Molding the Future Workplace blog

Sep 18

After conducting research on the current and future workplace, I used the STEEP V analysis to identify trends with opportunities for design. I was mainly focused on looking at how socials factors effect things like productivity, work culture, the environment, and more. Below are the four opportunities that I believe are the most relevant in regards to creating a happy and healthy workforce that can collaborate well and produce quality work.

  1. How can we maintain the value of work done online and establish a holistic measurement of productivity?

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Many employers fear that employees are not working hard enough and create meaningless targets and quotas to measure the worth of employees. They prefer using numerical values, like the number of calls answered, as they are easy to measure and lead to little conflict up the chain of command. However, arbitrary quotas can lead to many consequences for the organization, like a loss of quality of work produced or burnout in employees trying to keep up. These targets also dictate to employees that only measurable parts of their work are important.

But what if employees were rewarded for soft outcomes, like the number of satisfied customers? This could increase the quality of work and satisfaction of customers. It also would reward people based on competence, resulting in less burnout and less turnover of skilled workers.

2. How do we build/maintain a sense of camaraderie while being physically separated over digital platforms?

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Like many people, I too miss the small social interactions, like hugs, that create a sense of camaraderie between myself and the people who I work, learn, and socialize with. With the COVID-19 pandemic, we are more physically and socially isolated than ever. Social isolation takes a serious tole on both mental and physical health, leading quickly to burnout, often used as a punishment in prison. Definitely not something productive members of society should be subjected to on a daily basis.

Therefore, we need to find a way to reestablish coworker relationships and a sense of camaraderie within organizations that build and strengthen trust, collaboration, and creativity leading to benefits such as improving the quality of work and one’s pride in the work they produce to better fend off burnout.

3. How can we build an online work culture experience that improves collaboration and trust?

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The quick manner in which employees and managers had to switch to working remotely has caused serious rifts in the relationship  between the two.

When working at home, employers can no longer checkin and monitor the productivity of their workers. This has furthered managers’ fears that employees are not working hard enough, resulting in some organizations forcing employees to download spyware. These programs not only track the amount of time you work, but can also rank employees against their colleagues. This leads to a toxic competitive work environment which negatively affects collaboration. Spyware also strains the relationship between the employer and employee as it shows the level of distrust employers have, making collaboration more difficult.

The emphasis on improving collaboration and trust in organizations is vital as it leads to solutions that are more informed, creative, and relevant to the world we live in.

4. How can we better balance our work and life as online platforms continue to blur the lines?

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Working at home has also proven to be a double edged sword. While on the one hand, flexible scheduling has made it easier for us to run errands, it has also further blurred the lines between work and life. Many of us no longer have changes in environment to indicate and separate the time we work verses  like time for personal activities. For some, there will be consistant distractions of personal activities while others may find that they many hours of overtime without realizing it.

Proper work and life balance is crucial to help employees avoid burnout as well as maintain and improve motivation, creativity, productiveness, and the quality of work.

All the opportunities listed above focus on the wellbeing of employees and the improvement of the workplace experience to benefit the organization as a whole.

Sep 18

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Shown above are my personal notes on the Fast Company article “How the travel industry will survive COVID-19, but with big changes”, highlighting important insights and extra thoughts I have while reading.

One interesting example focuses on Steve Hafner, the CEO of Kayak and OpenTable. Many of Opentable’s initiatives during COVID-19 focus on applying reservations to new areas and capacity control. What interests me is how these two focal points will shape and change behaviour well after the pandemic. For instance, reservations enable not only contact tracing to be possible, but also eliminates waiting in line for a table. Restaurants accepting customers through reservations only will result in accidentally discouraging spontaneous dinner plans, a behaviour that prior to the pandemic generated business. We will be forced us to ask questions like, “how might we maintain the joy of spontaneity in a highly scheduled world?”

Reservations also make the food industry more environmentally friendly.

COVID-19 has had a detrimental effect on industries efforts to be more environmentally conscious. Coffee shops no longer accept refillable mugs and there is an enormous increase in the amount of disposable items (masks, gloves, wipes, etc.). But reservations and capacity control in restaurants could have a positive effect on the environment. If restaurants knew how many people were going to be eating the next day, they could more accurately gage the amount of food needed to be prepared, reducing both their food costs and food waste.

This reading highlights not only new opportunities and innovative solutions, but also makes you think about what will change if these practices continue well after COVID-19.

Sep 14
Group 3 STEEP V analysis looking at the future of mental health

Group 3 STEEP V analysis looking at the future of mental health

Today we looked at future trends for mental health in the next three years. This process allowed us to experiment with combining trends from six different categories to create opportunities waiting the sphere of mental health and treatment.