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Future of work: How to build an intelligent and caring workplace

By Contributor
Fri 29 Jul 2022

Article by Dell Technologies VP client solutions group APJ Paul Carter.

It has been established. Hybrid work is now standard practice, an expectation, a way of life. 

There are good reasons why many companies and employees have welcomed and settled into this new way of working. According to RMIT University, most Australian workers (93%) say that flexibility is essential when deciding to accept a new job or stay in the current one.

But there are equally good reasons why many are starting to feel trepidation about the long-term effects of this shift. One of which is the disruption that the “staccato nature” of hybrid work has brought to employees’ daily routines. The constant alternating between working from home and the office has worn out our workers as they grapple with feelings of uncertainty.

With that, we started looking beyond the near future. What can we, as an organisation, do to equip and empower our workforce to continue being productive and set them up for excellence, no matter where and when they work? 

The answer lies in building an intelligent and caring workplace for the long term, to help employees work smarter and thrive professionally and personally.

Building an intelligent workplace ecosystem

In a hybrid world where workplace experiences extend beyond the walls of the office, we are increasingly reliant on intuitive software and intelligent devices to facilitate blended in-person and remote collaboration. 
Our next challenge will be to leverage technology to enable more seamless hybrid working and ease the psychological shift between working from home and the office – while ensuring that robust security measures are put in place.  

There are two key traits that define an intelligent workplace:

  • Innovation-enabled 

In the immediate future, an intelligent digital workplace could feature new innovations and intuitive workplace technologies to facilitate better communication, collaboration, and location equality for all. 

Imagine walking up to an intelligent workspace where your laptop automatically connects to the displays, mouse, keyboard and your trusted network before you’ve sat down, enabling you to pick up exactly where you last left off. Simultaneously, as you place your laptop down, it receives power wirelessly without the need to fumble for cords or awkwardly crawl under desks. And when you are ready to move to your next location, your workspace has a proximity detection feature that disconnects you automatically when you leave – enabling a truly frictionless transition between spaces. 

This is exactly what we envisioned with Concept Flow, an adaptable concept solution that marries devices, industry standard wireless charging technology, intelligent software applications and Wi-Fi 6E docking technology to create a singular, seamless experience, anywhere, anytime. 

While this is still a work in progress, the idea behind it is already being brought to life through existing solutions like Workspace ONE, an intelligence-driven digital workspace which allows our employees to access corporate applications from all their devices, including their mobile phones, while preserving security and privacy. This enables them to be productive and collaborative in the fast-paced and unpredictable world we live in.

  • A secure workforce

And then there’s cybersecurity. The ownership of cybersecurity is now decentralised where cybersecurity is no longer just a corporate responsibility. Employees need to stay hypervigilant, especially since they also use their corporate laptops and devices outside of traditional security boundaries. 

Over the last year, we have seen cases of hackers becoming more audacious, using state-of-the-art technology to outsmart their targets and steal companies’ data. In fact, these hackers are also exploiting human complacency or uncertainty to execute their attacks. 

With increased exposure to risk comes the specter of greater damage to businesses. Hence, companies need to ingrain a strong security-awareness culture among employees in the hybrid workplace to enhance cybersecurity ownership and make it “everyone’s job” – from endpoint security to data protection and management. In the last year alone, at Dell, thousands of real phishing attacks were spotted and stopped because our employees reported them at first sight.

Alongside innovation, emphasis on the human factor in cybersecurity will be crucial as we continue designing intelligent workspaces for the hybrid work future.

Designing a caring workplace

While we leverage technology to work smarter and achieve balance, it is equally important for leaders to cultivate a trusted and caring workplace. 

Dell Technologies talked to some experts in APJ to decipher key imperatives for employers to navigate the next hybrid workforce to achieve workplace wellbeing:

1. Build trust with employees and stay close to the ground 

Leaders need to build trust with their teams and demonstrate compassion towards their workforce as they adjust to flexible work. One way is to learn from start-ups and embrace the concept of ‘management by walking around’, whereby leaders actively get out into the trenches to listen and engage with their employees. This will help them keep a pulse on employee wellbeing and create a managerial culture that is outcome-based and grounded in trust and open communication.

2. Enable employees to weigh in 

Instead of a top-down design of hybrid work, companies can conduct open ideation sessions with their employees to give them a platform to contribute ideas on they want to see in their intelligent workplace or suggest changes to employment policies in this hybrid work environment. Through this, employees have a chance to feel heard and cared for, while employers open up the possibility of gaining fresh perspectives from workers across generations. 

3. Maximise in-person time 

While hybrid work has its perks – balance is key. Beyond leveraging technology to stay connected, people still yearn for human interaction in the workplace. Thus, its crucial for organisations to create opportunities for workers to be physically together in the office and use the time meaningfully for interactive trainings, social engagement and innovation sessions to keep employees happy, secure and engaged. 

Do you have an intelligent, hybrid set-up that works for you?

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