An article by Massimiliano Santamaria
In our ever-changing work, personal, and social environment, the demand for immediate, clear, and consistent data has become increasingly vital. This necessity holds true for both individuals and organisations. Individuals face daily social changes, while organisations seek to comprehend how daily work routines impact their social and organisational contexts. This presents a unique challenge.
The phenomenon of "new ways of working" (NWOW) has reshaped our behaviours, both in remote work and in traditional office settings. On one hand, it has introduced greater flexibility, while on the other, it has transformed offices into dynamic spaces, emphasising not only productivity but also personal and social relationships.
For approximately two years, from 2020 to early 2022, organisations focused on implementing remote work, or agile working in some regions. In Italy, smart working regulations provided a solution to various organisational and personal challenges. Initially, the primary goal was ensuring people's safety and business continuity. The pandemic era prompted organisations to enhance their technological infrastructure and communication strategies, shifting from rigid IT provisioning to a more flexible BYOD approach. Subsequently, the aim was to adapt existing processes to be effective in a hybrid work environment.
The main outcomes of the pandemic period can be summarised in two key areas:
Dramatic Changes in Work-Life Balance: The concept of work-life balance underwent a significant transformation, with more focus on personal and family time.
Skills Development: People embraced digital tools and became paperless, even if they were accustomed to working on paper.
Self-awareness: Increased awareness about personal competencies and characteristics.
Deployment of New Working Models: Organisations successfully adopted remote work while maintaining productivity and focus.
Technological Advancements: Innovation and experimentation led to significant improvements in areas such as talent attraction and cost efficiency.
Revamped Workspace Approach: Offices transformed into appealing spaces where people wanted to work, rather than places they felt obliged to visit.
On the flip side, there were challenges such as isolation, economic setbacks, and psychological distress. However, as is often the case with sudden and profound changes, their effects cannot be confined or predicted. Having measurement methodologies and accurate data at our disposal becomes a significant advantage. The ability to interpret socio-behavioural phenomena enables us to understand their impacts on organisations.
Until the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022, the focus was on remote work. Today, the perspective has entirely shifted, even reversed. In our projects, we increasingly encounter managers, including executives, who aim to make the office an environment where people can work effectively and collaboratively. This change in perspective has introduced a new approach to work.
A year ago, the core of these projects revolved around implementing agile working frameworks that catered to both organisational and individual needs. Today, the landscape has evolved. These issues are now considered established, no longer posing critical challenges. The question that now arises is, "How can I ensure my employees work efficiently and feel their best, whether in the office or remotely?" To address this, a data-driven approach is crucial, one that identifies different behaviour clusters for specific functions or activities within the organisation, rather than applying a common stereotype across the entire organisation. The needs of the finance department differ from those of sales, just as the back office varies from the legal team.
The future of work will demand even greater flexibility and adaptability. Having tools to measure these phenomena will become increasingly significant.