Article

Defining the future of collaboration: The answer to the “how” is the “why.”

Before the Corona crisis, the framework within which a new working environment based on New Work principles was to be created had mostly already been mapped out. After analysing the needs and requirements of the employees and examining the existing or newly rented space for feasibility, a customised workplace concept was developed, implemented and supported.  

One and a half years later, fundamental questions now need to be rethought and answered. Because in connection with the hybrid working methods that have now been introduced in many companies, questions arise such as: 

  • If most of the employees work in the home office, do we still need the entire office space? 
  • Can and do we want to stay at our current location under the new conditions?  
  • What functions will our office adopt in the future and how can we reflect this spatially?  
  • Does the central office still make sense, or should we consider satellite offices or the option of co-working spaces?  

Vision development: A strong mission statement provides orientation for employees

In addition to the spatial aspects, companies are also currently concerned with the question of how collaboration can be successfully organized in the hybrid working world. After all, the basic requirements have changed significantly, since not all employees work in one central location anymore. So, a close look should be taken at important aspects such as leadership, identification, productivity or strengthening the sense of togetherness: 

  • How do I lead a team that is no longer physically present? 
  • What new routines do we need for the new way of working together? 
  • How do we remain productive and innovative even when our form of collaboration changes through home office? 
  • How do I organize myself in my everyday life when I am no longer given a structure by the daily routine in the office?  
  • How can we foster a sense of team despite the physical distance?  
  • What can maintain identification with the company and teams when we no longer see each other so regularly?  

However, companies should not look for standardised answers to these questions – because each company must find its own individual answers and solutions. As process facilitators, we support our clients on this path and enable them to define and shape their future working environment themselves. It is important to us that the unique identity and values of the company form the basis of the change process. In our experience, it is only through this holistic approach that drastic changes are understood and supported by the team and identification is maintained. 

,,Identifying the common “why?” with the business leaders and project managers is a key step in the change process. More precisely, the development of a tangible mission statement that gives employees orientation and meaning in their daily work and interaction.

 – Chiara Polverini, Head of New Work Culture bei workingwell

In this process, we go through two essential steps in our vision workshop with those responsible: 

1. Identification of the vision statement:

The participants work out together – with supporting images and concepts – their most important values and success factors for the new working world and formulate in one sentence the quintessence of their future working experience. This short and concise sentence then serves as the “North Star” and sets the common path.

 

2. Definition of guard rails:

In the second step, we jointly identify different topic areas that employees can use to recognise and determine that the targeted work experience is happening. For example, if the vision focuses on “fun, transparency and innovation” – would it be worth considering how these characteristics can be taken into account or brought to life? Of course, this should be considered at all levels of culture, space, technology and in the area of services. Finally, the question then arises: Where does the company stand now and what steps must be taken to achieve the target state?

Why is meaningful work more important than ever for employees?

The quest for meaningfulness is a social phenomenon that can be found especially in the young generations Y and Z but can express itself very differently. For example, meaningful work can be a socially motivated activity for one person or working on a major world-changing innovation, while for another it expresses itself in self-determined action and personal responsibility.  

The Corona crisis has reinforced this need for meaningfulness – as the mindset of many people has changed dramatically over the past year and a half. New freedoms at work have been offset by restrictions in their private lives. Responsibility for one another, social thinking, and the fragility of our accustomed lives brought “meaning” into even sharper focus and led many to reassess their attitude toward work. Thus, meaningful work becomes an important criteria that generates positive energy and can build resilience.  

The feeling of being part of a society that contributes to making the world a better place – this is already an important decision aspect for many young talents when choosing their employer. Companies that also offer their employees the opportunity to act and make decisions as freely and autonomously as possible demonstrate trust and appreciation – which in turn pays off in employee motivation and productivity.  

In this way, vision development can make it clear at an early stage how the desire for meaningful work can be met. In addition, a clear mission statement can answer the important question of “why” for many employees and provide companies with information about the “how”.   

Since the world of work is in a constant state of flux, the future is currently still uncertain and requires a great deal of flexibility, a clear vision of one’s own working environment is essential for every forward-looking company. 

 

What is the benefit of professional process support in vision development?

Tailor-made process support and targeted training and coaching impulses enable management, executives and employees to work, lead and motivate in a benefit- and goal-oriented manner in the new working world. Along the way, our experts act as direction measurement who, through close communication with the stakeholders, can correct or change the course at any time in a way that is critical to success. To ensure that corporate decisions are supported by all employees, it is essential to involve them as early as possible in the change process to listen to them, give them room for their concerns and thus ease any fears they may have. This central step can help employees become driving forces in the change process and positively advance the project with their enthusiasm. In this sense, our measures are aligned with the corporate strategy and needs of our customers and enable us to make this even more tangible and tangible for employees.