Article: Three keys to the flexible workplaces of the future

Employee Relations

Three keys to the flexible workplaces of the future

What do organisations need to do to ensure productive along with flexibility at work
Three keys to the flexible workplaces of the future

Training sessions should focus on enabling people to learn rather than providing content or imprisoning them in training rooms



These are changing times! The structures of organizations will change and also the roles which team leaders and HR heads will play in future. In my opinion the boundaries between different organizations are going to scale down and they will become more porous. Over the time networks will develop and more collaboration will happen between the organizations. The fact is, these walls have already started coming down. Therefore, organizations will need to manage these boundaries really well.

1. Definition of employee will change
Who is an employee? Somebody is working from home, somebody has got 'flexi' hours, there are virtual teams across the world, and there are people who take sabbaticals; with time, more and more of such people will be available for work, but may not be as full time employees. This will require a completely different way of managing people. Old systems are not going to work. Hiring people, their performance management, employee engagement, work allocation, rewards, all this will require a very different type of approach, the core of which has to be understanding their reality and building relationships.In fact, we are already late in this process. Dealing with such kind of people will require higher level of working and skills and far more flexible policies.
With advent of technology and networks a lot of work that the HR department used to do earlier is also being outsourced or is going to shared-services. This will clear a lot of time for the HR fraternity to focus on more impactful work.

2. Designing effective learning journeys
In my view one area that will need a major change is the training area. Most training programs focus on providing knowledge or content to people. This is no longer relevant. So much of training content is available on the net and in books that it is no longer important. What’s important is how we design these learning journeys. Training sessions should focus on enabling people to learn rather than providing content or imprisoning them in training rooms. The key will be design and ownership of the journey by the individual and also how he/she learns from communities and networks.

3. Time to create new cultures
One very important aspect is going to be culture. It has to enable and embrace what is happening in technology and reality. We’ll have to start giving more ownership, empowerment and self-directional work to our employees. As people will move far away we will need a glue to hold them together. The glue that is going to put all of this together is culture, not structures or policies. This is a lever that isn't being utilized enough. This is where technology and networking will help us.


(The author is Senior Partner at Vyaktitva, an Organization Development, Training and Executive Coaching firm)


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Topics: Employee Relations, Employee Engagement, Culture

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