What Are The Factors That Enable A Flexible Work Environment?

Work Life Balance

30 July 2018

What Are The Factors That Enable A Flexible Work Environment?

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

The way we work is changing, and businesses have to revolutionise how they manage the workplace and their talent to create a positive environment for all to collaborate in.

How do employees want to work? Do they want the privacy of cubicles where they can work without the fear of interruption and disturbances? Or do they prefer open plans which remove all obstacles to collaboration and foster innovation at a wholly new level?

How about a mix of both?

Take this workplace experiment carried out by advertising genius, Jay Chiat, who declared that his office was gong the ‘virtual’ way. Mind you, this was somewhere in 1993, long before words like flexi-hours or ‘work from home’ had entered our workspaces.

In his experiment, he decided to abolish cubicles and dedicated desks. Only open space and freedom. Unfortunately, this radical idea bombed. His workers rebelled, and he had to redo the office design. Yes, his people wanted freedom but not at the expense of losing their privacy entirely. What he needed was flexible working, an idea that was to catch on many years later, now.

Are you looking for ways to incorporate flexible working in your workplace? How do you make it work? By addressing these needs.

Give employees the power to choose how they want to work

As long as the output aligns with the final goal of the company, it does not matter how your employees work. Do not force them to do it ‘your’ way, but rather give them the space and freedom to achieve their goals in the way they deem most convenient.

This distribution of power is what constitutes a truly flexible workplace. When you let go of control, you will see an immediate shift in the way work gets done. It tells your employees that you trust them, which, in turn, empowers them to perform better.

Work is something you do; not some place you go to

A business looking to create a healthy work environment has to understand that every individual performs their best work in their own ways. And for this, businesses must support the employee’s method with the right tools.

About 25 years ago, around the same time that Jay Chiat had tried his virtual office experiment, Erik Eldhoen, a consultant, coined the term Activity Based Working (ABW).

According to this concept, work is an activity rather than a place to go to. And for that to work, workspace should be malleable. Employees should be able to mould and shift their work environments as per their mood, personality or type on work on hand. This is possible only if they have the right tools and technology that allow constant changes or movement. Surprisingly not many businesses, even those that claim to be flexible, are providing that.

Did you know that even today fixed technology outnumbers mobile technology by 2:1? This means that not every employee can take a business call while walking in the garden or concentrate on a project in silence, away from the daily bustle of the office.

By being able to move away from a traditional fixed-desk set-up and giving workers a chance to get the best of both worlds in their workspace, businesses can not only boost creativity but foster unexpected collaborations too.

Enable uninterrupted work

Employees look for a nourishing place where they can achieve their goals, in peace and quiet. As a business, it is your responsibility to create such an environment.

It might shock you to learn that on average, a worker is interrupted every 11 minutes, and that it takes 23 minutes to be able to get back to the task at hand.

Your workspace, whether it has cubicles or open spaces, needs to contain quiet private corners for employees to work from.

Foster innovation, don’t stifle it

There are some businesses that have not yet touched flexible working because they have an unfounded fear of losing control and encouraging chaos. To them we say, done right, a truly flexible work environment will in fact a foster innovation.

 

To conclude…

Those workplaces that combine the design of space and the right technology are today a creative worker’s destination of choice. Work-life balance is a thing of the past now; people are looking for work-life integration. And people who are in the business of workspaces, like coworking spaces and business centres, have recognised this need and cater to it. From private cabins, to flexible desks; from open collaboration zones to sound-proof meeting pods and phone booths; there’s a space for every type of work style.

6 Must-Have Remote Work Tools to Help You Work Seamlessly from Home

Work Life Balance

24 June 2020

6 Must-Have Remote Work Tools to Help You Work Seamlessly from Home

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Although the idea of virtual office space and remote working is no unicorn in the professional landscape, the Coronavirus pandemic has pushed us to adopt this culture more widely and seriously. And now that it has become a norm, it’s important to master the practice and use the right tools to increase productivity and continue to work efficiently.

Here are some of the best remote work tools to have:

TeamViewer

If you need basic desktop access, this is the perfect tool to use. With instant file transfers, clipboard transfers, and video-enabled interactions, you can easily replace your physical office space. Maintain social distance and yet be present for your team. TeamViewer is available for Windows, OS X, iOS, Linux, and Android, and it is free for personal use.

Slack

Contrary to its name, this communication platform will never let you slack on your work updates. You can create workgroups, lock confidential messages, alter message retention for security, and integrate it with your Google Drive, Dropbox, and Mailchimp for instant file transfers and uploads. It also allows you to enable instant notifications on your email or phones while you are away from your work desk.

Zoom

Video conferencing is now made easy with apps like Zoom. It is best for teams that require frequent meetings. It’s an open-source app, available for all devices, so you don’t have to spend a dime. You can enable chats while conferencing and ensure 360-degree communication. Zoom meetings are now password protected, which makes it more secure than ever.

Drawpile whiteboard

Sometimes, while briefing, it is easier to draw it out than talk or write. Whether you miss scribbling notes in a meeting or pen down creative ideas, Drawpile lets you present your thoughts graphically. It also fulfils the need of a whiteboard in a meeting room. It’s real-time, allows collaboration from other connected users and is great for designers, planners, and work that requires artistic application/visual presentation.

Basecamp

Ever since it was launched, this web-based project management platform has been a go-to tool for people working virtually. With key features like task management, instant messaging, email, team collaboration, file sharing, message scheduling, creating reports and more, it makes your day to day office tasks easy and efficient. For an annual cost of $99, and available for unlimited users, Basecamp also makes it worth the investment.

