The Way We Work 2018: Topics Worthy of Discussion Series
Guest blog with Unify Expert Lisa Campbell
As part of our ongoing thought leadership research into the way we work, we caught up with Lisa Campbell, Global Director and Digital Workplace Expert at Unify. Lisa has offered some insightful and engaging responses in this blog. Enjoy!
UNIFY: Our recent research shows that two-thirds of respondents are more satisfied with their work life style than they were 5 years ago. Do you agree with this finding? What are your observations?
Lisa: Absolutely agree that my work lifestyle is more satisfactory than 5 years ago. No wasteful commute (cost and time). However, the reduced face to face interaction have become more noticeable - nothing replaces the urgency and focus of meeting your team mates, customers or partners.
UNIFY: A majority of respondents indicated higher work satisfaction associated with some exposure and access to a traditional office setting (ideally up to 25% of the time). This was even higher for Millennials (up to 50% of the time). What do you think it behind this factor?
Lisa: I agree that certain work is more effective with traditional office settings (creative and brainstorm, time critical, security and accountability, high risk). I'm not entirely convinced it is a generational topic though - if we've taught millennials have been convinced through school, media and limited experience that the traditional setting is the standard, their input may be based more on opinion vs. fact.
UNIFY: Do you believe that circa 2018, with modern collaboration tools in use (audio, video, text conversations, content sharing), we have overcome the potential for social isolation to inhibit employee productivity, satisfaction and collaboration?
Lisa: No. These tools are inclusive, but not empathetic.
UNIFY: How do you see artificial intelligence and/or robots (software or hardware) influencing or impacting remote or home-based working? Or for those who monitor and manage remote workers?
Lisa: Bots could replicate not only the home worker, but any worker in regards to meeting attendance / action taking and prioritization, so I don't this automation and workflow will impact the remote or home worker. It will impact those in certain roles though. As far as monitoring / management it could give guidance in terms of team focus based on effort (analyze word usage and if they're on point with assigned tasks, tool adoption metrics, active vs. passive time, cause/effect efficiencies for measurable KPIs etc.), but again aren't necessarily limited to home or remote workers.
UNIFY: What do you think of the emergence of so-called “co-working spaces” for anywhere workers, freelancers, home-based and other sharing economy professionals to congregate?
Lisa: Good for cross pollination of ideas and workers, but limited in terms of confidentiality, privacy and quiet. The ”Regis” concept has been around for a long time so it doesn't seem to be a new addition to the workplace paradigm shift.
UNIFY: Are remote or home-based workers more vulnerable to security or hacking exposures? What are the implications for organizations to manage this potential exposure?
Lisa: Yes, but only if the traditional location is set up with the proper security, which Atos for example, has. But some organizations may not be as concerned with or as able to invest in security so risks could be the same regardless of employee location.
UNIFY: What unintended consequences (positive, negative, humorous and/or otherwise unexpected) of remote working have you seen?
Lisa: I’d say the steady decline in the sophistication of my wardrobe (from heals to uggs).
In the winter I need to actively avoid seasonal "hermit-mode" given the limited access to daylight from working very early with European colleagues and the struggle to go outside - winter is such a bear in Canada. I really can work from anywhere and can be as productive at the cottage in the summer as I can at home, so we can get much more enjoyment out of seasonal properties.