Nigel Oseland is a workplace strategist, environmental psychologist, and change manager. Nigel campaigns for workplaces that support all personality types. He firmly believes in evidence-based design and has been researching the impact of the environment on individual and organizational performance for over a decade.
Nigel Oseland is an international speaker, and author or co-author of several papers and books, including “Improving Office Productivity – A Practical Guide for Business and Facilities Managers”. Back in 2003, he set up the Workplace Trends series of conferences which grew into a must-attend event for workplace design and management professionals.
Here are the excerpts of the interview.
How has the year 2019 been in terms of defining trends and what implications will they have for the year 2020?
I believe we will continue to see a focus on how we can provide working environments that enhance employee wellbeing and performance. This may be through offering better work-life balance by implementing agile working or adopting wellbeing accreditation such as the WELL Standard or FitWell. As employers continue to battle for the best talent, the workplace and workstyles will be used as an enticement for attracting new talent.
What should businesses and HR focus on in the year 2020 and why?
More organizations are now employing neurodiverse people with high cognitive functioning and will need to accommodate their specific workplace requirements. Loneliness is an epidemic in the UK (and the USA) and costing UK businesses £2.23 billion per annum in lost productivity. We are seeing more focus on reducing workplace loneliness and mental health, and an increase in diversity policies.
We recently held the first edition of Workplace Trends in India facilitated by our India partner, Tushar Mittal & Studiokon Ventures, on 15th November in Delhi. The discussions narrowed in on rapidly changing trends, the raging war for talent acquisition, topical HR concerns, and expectations of the employee from the employer.
How is leadership changing in the wake of digital technologies?
Digital technology has resulted in more digital working environments, with people working more remotely, across the globe, and less dependent on coming to one office. This has resulted in challenging leaders to manage remote workers, whom they will meet in person less often. In my experience, those who have been trained and have good management skills will be less affected by those less competent managers who depend on their staff to be present and nearby. Managers will need to plan better, move to performance (rather than time) management and ensure remote workers are motivated and loyal to the company.
How has the year been for L&D professionals? How can they reinvent for the future?
Train their staff in:
- using new technology and collaboration tools
- working effectively when away from the office
- being more cognizant of diversity issues.
Are the traditional strategies for hiring and recruitment changing to adapt to the changing times? What should we look forward to in 2020?
Most businesses are becoming technology-oriented businesses, we have seen the rise of the fintech and, more recently, pharmatech, industries. Furthermore, the legal sector is adopting AI and needs technologists to support them. Work is changing and the make-up of the organization is too. Recruitment will need to entice this new talent through the workplace and workstyle.
How do you see the role of AI and next-gen businesses? Will AI in the future turn out to be a threat or a partner for businesses?
My understanding is that AI may replace the more mundane and process-driven task and roles that can be automated. However, organizations will still value and require more original through, creativity and innovation. “Partnering” with AI should create more time for such pursuits or training in new skills.
Enterprises today live or die on their ability to adapt. How will being agile help businesses moving forward?
The nature of work has always been in flux and is even more so with rapid changes in technology. Organizations must be dynamic and agile to respond to changing market needs, motivate staff and encourage innovation. Only then will they out survive their competitors and fresh new businesses. I believe that agility also attracts and entices new staff, whilst reducing property costs and risks.