What is the future of modern working in the 21st-century and what are the implications of COVID 19 and new technologies impacting the workspace, which inhibit the workplace transformation potential?
The roundtable discussed these topics to break down the cultural impact on organizations and the practical outcomes of this new modern setup.
Moderator, Chloe Tilley, gleaned these insights from Avril Chester of RIBA, Adrianna Graham of Tyson Foods, Alexander Coleman of Ontario Public Service, Ian Rutherford of Cisco, Roberto Maranca of Schneider Electric, and Paul Coby of Johnson Matthey.
Ian Rutherford argues that people no longer wish to work in traditional office spaces. Before the outbreak of Covid-19, there had been a shift significantly away from 75 percent of the workforce wanting to work from the office.
This has been a dramatic culture change. This has been further compounded due to traditional office environments no longer being necessary for some instances, depending on company culture and setting, Paul Coby added. Workplace transformation is here and not to be easily dismissed.
For example, ice cream people or customer service personnel requires working face-to-face activity and cannot be done remotely unless organisations move from a traditional market store to a purely online platform.
What must also be understood is how the traditional workplace was created and developed before and after the agricultural and industrial revolutions.
Over the past 60 years, the UK economy has moved from an industrial manufacturing economy to a service-sector economy. The brain economy and the service sector have grown, with now only around 11 percent of the UK economy from manufacturing.
New technology and workplace transformation
We have a lot to be grateful for. People like the co-founder of Google, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs, a co-founder of Apple, have inadvertently changed how companies and people communicate and work in the 21st-century.
The creation of smartphones, social media and the rise of the internet in the 1990s as an information platform has changed how companies can work in an agile environment.
Because of the rise of new methods to run a business and work effectively in a workspace, Alexander Coleman argued that there is a generational divide.
A divide in culture and a divide in generational thinking is an opportunity, according to Arianne Graham; new technology online provides opportunities that enable a workforce that empowers people from around the globe.
An online style of working also cuts down the risks, cuts administration and office costs, and makes communication only at the click of a mouse over Zoom or Google Team meetings.
However, communication must be developed on whether or not the new communication style of social media and team meetings is the correct model for your organization or the culture that a company wishes to develop.
Micro-aggression and the work environment
Alexander Coleman brings a unique perspective when it comes to the workplace transformation.
Alexander argues that black and ethnic minorities from different cultures may find the return to the traditional workspace intolerable.
This is due to micro-aggressions that can cause workspaces where the company’s culture does not understand different cultures and people, such as the disabled and those with hidden disabilities.
One of the sad aspects of certain office cultures is the politicking and the micro-aggressions and passive-aggressive nature that can occur in offices.
Due to different people, not just because of any cultural or ethnic differences but because of an environment where people are brought together, they would never meet or interact in any other social setting.
Office culture must be a force for good and creativity, not of hatred or passive aggression, which kills productivity and makes the workspace an intolerable place to work.
This roundtable on workplace transformation was created in partnership with Cisco.