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Sustainability Beyond the Office: Shaping the Future of Workspace

Shaping the Future of Workspace

I’ve been observing a gradual change in the traditional white-collar job throughout most of the 2010s. The tech ecosystem changed to support remote working practices as collaboration tools improved and work became more dispersed. This trend was resisted by conventional workplaces until the COVID-19 pandemic compelled organizations to reconsider how they operate. 

A few things have become abundantly clear as we enter the new decade: knowledge workers across major industries are no longer bound by industrial era working practices, and remote work is here to stay.

“More than 90% of respondents ranked sustainable work models as a top priority for their organizations.”

Exploring hybrid work models

There can be no doubt that the hybrid office will play a crucial role in the workplace of the future. This was confirmed by HCLTech through a joint study with Fortune Brand Studio in March 2022, during which we polled 200 senior executives from 11 different industries across North America and Europe. The outcomes are self-evident. Over 90% of those surveyed said that having sustainable work models was a top priority for their companies, with more than 50% strongly agreeing. 

For me, the key components of a successful hybrid workplace model are employee feedback and employee experience. During my time at HCLTech, I’ve noticed that empowering managers and involving employees are crucial building blocks to making hybrid work the norm. Given its amorphous nature, no two businesses.

Unclouded strategic thinking

Hybrid work models can only succeed under the strict conditions of having a clear vision and unrestricted execution. This is especially true for large organizations (those with more than 25,000 employees), where executive leadership alone has the authority to design new work models and paradigmatic shifts in vision. 

Since I have been with HCLTech for almost 20 years, I have seen how successful a top-down strategy can be in big businesses. Our leadership team laid the groundwork for our vision of the future of hybrid work, with operational security, employee experience, and corporate culture serving as the cornerstones of the overall plan.

The strategy should serve as a North Star to direct hybrid work policies, and the actual implementation should be left to the concerned departments. This is equally important to note. Our survey revealed that IT and human resources are the most frequent candidates to spearhead these changes, with leaders favoring the former.

Reshaping sustainability

Beyond carbon footprints and net-zero emissions, sustainability has evolved in the context of contemporary business. According to what I’ve observed, sustainability is no longer a secondary consideration but rather a crucial factor in hiring and retaining staff members. The current job market is particularly competitive, especially in a highly specialized industry like ours, and candidates are spoiled for choice when it comes to lucrative employment opportunities. In these situations, a sustainable work environment can make a significant difference.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is cited by a significant 64 percent of executives from top companies with sustainable work environments as a key element in luring and keeping employees. This is a relationship that I can personally attest to because I have seen how grassroots sustainability initiatives help to foster a culture that is more accepting of diverse viewpoints, working methods, etc.

Nurturing culture and way forward

When I first entered the workforce as a recent graduate looking to choose between numerous, equally alluring job opportunities, wages and salaries dominated. Today, however, things have changed, with more than 51% of survey respondents citing work-life balance as the most crucial element of the employee experience. 

The distinction between a home and a workplace is blurred in a hybrid work environment, making it more likely that the latter will seep into the former. This must be accounted for in organizational culture, and businesses that actively consult with employees and managers to reduce such flagrant violations of work-life balance are more likely to be leaders in their fields.

I’ve already discussed the key trends influencing digital workplace services worldwide, including hybrid work, employee-centric strategies, sustainable work models, and a culture that values work-life balance, as well as my assessment of what the future holds for modern workplaces. 

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