Workplace culture is completely changing as a result of the dynamic changes occurring in the corporate ecosystem. The future new-generation workforce is at the centre of this transformation as the talent battle reaches its pinnacle.
The growing integration of Metaverse into the business sector is one of the most significant aspects shaping the future of work. In the post-pandemic era, the reality of work-life balance was implied in its fullest sense. However, there are still certain issues with remote work that haven’t been resolved.
In an interview, Rajat Kapur, Regional Managing Director, North India and UAE, The Executive Centre, talks about how technology-enabled workspaces are fuelling talent retention. Excerpts:
DQ: What are the existing challenges in the workspace industry? What is driving the need to integrate technology in the workplace?
Rajat: In the last few years, organisations had to revaluate workspace priorities and refocus on issues of employee safety and stability. Additionally, the current workforce has also seen an accelerated change in employee behaviour and how the office is utilised. With an extended period of working from home of over 18months, many employees had moved back to their hometowns for over a year to work from Tier II cities. However, this year has seen most of the workforce move back to metro cities to step into the office, this has come with some resistance. Employees are finding it hard to separate professional and personal time with some choosing to leave their jobs due to discomfort of working from a fixed office location again, leading to a spike in attrition rate. Organisations are opting for flexible workspace strategies along with integrated workspace tech to offer its employees multiple touch points within the city and coworking options in Tier II cities in order to retain current talent and attract talent pool from new regions as well. Large corporates are revaluating the tech used in their business operations to ensure that they are easy to access and can be flexible to cater to business continuity.
Applications to access multiple plug and play desks across different touch points in the city, easy and simple user interface, communication about the availability of health and social amenities, connecting workforce across regions on virtual community forms, gamification of targets and virtual acknowledgment of work are a few examples of through which companies are increasing active usage of technology and incentivising employees to step into office even if they are across various locations. Technology process are also being curated to cater to different generation’s working together in the current workforce to accelerate active usage and make productivity location agnostic. However, the leading challenge with integrating technology is still the same as always, which is, increasing active usage among employees. Without active usage, the best processes fail to deliver results.
DQ: How can organizations balance technology, a diverse workforce and ensure talent retention?
Rajat: Organisations are acclimating to the changing business needs and demands of the workforce. With rise in attrition rates and adoption of trends like the ‘gig economy’, large corporates are focused on utilising existing technology to ensure talent retention and business continuity. Gamification of workflow and targets has been the leading trend adopted by organisations to keep employees across geographies engaged and invested in productivity. Having a mixture of generations in one workforce can be challenging to manage as no one solution fits all. Office design, HR policies and technology integration should promote collaboration between generations to foster productivity. The physical workspace and virtual work platforms are used to advertise these tools and increase active usage. Internal workforce applications are used as the first point of communication to share plug and play work desks available to employees across multiple touchpoints in the city, share information about available amenities, increase a sense of community and stability with employees, internal social media forums and also using virtual identities that allow employees to express their concerns in redressal forums.
DQ: How does technology help in enabling a hybrid working model?
Rajat: Exploring different hybrid work models that allow employees to choose their location of work according to their functionality is key for organisations in recent times. Technology plays a key role in connecting people working in a hybrid model and fosters collaboration. It can be used to show who will be in the office and who will be working from home, allowing employees to choose when to go in and book a desk to get the most collaborative work accomplished. Through machine learning and analytics, data can be gathered on employee behaviors, work styles, and schedules to help employers make strategic decisions on optimum space utilization and improving work-life balance. Organisations across industries are including flexible workspace strategies as hybrid models into their existing real estate holdings. The adoption of a hybrid work model allows organizations to maximize productivity through a physical office while also allowing flexibility by making collaborations location agnostic. After two years of working from home, most organisations want to have the workforce stepping back into the physical workspace while keeping their options open about exploring virtual platforms like the metaverse. Large corporates are revaluating the technology used in their business operations to ensure that they are easy to access and can be flexible to cater to business continuity.
DQ: What is the current workplace scenario in terms of the ongoing talent war and what is the role that technology has played in it thus far?
Rajat: India Inc. is seeing a shift in its workforce and with this comes the need to factor in the new demographic of the workforce. After millennials, the composition of the workforce will be dominated by Gen Z. Flexibility has become a working requirement for employees of all generations, with Gen Z acting as a weathervane. Talent acquisition in the current market is competitive and requires organisations to understand and cater to the demands of the Gen Z workforce. This requires agility built into all business operations including workspace design, flexibility, and locations. While organisations in India Inc. gear up to welcome this new workforce, the office becomes the first reflection of the change in organisational culture. Flexible workspaces help organisations across industries access new talent pool from different regions, including Tier II cities. This aids the company to attract fresh talent and in the long run will also help in addressing the topological divide in the country. Technology process are also being curated to cater to different generations’ working together in the current workforce to accelerate active usage and increase productivity. Despite the demographic, employee well-being and focus on physical and mental wellness is now a priority. Building spaces that have amenities to support this long-term influence design and dictate the need for health and fitness centres, wellness rooms, access to a creche, and mental health experts are becoming essential.
DQ: What are the steps taken by TEC to ensure a future ready workspace?
Rajat: The flexible workspace industry has seen tremendous growth over the last few years fuelled by the adoption of the hub and spoke model across industries. However, using technology to set up processes that enforce safer user behaviour within the physical office has been a challenge. Facial recognition systems and thermal cameras or scanners have been integrated into every office design as they can be used to mark attendance and detect body temperatures automatically when employees enter the office.
This has helped the companies maintain safety of its employees at its maximum level. At The Executive Centre, we are banking on sustainable growth plans to ensure our business decisions are guided by consumer behaviour data. We are expanding within the markets that we are already present in to cater to the growing demand for flexible workspaces. Ensuring that we raise the bar for quality spaces with equal importance for both privacy and collaboration, our spaces are geared with amenities like fitness centres, mothers care rooms, wellness rooms, libraries and gaming zones. We are also constantly delivering enterprise solutions for our trusted patrons which are bespoke designed office spaces for individual clients that are exclusively designed, built and operated for them, giving the organisation the commercial benefit of flexible workspaces while retaining their exclusivity and privacy. TEC has recently invested over 200 Cr in the India market adding new centres in different micro markets.