If you feel like your workplace culture is changing right now, you’re not alone. Decentralised workplaces have made it harder to maintain a company culture based on face-to-face interaction. So, we need to evolve with help from technology.
As we mentioned in a recent Wirelive episode, the ways in which businesses and teams operate will never be the same again given so much global upheaval. And digital workplace solutions will be key to enabling change. Here’s how we see modern workplace culture evolving.
In 2022, modern workplace culture will be:
- More flexible
- More diverse
- More driven
- Making smarter use of space
- Supported by tech
Flexibility is the new normal
We’re unlikely to see the return of the five day ‘in-person’ working week. The hybrid workplace model is in its ascendancy now that so many people have come to realise that “remote work” is just work, yet we still love the social aspect of the workplace.
According to research by Steelcase, people want to get back to the office because they want connection to company purpose, a sense of community, and support for their productivity. However, they also want options to work flexibly.
This is why 87% of business leaders expect to offer more flexibility – we want the best of both worlds.
What we’ll see in the coming months is confirmation of these changes in office policy. Rather than dictating who can work from home and who can’t, office culture will become more empowering to the employees. People can choose for themselves how and where they work.
And how do we enable that?
Businesses will turn to things like desk booking systems that give workers greater flexibility and give managers visibility over their mobile workforce. Even small businesses, who never considered the need for a desk booking system, will need this kind of solution.
An alternative or complementary solution is hotdesking, which requires more staff to have powerful personal devices that allow them to work away from a dedicated PC. Supported by cloud-based digital workplace tools like Teams and Slack, teams will be able to continue to collaborate effectively.
And all of this needs to be underpinned by an intelligent approach to security. Zero trust networks keep the flexible modern workplace safe from the office to the coffee shop, and beyond. This new approach to cyber security enables flexible working without compromising on critical security.
Diversity will shape future cultural trends
Hybrid workplaces give businesses the opportunity to recruit from further afield. This diversifies businesses enormously, which in turn diversifies modern workplace culture.
Why limit yourself to one locality? If the working conditions are practical, it makes sense to employ the best person for the advertised job, even if they live on the other side of the country.
– Becky Simms, CEO Reflect Digital
We’re likely to see a change in the pace at which workplace culture evolves as a result of so many new perspectives entering the business. It’s going to be important for leaders to cultivate the culture with compassion and transparency so everyone’s on the same page.
Long-standing veterans of a business might see diversity as seriously disruptive. So as essential as it is to champion new blood, it’s important that you acknowledge everyone's views and manage their concerns.
Employee engagement is key, which is enabled by unified communications, data-driven sentiment analysis, and regular employee touchpoints. The traditional HR IT architecture is going to expand considerably.
A shared vision has never been more important to company culture
We know that a common goal is key to business success. And in a decentralised workplace, sharing that vision has never been more important.
So, we’re likely to see many company cultures putting purpose first. Employers will share the big picture frequently, and people will be encouraged to see how their work is uniquely connected to that picture.
Teams will also have a better understanding of how their work connects and intersects with other departments. We’ll all be more mindful of our dependencies because they’re less obvious when people aren’t in the office together.
What will we use offices for?
Instead of a hive to keep worker bees in, the office is likely to become a hub for team check-ins and collaborative projects. And, given our natural human need for socialisation, the office will be the beating heart of modern workplace culture.
And the best part? You’ll have the space to do it right.
Social spaces and collaborative work areas will have the room they need if the culture encourages that. Conversely, in sectors like finance, where one-on-one mentoring is so important, the office will be designed to focus more on intimate spaces and study areas.
No more compromises, no need to hire more space – businesses will use their existing space better.
Leaders will also establish new policies so team members can collaborate as well as possible. This could include:
- Establishing core hours
- Making calendars transparent
- Creating guidelines for what tasks need to be done in-person
How tech supports a modern workplace culture
Traditional office setups permit a one-size-fits-all approach to IT. Each team member gets the same technology as everyone else. A hybrid working approach means that everyone needs varying levels of support and different pieces of tech to achieve their goals.
This means that as well as diverse locations and voices, you need to cultivate a company culture that spans a variety of channels and devices. As you’ve seen so far, many of the changes to workplace culture will require new technologies to be effective:
- Cloud-based collaboration tools
- Desk booking systems
- Omnichannel communications solutions
- Reliable networking
- Unified endpoint management and security
According to the World Economic Forum, cloud computing, big data analytics, and IoT/connected devices are the top three technologies businesses are most likely to adopt by 2025. We know that companies will need to harness all three of these if their cultures are going to thrive.
Here's to the future
Company culture is different wherever you go. And while we can predict some broad changes to come, only two things are certain:
- Nobody can say for sure what the working culture of tomorrow will look like
- The way we work will never be the same again