If we want to make today matter, we should always work for a better tomorrow. As workplace professionals, for more than a decade now, we should’ve been asking ourselves what is the tomorrow workplace like. Why only for a decade? Because that is roughly the time, we’ve known with 100% certainty that something big is on the horizon that will alter everything around work. Yes, I’m referring to technology but more specifically to virtual leadership. Because once leadership turns digitally native, nothing will ever be the same again. We literally won’t need office headquarters anymore; all we need is engaging community management and the technology to empower team collaboration and humane leadership and let people be happy by designing their workdays individually wherever they might be.
Having said that, if we truly want the physical to mean something in a virtual and distributed world of work, we have to approach it differently.
Where do we start?
Some argue that workplace experience is about the service and space experience around work whereas some argue that it’s a bigger question of organisational culture. So, do we start by designing culture or the experience around physical environments? Is workplace experience only felt when we’re “at work” in the traditional meaning or is experience social and thus attached to the people around us and how we interact? Whichever we choose, shouldn’t we also have a vision and strategic hypotheses to start with and then start by validating and invalidating ideas? The answer really boils down to our next question.
Who is asking?
Depending on who’s asking determines whether we’re designing the tomorrow company and it’s management and productivity culture or engaging in change theater to please and thus distract the masses. Workplace experience in the traditional sense can be designed by service designers alone, but if you’re really after the tomorrow experience, you need a vision from the top and start the process there.
Who should we ask?
Is designing the tomorrow workplace experience a democratic quantifiable process or strategic using qualitative data collected from only a group of people that really matters? Is it as simple as collecting feedback from everyone as a snapshot and presenting those results as facts or should we treat feedback differently depending on who’s giving it and spend more time analysing what’s behind the data and go back to the source if need be?
What should we ask?
It’s given that you should design your questions based on who you’re asking, why and how. There really is no one size fits all survey template to be used here but that’s not saying it’s overwhelmingly complex to define your questions. It’s just a matter of spending enough quality time preparing and then agreeing on the purpose and how to get there. One shouldn’t forget that who designs the questions and asks them, learns the most. Each step is part of the learning which is why cheating would be making it all into a waste of time.
How should we ask?
Finally, we should never treat learning as a project but a process. So, don’t treat this as a to do task but a way to feed your growing curiosity and ability to ask the right questions from the right people.
Interested to hear more about how to get started with the strategic design of tomorrow workplace experience?
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