How technology can mediate between flexibility and community

Is an increasing expectation for flexibility at conflict with the employee’s desires for human connection? A new report highlights how workplace technology can intervene to bridge the gap

Today’s employees are facing an emerging dilemma which is characterised by their two greatest desire: flexibility and human connection. Increasingly, these non-negotiable aspects of work are conflicting as organisations struggle to find the balance between mandating employees back to the office and giving employees flexibility.

To engage and retain their employees, companies need to ensure that they feel strongly connected to their workplace and its culture. Employees crave a thriving workplace community that they want to be a part of. This community needs to feel personalised, easily accessible to everyone, and memorable enough to keep them coming back for more.

A new report by workplace experience technology expert HqO explores how – and why – innovative employers are leveraging technology to: create value in the office; support flexible and hybrid work; engage and retain talent; and make more informed decisions based on employee feedback, usage and building data.

The report, entitled ‘Investing in Employee Experience’, highlights key research and, in a series of use cases, looks at how the right workplace technology can affect the entire company.

Enhancing community

The challenge of marrying flexible work with increased human connection has created an opportunity for technology to intervene. According to PwC, most employees seek out digital solutions – such as communication tools, resource booking, and mobile access – that will help them do their best work. However, only 60 per cent of employees say they’re satisfied with the mobile options available to them.

Employees also reported that they’d be willing to spend up to two days per month on training to upgrade their digital skills to accommodate new technology – showing a willingness to invest in tools that would take away the stressors of the average work environment.

The right technology intervention can impact the entire company at different decision-making stages. The report outlines the key decision-makers within an organisations, the challenges they face, and how technology can be used to intervene.

The Workplace Experience Manager

With the focus on employee and workplace experiences on the rise, many companies are hiring workplace experience managers to spearhead these efforts. Typically, someone in this role would be responsible for defining a company’s workplace experience vision and strategy. A workplace experience manager might have trouble keeping pace with evolving employee needs, as they might lack the insights and feedback required to make ongoing improvements. This disconnect could lead to difficulty in communicating programming to hybrid employees and getting employees to adopt new processes, services, and tools.

A well-rounded employee experience platform can provide a single app for employees to manage their workplace experience. This same app can also host content and events; facilitate desk, conference room, and parking booking; and collect meaningful insights on employee sentiment and an office’s space usage. Such a tool becomes a one-stop-shop for workplace experience managers, which can inform future investments and ultimately cut down on office costs.

The Human Resources Director

HR teams are becoming increasingly important in the pivot to people-centred workplaces. Their responsibilities include important tasks like defining company goals and strategy related to staffing, recruiting and retention. HR teams are facing emerging challenges such as the ‘Great Resignation’ and keeping check of employees’ physical and mental wellbeing. Often HR teams face low adoption rates of employee services and perks, and lack the engagement data needed to make the cultural impact that they want to make.

Workplace technology gives HR teams the analytics, communication tools, space management tools, wellness services, and other capabilities to meet their goals. This means that it can increase employee engagement, contributing to higher employee retention and leading to a reduction in hiring and onboarding costs. Higher engagement also means higher productivity due to time-savings, increased awareness of employee resources, services and perks, and an overall safer and healthier workplace.

The IT Director

IT Directors are also playing a key role in the modern workplace. Their job is to continuously improve their company’s technology stack and facilitate a great experience of IT tools for employees while maintaining enterprise security. With most of the workforce hybrid, it can be difficult for IT teams to onboard new employees due to scattered information and services. This leads to a low adoption of technology investments, and a disparate set of tools that are owned and used by different internal stakeholders – thus increasing the risk of a security breach.

An employee experience app can take all current integrations and unify them in a single location. This improves the employee experience without having to change current IT systems and processes, as well as maintains enterprise securities while it streamlines the technology onboarding and maintenance processes.

The Real Estate Director

Real estate directors manage all real estate-related costs, including those related to a company’s portfolio analysis and technology stack. Real estate directors may have difficulty finding ways to decrease operational building costs, decrease unused office suite space due to hybrid work, and understand the right amount of physical space and services needed to support the workforce.

Having workplace experience technology helps real estate directors with capacity planning, space utilisation, and employee feedback and usage. This is due to the meaningful insights that an end-to-end platform can provide, which help to make more informed decisions on future investments and reveal opportunities for space efficiency gains.

As decision-maker roles continue to develop and evolve, there will increasingly be an opportunity for technology to make meaningful contributions to the decision-making process. The report explores in detail how organisations can start their technology selection process and ultimately create a workplace that people want to go to.

HqO is a Community Member of WORKTECH Academy
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