Employee wellbeing to shape future workplaces

Employee wellbeing and empowerment will be priorities in the future workplace, according to a new report.

The 2020 Intelligent Workplace Report from technology services company NTT found that the majority (86.4%) of businesses in the UK and Ireland believed employee needs will be at the heart of the future workplace design.

Four-fifths (77.6%) of organisations responding to the survey also agreed that home working during the pandemic has been challenging for employees and that connectivity and that workspace issues such as bandwidth, a feeling of isolation and a lack of dedicated workspace have all been causes for concern for employers.

Steve Warner, vice president HR UK&I at NTT told HR magazine that when it comes to post-pandemic workplace design, HR teams across the globe are competing with the unknown.

He said: “How many employees will actually return to the office? How will existing spaces function? The balance between working from home and returning to the office is still uncertain, and therefore organisations need to design a flexible workplace that they can change as and when is needed.”

The report suggested that as the world continues to adapt to the challenges of COVID-19, organisations must develop a more robust strategy to permanently provide for a distributed workforce.

For Warner, data will drive the approach to new designs, and HR has an important role to play in it.

He said: “For example, by monitoring footfall, organisations can analyse real-time data to evaluate how many employees are using the spaces provided in the offices. They can then determine and define the purpose of each individual space – for instance, by creating collaboration spaces instead of desk spaces.

“Beyond the physical office, the new workplace has expanded to include every employee’s remote working space – which ranges from their home seating arrangements to external office spaces.

“Importantly, everyone has a different situation, and it’s now the role of HR to adapt and support each individual’s wellbeing wherever they may be working from.”

The report surveyed 1,350 participants across 19 markets, with 125 participants in the UK and Ireland.