Leading Edge Forum Report: 'Reconfiguring the Collaborative Workspace: Making the Most of Time, Space & Attitude'
Examining our digital/physical hybrid working environments to inspire change within organizations
LONDON, Dec. 10, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- A new report released today by Leading Edge Forum (LEF), the global research and thought leadership organisation, offers a new view into many different contemporary ways of working, proposing practices, habits, and spaces to inspire change within organizations. The report, entitled 'Reconfiguring the collaborative workspace: making the most of time, space & attitude', investigates a holistic view of our digital and physical hybrid working environments, how issues of trust, presenteeism, communication and culture are manifesting in this time of change. Following 50 hours of interviews with 2000 live data points from people working in a wide range of environments and at different organizational levels, LEF was able to garner a deeper insight into where an unquestioned norm is persisting, or a new practice or habit is starting to form within the working environments.
Organizations have an increasing array of tools and places at their disposal to enable work to happen wherever and whenever it needs to. But to make the most of this potential for a more distributed and mobile workforce, LEF's report recommends teams and individuals must adapt, developing new etiquette and survival strategies for the new technoscapes in which they work.
"Space is more than place: creating and curating the working environment, virtual and physical, for high performing teams demands a state of constant alertness, watching ourselves at work, probing assumptions, spotting anomalies, shifting habits day today, to learn and adapt as we go," explained said Dr Caitlin McDonald, author of the report and Digital Anthropologist at Leading Edge Forum. "We need to learn to think like anthropologists, to spot the deeper patterns that show up as surface symptoms, in order to actively choose and build workspaces that work for us."
The key findings of the study revealed that three aspects of people's working lives clearly stood out where workers seemed to feel that they governed or were governed by these core elements of their working environments: time, space and attitude.
With these three drivers in mind, organizations seeking to maximise the productivity of ever more asynchronous and distributed teams should consider the following guidance:
Time: Find a rhythm that encourages some synchronicity across the entire team, whether that's regular in-person meetings, periodic virtual hangouts, or something else. This will reduce the complexity of back-and-forth communications, particularly across large groups.
Space: A degree of autonomy over one's working environment goes a long way. Everyone likes a lot of light and a view of green plants – there were no surprises in the data as far as those features go. But having the right kind of space for the right job, and the ability to choose aspects of one's environment even if that choice is limited, gives employees a sense of self-directedness at work.
Attitude: The way people speak about and behave regarding the first two principles gives profound clues to the third. This is how leaders can find out what is really driving their organizational performance. The key is digging under the surface to discover not only what people say but the fundamental shared worldview that resonates throughout the organization. By getting to grips with this, teams have the opportunity to enact profound change in how they work together.
"How different will the working environments of the next sixty years look from the way that our offices today look compared to Desk Set, the 1957 film featuring an early representation of a team of information workers adjusting to an 'electronic brain'? That we can't tell you. But we can say that the challenges of complex distributed systems will continue to describe the way people work together—and apart. By continuing to be curious, to ask questions and be open to stepping back from regular operations and adjusting course from time to time, we can make sure we're constantly evolving to meet the same organizational challenges that are showing up in new guises."
You can download "Reconfiguring the collaborative workspace: making the most of time, space & attitude" at: https://leadingedgeforum.com/research/reconfiguring-the-collaborative-workspace-making-the-most-of-time-space-attitude/.
Leading Edge Forum is one of the world's leading cross-industry think-tanks and is dedicated to helping clients reimagine their organisations and leadership for a tech-driven future. It has been evaluating major digital technology developments and shifts for over 30 years – and delivering insights on how these will redefine industries, organisations and the individuals that work within them. Learn more at https://www.leadingedgeforum.com
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