There is no company without people. Artificial intelligence may be gaining more and more ground, but without guidance and without the sensitivity and creativity of the human being, not even the most elaborate system can yield satisfactory results.
It’s therefore unnecessary to state how important it is for companies to take care of their employees at 360°, understanding their needs and shaping their working environment accordingly.
As a result, we once again find ourselves talking (but in more defined terms) about design for evolving humans, spanning from the design of physical spaces to the less tangible, but equally important, employee experience structure.
The year’s trends speak for themselves: corporate transformations must be able to improve employees’ home-work balance, while making the office experience as pleasant and comfortable as the remote one.
But what are the key points to consider in order to start or implement this wellness-oriented change?
1. Choose the right hybrid model
By now it’s clear: people prefer to work by following a hybrid model rather than in a full-remote or office-only mode. Companies must therefore choose the model that best suits the needs of the business and its staff, so that clear guidelines can be given to those already employed and those in the onboarding phase. There are generally three types of hybrid workplace:
- Flexible: employees have total autonomy of choice, both in terms of location and working hours;
- Fixed: the company plans in advance when employees are in the office and at home;
- Office-first: people choose in which days to work from home (usually one or two);
- Remote-first: work is almost exclusively remote, except for days dedicated to meetings, team building and other pre-defined activities.
The selected model can also vary between teams, based on production needs.
2. Implement office lounge areas
As we’ve said before, lounge areas are now an integral part of larger companies, where big spaces allow the creation of hybrid and flexible areas dedicated to relaxing and socialising. These areas are a fundamental part of the office experience and have the ‘power’ to improve the mood and strengthen the bond between teams and between people from different work groups.
Once upon a time there was only a water cooler area, now we have comfortable sofas with usb sockets, poufs and many other furnishings that have a homelike feel.
3. Improve digital tools
When a large part of the team works remotely various difficulties can emerge, ranging from HR management to personal relationships within the team. New technologies can partly bridge the gap created by physical distance by using, for example, platforms that smooth the workflow between remote and on-site, people satisfaction analysis tools or advanced messaging and video conferencing services designed to connect the whole team with a click.
The goal is simple: bring people together (through the network) and learn about them, in order to respond to their needs and make them feel part of the corporate ecosystem. The desired output can only be greater competitiveness.
4. Implement actions to improve employee engagement
Digital tools are a great ally, but they’re not enough in terms of employee engagement. A growing number of people are asking themselves what their role in the company is, whether their work is considered fairly or whether there are opportunities for professional growth. In short, they are looking for meaning in their professional life, so that they can decide whether a drastic change is necessary.
The responsibility lies with the manager and HR department to answer these questions and to steer the efforts of individual employees in the right direction by giving concrete and constant feedback, providing customised training and scheduling team building activities throughout the year.
5. Hire with a focus on diversity and inclusiveness
According to a recent McKinsey & Company study, companies with higher ethnic and gender diversity are able to achieve up to 43% additional profits on average. It’s clear that an improvement in these terms can only happen at the hiring stage: it’s therefore up to recruiters to give more and more importance to diversity and inclusiveness at the interview stage, trying to break down preconceptions and historical legacies as much as possible.
The common thread between all these activities is clear: the time has come for companies to put people first and to understand the uniqueness of each individual. All of these activities must obviously be done without forgetting about business objectives, because only the right compromise between employee well-being and business needs can bring real profit in the long term.