Toggl

While instant communication and seamless project management are essential in a virtual workspace, it is also important to keep track of how everyone is utilizing the available time. Toggl works as a time tracker to assess the work hours spent and find out how productive you have been. It is great for time-bound projects, and it’s a free tool, available for all devices.

Whether you are working out of your home office space, or in a co-working space, these essential work tools and software will keep you connected to your teams and make your remote working as much effective as the physical one.

Why WFH+WNH is Touted to be the New Norm

Work Life Balance

28 May 2020

Why WFH+WNH is Touted to be the New Norm

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

The world, as we know it, is changing and the effects are going to impact us for a long time to come, especially how we work. With organizations already implementing Work from Home and other remote working options, the global work culture has largely changed.

As the initial brouhaha of the migration of the work infrastructure subsided, people are realizing the benefits of remote working. Despite initial physical and emotional adjustments with the new work practice, both companies and employees are now in favour of telecommuting.

Could this be the future of the workspace? And if yes, then how can companies/professionals manage their workforce remotely?

For starters, WFH does have multiple advantages like convenience, cost benefits, and needless to say, a better work-life balance. Studies have shown that a home office radically cuts down an employee’s monthly costs, including travel, meals, and office wardrobe. Imagine saving that entire percentage of your income and also being able to work in a space you are most comfortable in!

By saving the travel time, one can utilize the same for work or personal needs. Also, as you spend more time at home, it lets you spend more time with your family and yourself, without compromising on valuable work hours. It enhances the work-life balance that every professional struggles to achieve today.

However, it is not just employees but also the companies that benefit from the reduced costs. If a company has more than half its workforce operating out of their homes, it can cut down on its establishment cost by transitioning into a distributed working model. With reduced overheads, it will boost organizational savings, which could be redirected to developmental initiatives.

Along with major benefits, WFH does bring with it the issue of proper infrastructure and support that one requires to work effectively and smoothly; power outage, internet issues, connectivity issues, and not to mention, the lack of a professional office environment are a few issues that could be of concern.

Ergo, with the help of expert infrastructure partners, companies can provide the right tech solutions, IT support, connectivity, physical infrastructure that will help their employees work better, smarter, and stay productive. Organizations can have a multi-pronged approach of working at home, near home, probably at a nearby coworking space, and a head office as a viable solution. This will allow seamless remote working enabled by tech support and a fully functional office setup.

It is time we accept the fact that even if work-life resumes soon, it will never be the same. And even when we start exploring the outdoors, we will see the evolution of entirely new work culture of ‘Distributed Working’ – WFH + WNH (Work Near Home) + Office.

This newer model retains the practice of working from home, and yet allows professionals to be in a well-designed work environment, supported by proper infrastructure. It’s imperative that organizations assess their employee and managerial wfh sentiment and suitability to gauge the organizational readiness as a whole for work from home effectiveness.

Our latest product offering awfis@home is designed to cater to these organizational needs. It assesses employee, manager and organizational readiness, provides customized solutions for physical and IT infrastructure along with an integrated tech platform for employee management.

The impact of this all-new work practice could also go a long way in building a work culture that respects and encourages every individual’s needs, promotes trust within the team, sets clear expectations, and ensures accountability, by emphasizing more on communication than ever before.

Post lockdown, the new and improved is what we need to prepare for, for professional success, business growth, but most importantly, for the health of the society at large.

 

How is Generation Equality Shaping Modern Work Culture?

Work Life Balance

13 April 2020

How is Generation Equality Shaping Modern Work Culture?

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

This year, for Women’s Day, UN Women had an interesting and stimulating theme called #IAmGenerationEquality. The celebration of the fact that the global community is becoming more and more equal becomes a big silver lining hope for the future. The impact of this generational shift can also be seen in patterns of employment, the evolving work culture and future development prospects.

Equal pay, equal contributions

The hiring process and pay scales are no longer based on one’s gender, skin shade, age or looks. Your work speaks for who you are, and that is all that should matter. Reports show that with time, the world has managed to take positive steps forward in eliminating bias based on stereotypes and pre-set norms. This has successfully contributed to an environment that lets everyone perform to their best abilities.

Increased perspectives, increased sensitivity

Earlier, ideas and actions were being governed and directed by members of a particular community. However, the shift towards a more group-dominated approach has benefitted businesses and individual growth immensely. Egalitarian work culture and team composition permit ideas and thoughts to bloom, exposing everyone to a wide variety of information. This not just ends up in profiting your business but helps the teammates look at things from different perspectives. A unidirectional view is no longer at force. It is all about teamwork!

Coworking culture: The future of ‘Generation Equality’

A coworking space becomes particularly helpful for women who are planning to start a business while keeping the costs low. The atmosphere set here, the entire coworking lifestyle harbours creativity and productivity, both centric to run a successful business.

How can you make your workplace more equal and sensitive?

Here is a checklist of a few steps one must actively practice and encourage:

1. Be cautious of the language that you use. Sometimes bias slips in during casual conversations.

2. Educate your support staff and help them get over stereotypes and biases.

3. Have an equality policy and assure your employees that unfair treatment will have consequences.

4. Celebrate people and their uniqueness to help them feel involved and valued.

5. Organize team-building activities to make your team bond and respect each other.

6. Say no to casual sexism. Equal respect for every team member is a must.

7. Be empathetic. People from different communities could be facing different challenges, make sure that you are listening to them and working towards finding solutions.

8. Give everyone a fair chance to speak. Nudge someone who you think is under-confident about speaking in a meeting.

9. Pay special attention while hiring. Make sure your workforce represents diversity.