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The Critical Success Factors for the post-Covid workplace

01 December 2020, by Duncan Mitchell

The Covid-19 enforced lockdown has had at least one major upside for me – leadership teams are now wanting to talk about the workplace and new ways of working for staff. It’s now not being dumbed down into templated solutions implemented more as property solutions to save space and reduce cost. The only people championing those types of workplaces have been the beanies!

So what’s changed? 

The world has been disrupted and, with it, how people want to work. And as uncomfortable as that has been, it’s got leadership teams thinking.

“Well the technology worked – mostly. People seemed to be productive, and some say they enjoyed it better working from home. Our business kept going, work got done. Yes, after six weeks, many people got sick of working from home all the time but people are not wanting to go back to how it was before.”

So what now?

For me, the big question is that if working from home allowed us to be really productive doing our autonomous, thinking work because we could avoid the usual workplace distractions, then what does the office need to become?

And I don’t think the answer is clear yet. It will take some time and testing to figure it out.

But I do think it’s clear that, in the future, the office won’t be about providing everyone with a desk of their own. The office will be more about collaborating with the team and connecting with the organisation’s culture and values. 

So what sort of workplace is required to support those activities?

That gets us to flexible working and flexible workplace solutions. Pre-Covid, many organisations were already trying these. Some were successful but many just didn’t work for staff.

With many businesses now thinking about new types of workplace solutions, I want to share what I call the ‘Six Critical Success Factors’ for workplace change.

SixCriticalFactors Illustration

The Six Critical Success Factors for the post-Covid workplace

  1. Having a compelling rationale about why you want people to change the way they are working and communicating it clearly to people
  2. Ensuring the workplace project is being led by the Leadership Team as an organisational change project
  3. Having technology and devices that allow people to work remotely and move easily between work areas in the workplace
  4. Getting staff acceptance of clear desk policies
  5. Having formal flexible working policies in place 
  6. Providing further training support for people managers to manage distributed teams

Having these Six Critical Success Factors in place helps create a foundation to ensure a workplace change project is more likely to succeed. It still needs a carefully-managed change and communications plan, but at least the project will be off to a good start.

Over the last five years, TwentyTwo has been helping New Zealand organisations optimise how their workplaces support their people to do great work. 

If you want to talk about getting your critical workplace success factors in place, contact Duncan Mitchell.

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About the author

Lives on Asian food. Listens to music that sounds like a washing machine. Once played the clarinet! Dreams of lazy days sailing. Rides a mean mountain bike. Predicts the weather. Avoids crowds and dancing.

Duncan leads our Strategy practice area which includes our property strategy, workplace strategy, strategic briefing, technology and master planning areas and has been the driving force behind the growth of this practice area. Duncan remains focused on how the workplace (physical environment, technology, people and process) can best support organisational performance.

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