secure environment accessible from any location.

From personal experience of Norovirus in a global headquarters, having robust IT systems and being able to instruct team to work from alternative locations maintains business continuity and preserves customer services.

Reduced property portfolio

Savings on property portfolio can be achieved, however, it should not be the primary driver of change. There needs to be a robust change management programme in place to ensure that people are happy and effectively working flexibly prior to realising the benefits of a reduced cost base.

To conclude…

The smart workplace focuses on organisations’ strategic goals and delivers long term benefits through a happy and flexible workforce. Changes cannot happen in isolation and there needs to be a concentrated effort to combine people, place and technology into a modern dynamic work culture.

CMI Workplace and Flow Workplace work in partnership on client projects to deliver the very best in workplace design and smart workplace culture.


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