6 minute read 11 Mar 2021
Work reimagined: building a bridge from now to next to beyond

Work reimagined: Building a bridge from now to next to beyond

By Louise Dyrendahl

EY, Sweden, Advisory, Nordic Head of Workforce

Loves to solve problems on behalf of the client. Spends free time with family and writing a book. Lover of nature. Passionately interested in fashion.

6 minute read 11 Mar 2021
Related topics COVID-19 Workforce Technology

With the paradigm shift brought about by the COVID-19 crisis, it is the need of the hour to design the bricks, bytes and behaviors for reimagining a new era of work.

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly altered work as we know it, with organizations around the globe reassessing and reimagining ways of working and accelerating an already ongoing paradigm shift in digitalization. The focus has now shifted from “return to office” to “reimagining work,” with a need to establish a new holistic approach that supports more lean operating models now and in the future. 

 

How do employers seek to establish a new hybrid work model with greater degrees of remote and flexible work empowered by technology? How do they plan to improve the employee experience and accelerate organizational agility?

EY teams are working with leading global organizations to support a range of transformations related to reimagining work. The challenge before employers today is to rethink the workplace and its use by the workforce with the help of technology that can result in reduced spend as well as productivity gains. To do so, employers need to take a holistic view of the world of work by integrating the following three Bs:

Bricks: A network of spaces that supports all the different activities that employees perform during a workday.

Bytes: User-centric digital workplace that enables knowledge sharing and collaboration regardless of time, place and setting.

Behavior: Purpose-driven culture that is built on trust and encourages collaboration, experimentation, transparency and self-leadership.

In order to truly reimagine where, when and how we work, organizations should work across functional areas such as real estate, human resources (HR) and information technology (IT). Most importantly, they need to involve the business, end-users and employees in order to build a workplace experience focused on the needs of the individuals in a “new normal.” This includes establishing a strategic workforce plan to map where employees will be based in the future, potential tax implications, and rethinking employee contracts and policies and guidelines for hybrid working models. It also entails a new approach to leadership, with more distributed mandate, autonomy and work ethics as cultural cornerstones. In addition, the mobility agenda will be key in terms of who should travel or relocate physically in the future.     

We are already on the path for reimagining work for tomorrow. We can already see the initial shift toward becoming a modern employer — an agile organization that empowers employees to work anywhere, anytime, on demand, work better and, above all, work differently.

How EY teams can help

There has been a great demand from many of EY’s clients to participate in interactive sessions together with their peers to share experiences and ideas, and work together to counter the current workplace challenges they grapple with. As a result of this, EY teams have taken the initiative to invite clients to what we call work reimagined action labs.

These labs are intimate sessions where selected people from some of the leading organizations in the Nordics meet up together with EY professionals in order to get inspired, discuss and co-create. The sessions utilize virtual collaboration tools, are highly interactive and focus on the biggest challenges that each participating organization has at the moment.

We can see that organizations are expecting to create more radical solutions and making change faster, and also looking at how to transform both bytes, bricks and behaviors. According to the EY Physical Return to Work Reimagined (PRWR) survey, a majority of employers are planning moderate or extensive changes to “reimagine work” in response to COVID-19. The survey shows that 77% of employers plan to make moderate to extensive changes to their workforce cost strategy and 75% plan to make moderate to extensive changes to business disruption planning. The disruption caused due to COVID-19 seems to have dispelled long-held myths about productivity and collaboration, and it showed how quickly we could adapt to the changes around us.

A majority of EY customers use Microsoft services to set up their digital and modern workplace. EY teams have a strategic alliance with Microsoft that brings us even closer to their technology and innovation and helps us benefit from other global implementations and leading practices. EY is one of the four named global partners providing consulting and advisory services based on Microsoft’s new employee experience platform, Microsoft Viva.

 

Many times, the focus is on how to move to the cloud. That might be a relevant question, but together with Microsoft, we look at why to move to the cloud and how to benefit from the digitalization from a broader perspective, not only based on the technical solutions
Per Okdahl
EY Nordics Microsoft Alliance Leader

 

This is the first article in a five-part series on Work Reimagined. It will be followed by focused articles on bytes, bricks and behaviors as well as an interesting case study from EY’s own transformation journey as we move into our new Stockholm office.

 

Summary

With the paradigm shift brought about by COVID-19, organizations need to take a holistic view of the workplace to succeed in reimagining work and ensure the three Bs — bricks, bytes and behaviors — work in tandem.

About this article

By Louise Dyrendahl

EY, Sweden, Advisory, Nordic Head of Workforce

Loves to solve problems on behalf of the client. Spends free time with family and writing a book. Lover of nature. Passionately interested in fashion.