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Next-Generation Work Environments Can Trigger Productivity

By Eduardo Sarmiento Villalobos - DXC Mexico
Country Manager


Eduardo Sarmiento Villalobos By Eduardo Sarmiento Villalobos | Country Manager - Wed, 04/12/2023 - 11:00

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More than two years ago, the COVID-19 pandemic took us by surprise and confined us all to our homes. Remote work became the only possible way to work, and organizations applied it however they could, but it seems that it didn't always work as expected. I take advantage of this space to reflect and make recommendations for the times we are experiencing now: the post-pandemic era. 

On the one hand, some companies expect their employees to return to full-time face-to-face work. On the other hand, some employees do not want to return, even in a hybrid model (remote and face-to-face work). It seems that the transition is not complete. Some signs of this are outdated communication between associates, insufficient investment in the virtual environment and the lack of skills (technical and management) to carry it out, both managers and workers. 

But there are other challenges. According to WTW's 2022 Global Attitudes to Work Benefits Survey, most employees prefer remote or hybrid work because it helps balance work and personal life (68%), despite feeling disconnected from their team (45%). 

The study was carried out globally in 23 countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico, with a sample of 5,028 employees. It turns out that, on the other hand, more than a third of the employees interviewed are concerned that remote work will harm their professional development opportunities. 

From my experience creating new work environments in DXC, I can say that these challenges can be overcome. For remote work to work well, organizations need to understand the human experience as well as people's relationship with technology to optimize agility and business performance. This means that we must first make our leaders aware of this and respond to factors such as individual, group and organizational behavior, decision-making, knowledge and context, in addition to understanding how these drive the associate.

Challenges to Working Remotely Successfully 

Adopting a more conceptual model of the workspace has important advantages. Instead of the office,  any place can be a work area, for example, and absenteeism is reduced by 63% because they don't have to commute. 

In this regard, the concept of the business metaverse has been generated, which refers to a new collaborative space to which people connect for work even though they are physically in different locations, such as the office, home office or rented meeting rooms. 

As a result, there is a push for virtual shared services, but this requires increasing levels of complexity to give access to specific information to the right people at the time they need it, which in turn increases organizational boundaries in terms of security. 

Other factors complicate the fluidity of work performance in a working model that is not face-to-face and that could deteriorate relations between associates. First, working remotely means that almost all interactions are planned rather than spontaneous. This significantly reduces the opportunity for creative, innovative interaction and knowledge sharing. 

Second, it can be very time-consuming trying to align team members' schedules. It is not uncommon to see that employees are frequently busy with remote meetings. Relationships can suffer or disappear because people do not reach out to workers who work remotely. Information is shared with a smaller group of people. 

Third, knowledge is frequently lost because in a remote environment, its exchange is often not as efficient as when you have direct access to the main source of information. Remote work requires frequent clarifications and calls to relay data. 

How to Trigger Efficient Remote Work 

At DXC, we can help organizations create a successful remote work strategy in this field since we start from our own experience. Faced with the challenges mentioned above, I recommend adopting communication methods that leave permanent traces for future learning. If an employee produces a body of knowledge or makes a decision, the process should be recorded so that other workers in the company can understand the context.

Likewise, we must provide them with a good working environment, security and adequate equipment to connect remotely. We know it's not easy to implement a new work environment, as collaborative capabilities can be weakened by a lack of leadership, testing trust, for example, between managers and employees. 

Below are the five steps how  to face the challenges of remote works: 

1. Send the right message to associates. Leaders should embrace this modality to set an example and design a remote work strategy that includes collaboration technology. 

2. Automate the feedback curve. Link your new work strategy to KPIs and perform automatic measurements to reduce work meetings. 

3. Train the management team. Managers must choose the most suitable work environment. Boost the remote skills of your associates, and provide them with tools and a budget. 

4. Empower the workforce. Teach them to manage their time, adopt knowledge management and foster a good work environment. 

5. Design a comprehensive and personalized cybersecurity strategy. Remote and hybrid work increases the vulnerability of information, so developing a comprehensive security strategy will help optimize your company's operations and productivity. 

We make these recommendations, not only from our experience in virtually optimizing work environments in large organizations, but also because at DXC, with 130,000-plus employees, we always test our solutions internally. With our Virtual First approach, we convert corporate work environments to fully customized remote schemes. 

For example, our SheLeads women's leadership development program, which is 100%remote, was successful because we leveraged our own virtual training capacity with our technology. On the other hand, we were able to unify the work of more than 60,000 DXC employees who use the Microsoft Teams collaboration tool (they live in more than 70 countries and speak several languages), in addition to changing their culture to create a more agile work environment and in real time. 

There are many benefits for organizations that offer a remote work model. For example, productivity rises by 4.4% for 85% of these and those most successful in applying it will be able to recruit the best talent globally, who seek to work anywhere in the world without having to travel. Both factors help companies stay competitive. What further reasons do you need to redesign your work environment? 






Photo by:   Eduardo Sarmiento Villalobos

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