The news that hybrid working is the future of work surely comes as music to the ears of many. For office workers, this means a flexible start each morning or the ability to make the most of “digital nomad” visas. Organizations have also benefited, with up to 70% seeing productivity improvements and reduced facility management costs. More importantly, hybrid working bodes well for diversity and inclusion.
This rapid shift to hybrid working means employees want to be able to work seamlessly across locations, devices, and on the go. Organizations must now review their digital operating model and deal with the technical and operational debt accumulated over the years. With the fundamental infrastructure in place, it is imperative that organizations take the next steps to deliver the total employee experience.
In 2022, hybrid leadership in the workplace has two components: optimizing the base and preparing for transformation. Here we take a look at the key trends that we expect to accelerate this year.
Closing the “digital dexterity” gap
Digital dexterity refers to an employee’s ability to take full advantage of the technology at their fingertips. In other words, can I use the tools given to me to their full potential? Or does it prove to be a challenge? Answering these questions is a bit tricky because we have four generations in the workplace – baby boomers and Generations X, Y and Z – with different technological skills. Failure to manage this disparity and maximize capabilities has a direct impact on productivity – and with more and more connected technologies entering the workplace this year, the problems will only snowball. they are not solved.
Closing the gap starts with training. Hiring external trainers or using internal IT teams to explain the “what” and “how” to employees may seem like a no-brainer, but few organizations have done it. Productivity tools like Microsoft Teams are more than messaging services – they’re platforms for a more efficient collaborative way of working. Optimization of familiar programs is essential; introducing capabilities to increase productivity through automation and emerging technologies is the next step.
With the introduction of IoT-connected workplaces and with many employees working from home, data ecosystems are becoming increasingly large and complex. Both multiply entry points for cyber attackers, making robust cybersecurity more important than ever.
With a lens on resolving new vulnerabilities, leaders must assess how this will affect the employee experience. To solve this problem, we must move from strong security to integrated capabilities while ensuring the protection of partners and supply chains. The high threat level is beyond the capabilities of small security vendors or in-house security vendors, and so leaders must engage with larger global organizations to manage security. This does not mean the end of internal security, but should accelerate its evolution towards a more employee-centric service.
Achieve true flexibility
We are much closer to understanding what flexibility means for employees. It’s the freedom to work anywhere, anytime, and however you can be most productive and mindful of your personal well-being. Leaders need to make informed decisions about the extent to which this is offered, but what is clear is that flexibility is desired and desirable. A recent study found that flexible working provides a £37billion-a-year boost to the UK economy and that with a 50% increase in its use, its value could rise to £55billion.
The next step is operational flexibility. We are already seeing a shift in how customers interact with services. Agile contracts from niche service providers are increasingly in demand because they allow organizations to respond more quickly, instead of being weighed down by long-term locked-in commitments. The influx of new vendors offering this “Netflix” model will be important to meet the specific needs of the industry by offering verticalized solutions.
Increase inclusiveness and sustainability
Gartner Research on hybrid working found it can boost inclusion by 24%. The technology that keeps us connected has allowed organizations to broaden the pool of candidates by expanding geographic reach. This reflects the importance of providing a work experience that goes beyond simple connection. Increasingly, employees expect consumer experiences that are both personalized and intuitive to their needs.
Technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality can be used to improve training, collaboration and recruiting. Engaging in simulations of everyday interactions, for example, is an effective way to instill a culture of diversity and inclusion.
Digital adoption is and will be fundamental to achieving this. Therefore, it is important to design a workplace that connects technology to people and workspaces. If, for example, an employee’s laptop reaches the end of its life, new predictive technology should be able to anticipate and replace it before it fails. The “self-healing” workplace is just one of the many ways new technologies can be harnessed to make employees feel more valued and engaged. Additionally, AI and data-driven technologies can automate workloads, freeing up time for employees to innovate or engage in tasks higher up the value chain.
In addition to inclusiveness, this year we will see sustainability goals accelerated through hybrid working and new technologies. At Capgemini, we have the dual ambition of delivering a net zero future to our clients as well as within our group. By leveraging workplace-friendly technology and tools, we seek to help our customers save 10 million tonnes of carbon by 2030. As a group, we have an internal goal of becoming carbon neutral d ‘by 2025 and net zero by 2030. Global carbon emissions fell 7% in 2020, attributed to reduced business travel and lower office energy bills for electricity, heating and air conditioning. With the right Digital Workplace tools and platforms, there’s no reason this trend shouldn’t continue.
Putting experience behind the wheel
At Capgemini, experience drives everything. It may have once been misconstrued as fluffy, but the past two years have shown us that connecting employees is far more nuanced than delivering essential technology. Experience is a critical measure of how people interact with what they work with and how it interacts with them. We invest in technologies like Metaverse, quantum computing and applied innovation to design a future-ready workplace that delivers a frictionless consumer experience for everyone. The global pandemic has taught us the importance of business resilience and agility. It is therefore fundamental to optimize the base and secure the workplace in order to be able to accelerate on solid foundations. The future workplace is responsive to human emotions, motivates employees to embrace technology, is inclusive in nature, and puts agility first.
Looking to enable hybrid working in your organization? Visit our website to learn more about the connected employee experience offer or contact our expert
Global Head of Digital Workplace Services, Cloud Infrastructure Services