The 21st century has redefined several aspects of our lives – both personal and professional. On the professional front, the exponential technological growth and disruptions have completely changed the business landscape. Not only has it changed the way businesses are held these days, but also the place in which the business itself takes place – the Workplace.
The change has pervaded all facets of today’s workplace including its very own structure. Slowly disappearing from the landscape are the exclusive buildings for companies and corner offices for senior executives, welcoming the culture of co-working shared office spaces, mostly with different start ups sharing the same office space. The top co-working companies like Regus, We Work, Knotel are driving the creation of ecosystems that bring together different organizations and startups and create increased opportunities for mentoring, collaboration and entrepreneurial innovation.
The workplace today is very dynamic influenced by the volatility of the business landscape. In these testing times, businesses are making their best attempts to not only sustain their market visibility, but also thrive in uncertain waters. The biggest concern facing companies today is a disengaged workforce. The need to be proactive as well as competitive has also led to new-age businesses coming up, that have re-defined the rules of business and the workspace.
What businesses are facing today, is a workforce comprising of employees spanning across three generations – Gen X, Gen Y and Gen Z. The dynamics of such a diverse workforce is definitely the most important thing to be factored in, while taking measures to improve productivity and scaling up of businesses. Given the distinct times from which the people have started their careers, given their priorities from loyalty towards the organization to work-life balance to craving instant recognition, a well thought out HR strategy is required to be adopted as well as project managers are to be sensitized in order to engage all of the personnel equally without leaving out any of them. A one size fits all approach will never succeed in identifying high-performing individuals or potential leaders to lead new projects or take up higher roles. This fallacy is true for our education system as well as for any type of performance evaluation for that matter.
How to combat the changing dynamics of the workplace of the 21st century:
- Choosing the right structure of workspace - Companies need to choose the workspace most suited for its business, as today space is a major resource constraint and optimization is the key. It is observed that, generally, organisations into manufacturing, companies concerned over their IP and customer confidentiality and competitors, prefer to have exclusive spaces, while new-age services firms and start-ups, prefer co-working spaces to optimize space, utilize the co-creative ecosystem, among other benefits
- Effective engagement of a 3-generational workforce – Retaining the right talent and creating the most effective teams with the right mix of team players, are top HR goals for any organization today. A top-down approach emphasizing diverse teams, comprising of team members across generations enables combining experience with energy, maintaining the need for balance, giving impetus to diversification with innovation, thereby boosting employee involvement. This will downplay the conflicts due to the age differences, while building on to the strengths of these groups.
- Developing emotionally-intelligent project managers – Emotional intelligence is fast becoming the topmost skill that is defining a manager’s employability. It makes them more sensitive to the needs of the team members, resolve interpersonal conflicts, achieve seamless communication, build and nurture highly productive teams
- Upskilling and extensive training of human resources are fast becoming the pre-requisites in order to meet the challenges of the market complexities and understand the technological advancements for imbibing them and furthering business prospects
Hence, all organizations, including the traditional hierarchical organizations that still continue to carry out business as earlier, have the pressing need to analyse their policies concerning the workspace, the workforce, upskilling and empowering managers and have a relook to update themselves to changing times.