Workplace management strategies that emphasise people's needs and expectations will shape the human experience in the workplace and therefore the future of work.
The demand for an experiential workplace will only grow in the wake of a pandemic that changed how people think about how, where and when they work. These spaces need to be designed with this in mind but they also require careful and connected management.
The pandemic was not an endpoint for the working environment but rather I believe a revival and an opportunity for facilities managers to step into the spotlight and go from a discipline of delivering services to SLAs to being the discipline that can curate and manage the employee experience in the workplace.
The Stoddart Review first identified the new role of Chief Workplace Officer (CWO). Whilst it is only the largest organisation that will have a Workplace role at the board level, all but the SMMEs should have a Head of Workplace.
The role of the Head of the Workplace has evolved. This title first appeared nearly two decades ago within swiftly expanding businesses. Its primary purpose was to pinpoint office locations and maintain an ongoing process of redesigning to keep up with the rapid increase in employee numbers.
Their current role involves overseeing the operations of a business and ensuring that all employees are provided with a superior Workplace Experience. It also requires setting a high standard of performance and creating an environment where collaboration is encouraged between workers.
The pandemic compelled us to question if offices are really necessary. These queries have shown that workplace strategy should not be treated separately, but must be tailored to fit the company culture, mission, strategic objectives, and sustainability & inclusion goals for it to become a wise investment.
The Workplace department has had to transform to better serve its purpose and objectives. Gone are the days of simply creating expenditures for the CFO. Now, the workplace plays a key role in helping foster company culture, attract and retain talent, and cultivate a curated culture and a sense of togetherness.
This understanding has led to many firms moving their FM teams from Operations or Finance and having them report to HR as investments in their workforce. This focus on the Workplace and the employee experience it delivers has been proven to be incredibly advantageous for businesses.
Companies are nothing without their staff, so it's all the more important that they're provided with a curated experience where they can collaborate and stay connected no matter where they are in the world all while making sure they share the same goals and values as the organisation itself.
Nowadays, Heads of Workplace have an influential part to play in determining these aspects within their organisations.
HR, CRE, IT, FM, and even Operations, Finance, Legal/Compliance and Procurement all have a valid claim on some responsibility for the workplace so the Head of Workplace who acts as the central hub that brings all these issues into focus can't manage everything by themselves.
They can't tackle these issues alone and they need help from all these other departments to be successful. Having a team of people to assist them is essential for the achievement of their goals. The success of their organisation during this period of transformation is heavily reliant on their willingness to evolve or adapt. Without this, they'll fail.
I welcome all organisations that have adopted "new ways of working", "dynamic work" and "future of work" initiatives, because this represents probably the biggest change in what to date has been a command and control imperative.
To roll out these initiatives, organisations need to act on what they are learning about employees' preferences, behaviours and trends to develop the policies and management that will enable the spaces to be fit for purpose in the future.
The rest of those firms that are taking a more impromptu approach to the working experience and are lacking in the application of a workplace strategy and resources risk leaving a trail of inequality, inequity, and burnout behind them along with an elevated employee attrition rate, that will ultimately result in corporate failure.
Heads of Workplace are struggling to cope with this dilemma due to inadequate resources.
To ensure that personnel return to their place of work, companies need to give the people in charge the resources they need to focus on these fields.
Firms must equip their workplace team with new associates dedicated to tackling employee experience along with all those issues that go into the mix to support it: safety, health, well-being, communication, and collaboration.
In this modern age, the way we work has changed drastically. Technology plays an ever-increasing role in our jobs and the way we communicate with colleagues. Digital working practices have become increasingly important in the workplace.
Culture, purpose and events are essential components of curating the workplace experience and are indispensable ingredients for building camaraderie, creating trust, and inspiring motivation among coworkers.
Heads of Workplace now have access to a range of partners who can help them create an inclusive and stimulating atmosphere, as well as attracting and retaining the best talent if they are provided with the resources to do so.
Nowadays, the concept of work goes beyond the physical office space and employees are presented with unbounded choices. Nevertheless, they also seek comfort in belonging, looking up to a mentor, and having goals and clear objectives. In this new scenario, Head of Workplace plays a fundamental part in providing a place that allows connections formation and a refuge from stress. To remain agile and be able to face the changing world ahead of them, organisations must put their trust in workplace leaders by offering resources, authority and evolution chances.
Heads of Workplace and People leaders face an unparalleled challenge in striking a balance between the needs of their employees and those of the business, its shareholders, and other stakeholders.
Data is an invaluable tool for bridging the employer-employee gap. Heads of Workplaces are now able to effectively illustrate the health and accomplishments of their business by analysing key metrics.
Engagement score – What are employees' views on the firm's culture and how often do they participate with the internal community?
Accessibility –Are people able to gain access to the places, tools and technology necessary for effective work?
Equity –Do employees feel their work is appreciated no matter the location – be it their home, a coworking space or the office?
Responsibility –Do employees feel empowered to create positive changes in the work environment, regarding mental health, professional growth, inclusivity and sustainability? Are they confident that decisions being made are driving progress in these areas?
Are you ready to find out how your workplace scores?