Are we ready for workplace transformation?
In today’s modern world, change is underway within our workplaces. In the public sector, more and more employees want flexible schedules, better technology, and employers are struggling to attract and keep new talent. Moving forward, what role does government, its organizations and every individual play modernizing workplaces?
Here are some of my thoughts about the role we all play in workplace transformation.
The government’s role
Policies & Initiatives
The government has introduced Workplace 2.0 which states the following: “create a modern workplace that will attract, keep and encourage public servants to work smarter, greener and healthier to better serve Canadians”. To achieve this outcome, changes are needed to both the physical workplace and to government policies related to people management. If we are to achieve changes to the physical workplace, we need to advance the use of technology and bring real change by improving collaboration. People need the proper tools and technology so they can work together more effectively.
If we are to achieve changes to people management, we need to better support employees to work smarter, and provide work spaces that do well for the environment. People need to contribute to meaningful results if they are going to remain with organizations over the longer term. Clearly lots of work is underway on the modernization of the physical workplace, I only wonder if the policies related to people management are also being transformed, and will be ready to enable organizations to meet the expectations of the new talent they are seeking to attract and keep?
The organization’s role
Leadership & managing the change
Organizations are at the center of change. Departments are responsible of leading their employees and are directly affected by policy and operational changes. As workforces adapt to change, staff will look to leaders and managers to set standards for work and clearly communicate their expectations. Strong leaders will understand the need to support managers through the change and collaborate with them to implement the right vision. Different styles of leaders and managers reside among government department and agencies, which can influence workplace improvements in many ways. To ensure an agile workplace works for everyone, executives will need to set performance goals, and handle negotiations with employees who wish to work smarter, greener and healthier.
Adopting more flexible work schedules
Many business leaders who choose to implement more flexible work arrangements for eligible employees may actually better empower their employees, and I predict would reap better results in the long term. Identifying the right strategies paired with the right groups of employees to pioneer these changes and help influence their peers will be essential. Formal arrangements, strong communication strategies and supportive oversight is needed to ensure everyone is adapting accordingly.
The employee’s role
Collaboration & Adaptability
If we want all workers to embrace this cultural shift at work, we need to understand how exactly their work will be impacted on a day-to-day basis. Change is hard and takes time and effort, and doesn’t always deliver result in the short term. We need to all be patient and adaptable. There are few things to keep in mind. Your communication skills will be put to the test. It’s going to be important to utilize new technologies and be as transparent with your work as possible with colleagues, such as sharing information, thoughts and ideas as frequently as possible.
In my personal experience, working from home has been greatly beneficial, particularly when my work requires lots of attention to detail. Having the option has had a positive impact on my stress level and focus. My priority remains my work and my team, therefore I am always connected to them through mobile and online channels. I feel that we are onto something here, particularly as it relates to truly achieving work and life balance. A lot of health benefits come with this balance, such as reduced stress, fewer anxiety and cardiovascular health complications, less chance of burnout, and others. In my own experience, working remotely improves my own personal productivity as I experience fewer interruptions, and get the added bonus of not having to commute to the office (which also reduces my overall carbon footprint!).
If our government can implement the right HR policies and initiatives to modernize our workplaces, and if organizations can employ the operational enablers to accommodate more flexible work arrangements, and if everyone has the discipline to work differently for the greater good, then I’m positive we will see smarter, greener and healthier workplaces that also deliver improved performances.
Share your thoughts on how you feel about working smarter, greener and healthier.