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In the first two parts of our blog series on building a sustainable workplace, we explored how IT will enable change and considered what sustainable workplaces might look like.
In this third article, we discuss the final two pillars of the sustainable workplace: agile working and collaboration.
For many workers, flexible working is here to stay in the long term, with many large organisations getting behind the movement. For example, the CEO of Robert McAlpine recently said that the ‘flex-periment’ caused by Covid-19 should be the driver for more companies to adopt flexible work practices. With workforces increasingly dispersed, it’s vital that teams can still collaborate in an intuitive, seamless way. Equally, agile working practices allow employees to have a frictionless workplace shaped around their needs.
Pillar three: Agile working
Agile working practices embody the concept that work is not a place we go to but an activity we do. Hand-in-hand with flexible working, an agile approach creates new patterns where all employees can work at preferred times and in different places. This gives employees autonomy, helping them to achieve more for themselves and their organisation. Where and how we work is no longer important, it’s what gets done that counts. To enable this agility, barriers to productivity must be removed; frictionless access to all applications and resources are needed, regardless of the device or connection used.
New digital security measures are also vital, but they must have minimal impact on the employee experience. The basis of this approach is the ‘zero trust’ security model underpinned by identity access management (IAM). This requires IT teams to enable easy access to resources by implementing single sign-on through IAM, regardless of where the employee is working from or the device being used. This is critical to keeping employees productive and secure because IAM removes barriers to accessing services and applications, making it easier for staff to work together. The principle is the same as that of large consumer technology firms. Companies such as Apple allow users to access a variety of different applications and logins with a single Apple ID, there is no reason why enterprises can’t do the same to remove delays or onerous security hurdles for employees.
Pillar four: Collaboration
Distributed workforces need easy ways to collaborate using digital tools. True collaboration is about being in the same headspace if not physical space. Interactive online tools make this possible by holding people’s attention and helping them to be productive wherever they’re working from. Digital collaboration solutions also foster openness and trust, and improve inclusivity by ensuring everyone has access to a variety of communication channels. Using these tools as part of a sustainable workplace means everyone knows what’s going on, with easy access to project resources and information. This means people can spend less time asking where files are and more time coming up with great way of solving problems.
Throughout this series of blogs, and as we’ve explored in our whitepaper, the key takeaway for organisations has to be that their focus must be on employees. Sustainable workplaces that cater to employees’ needs and boost their wellbeing are a business imperative. Organisations that can’t - or don’t - adapt will struggle to survive in an era when big shiny offices matter less and happy, productive employees are key to success.
Cloud Centre of Excellence Director and IT
James has 20 years of experience in IT consulting and services, managing teams that help customers achieve transformation and deploy new technology. Originally from a software development background, he has been particularly focused on cloud adoption over the last 10 years and how it enables digital transformation. He joined Capita in 2016 and is now focused on developing the division’s products and services to drive growth.