Organizational resilience and workplace analytics
In our annual quest to find and resonate on the topics that mean the most in the new year going forward, I want to talk about my two research areas for this Spring.
Organizational resilience for me is top of mind. This combines a number of factors — cyber resilience, employee motivation and commitment, resource allocation and supplier relationships, core competencies and agility to go to market. In a time when economic factors, levels of demand uncertainty and regulatory risk all put the organization on edge, how resources are allocated, supported and made agile will allow organizations to pivot more flexibly.
Technologically, we have been focusing on productivity and collaborative work this last year. My concerns are echoed by a recent paper in the MIT Sloan Management Review. The authors, Jonathan Trevor and Matthias Holweg, both at Oxford, stated that collaborative technologies do help bond hybrid and remote workplaces, but these tools and platforms still haven’t made the grade as far as replicating in-person settings. This is where I am putting my own efforts this Spring in looking at work as an experience (WaaE) and the worlplace as an experiential location.
In their paper, they claim that organizations and the technology they employ have done a good job of keeping everyone connected and in tune with what’s going on, but still can’t fully replicate the innovation seen in face-to-face workplaces. Perhaps their most significant observations are how organizations face challenges getting people together in one place at the right time, and the fact that employees in the survey “complained that work had become more transactional and operational in the hybrid environment. They missed feeling engaged and noticed a decline in the infusion of new ideas.
Being resilient as an organization is about harnessing the resources in a timely and effective manner. The ability to be innovative will hinge on how agile and supple an organization can be.
Having the right place to work to be agile and innovative will be critical. A part of this MIT survey looked at real estate usage. According to their study, ” The top planned changes cited by our sample are additional social areas (80%), creativity spaces (75%), meeting rooms (74%), shared offices (74%), and hot-desking (71%). Corner offices are on their way out.”
Which leads me to the second critical area I am examining this Spring.
Workplace analytics combines occupancy analytics, visitor management systems and more traditional facilities management tools in examining usage. This is normally used by facilities managers, corporate real estate teams and the C suite to understand spending and costs.
But what we really want to examine is utility, in other words, how the workplace served its function in supporting work.
Key question I will be asking: How does the infrastructure support the work activity? Can we take a pulse on a regular basis to see what contribution technology in the workplace makes in making work happen productively and with purpose?
As an example, I bring up the latest survey recently from Relogix, a workplace analytics firm, on global workspace usage.
This report suggests that the last six months or so have been relatively static regarding those coming in and those remaining remote. But what is interesting is the shift between individual offices and the collaboration spaces that were once connected to them, both of which declined, whereas general meeting spaces and casual social spaces doubled and quadrupled.
People are looking to engage with other people if they make the commute into the office. Where does technology play a role here and can we make the workplace a destination and an experience?
Assuming you are not commuting during the holiday period, I wish you a wonderful season and a happy new year. May 2023 be productive, full of good health and wonderful innovation!