The Way the Water Flows
In pre-COVID posts, I discussed perceptually where Microsoft and others would drive organizations technologically, culturally, and operationally. While COVID hasn’t placed us dead center in my vision of where we will be, it certainly has moved us much closer at an accelerated pace. The shift may be temporary but I believe the new Digital Workplace of the future will eventually find us in a new way of working. For this post, I’ll throw in a few points and see what you think.
These concepts may apply more to large and medium-sized companies but can apply to SMB as well.
- The Modern Approach to the introduction of organizational technologies inside a company.
- Pre-Account – Onboarding and New Hire accounts and account management which may include personal identities mapped to target organizational identities. The fact that a person interacts with a company may now in some countries be retained indefinitely.
- Account management and facilitation during an onboarding process. This process now creates a corporate identity permanently assigned to a person.
- Generation of other organizational accounts all mapped to AD / LDAP or centralized repository.
- Org Identity is shared with the person and the person has a choice to use a personally owned device with data and process containerization installed or receive a device.
- New devices issued are all modernized and do not require a technician to install, format, or configure. Everything is based on who the person is and their organization identity, role, and persona.
- There is a whole body of work beyond this for computing (technologies of the Digital Workplace)~ essentially a “no-touch” consumerized approach. –Joe Panozzo
- Culturally, companies are going to have to find more ways to have people understand and align with the corporate culture. It will require dramatic shifts in organizational communication, real-time feedback, metrics, and measures in experiences and honest organizational reflection. Today, companies are struggling with this because communication and actions aligned with legacy jargon don’t work as they did years before. It is more likely for people to expect that actions and words align. There are inherent dangers and issues with having a voice, finding a voice, speaking out loud, being open and exposed and finding psychological safety through it all. At the same time, companies are encouraging people to “speak up.” Last week, on a call with Cisco, several employees were fired due to them openly voicing their opinion. The company made the determination based on a scale associated with the severity of the responses. It could be argued that Cisco has a larger issue than the 237 responses in a public forum. It also is exposing problems with communication across the board. While I personally don’t advocate for “say anything” communications, I do believe that if I am told that I should express my opinion, it should be a safe place. If my opinion doesn’t align with corporate culture, this is a moment of reflection and education. If the Department of Defense automatically terminated every person they had a cultural issue with, we’d be short a lot of our defense forces. They use “training days” and “stand-downs” to educate. All said this is done in close quarters. The way the world is shifting, all of this will need to be done remotely. That virtual love will only get us so far.
- Exercise, Wellness, Wellbeing, and Time. Most of us working from home today are struggling with the hours we are putting in. The sheer amount of time dedicated to work has increased and the time we take for ourselves and wellness is declined. Even if productivity is flatlining as some say it is, the new bar is set. We as information workers are doing more than ever. Companies need to find ways to get people away from their devices. They will need to find the tools and measures of personal analytics to help people realize how much time they are spending at work. The upfront benefits of increased productivity will decrease over time as people become sick, frustrated, and exacerbated. Even as early as today, we are seeing people simply walk away from their jobs with no plan. It is a risk for the people as individuals and companies alike. Exercise analytics may need to be tied to performance. In other words, “your fitness is our fitness” which would motivate people and lower health care costs. You could say that companies can’t force people to work out but I ask “why not?” they force people to sit down.
The Body, Mind, Spirit and Overall Sanity
The list of global issues we are all facing is long and complex. There are so many issues today facing us publically that none of us can avoid some kind of stress. Shutting down and walking away from everything isn’t an option for most of us. In regard to our work and the workplace, we face many of the same issues and concerns. With our fast-paced move to the virtual workplace, many interactions are recorded through writing and audio-video. If people say something wrong or make a mistake, it could end their employment. The new unspoken rule is that anything you say even in your house must be appropriate. Everyone has a cell phone and a rant in Costco on your own personal time can be viewed by millions in the push of a button.
As part of the new ways of working, people need to understand empathy. Satya Nadella was probably a little ahead of others as he has driven empathy concepts in Microsoft for some time. The practical application is much more difficult than writing a book. Even if you surveyed people every day, there won’t be an honest answer due to the existing fear of expressing a view. I can tell you on many occasions when speaking with people working for companies that use surveys to understand what is going on, many say they aren’t honest in there survey because confidential is not anonymous.
This leads us to the place where LinkedIn is clogged with messages on leadership. The most important and valuable relationships are between people working together. Sure, I acknowledge that senior leadership is also critically important but my dealings with the Captain of the ship were more saluting, looking, listening, learning, and seeking the vision. My dealings with my direct line of sight leadership fueled and stoked the fires in me. If and when I felt respect, love, and understanding this is where amazing things happened that even I didn’t expect. Those who study human factors and understand our human condition know what this is about. If we are to work physically disconnected, always on and always virtually connected, ready, and publically facing and responsible, psychology needs to be aligned as a service to help us.
The “Digital Workplace” of the future, needs technology, wellness, humanity, understanding of the human condition, psychological safety, resilience, and leadership.
What do you think?