Telum Talks To... Hardeep Matharu, Head of Business Growth, Asia at Veldhoen + Company

Telum Talks To... Hardeep Matharu, Head of Business Growth, Asia at Veldhoen + Company

Telum caught up with Hardeep Matharu, Head of Business Growth, Asia at Veldhoen + Company, a strategic work-style consultancy to share more about the future of a hybrid work world and how its impacting internal communications within teams.

Workplaces have to constantly evolve and adapt, but is embracing digital transformation enough for organisations to come on top?
A successful workplace requires coherence across three factors: digital, physical and behavioural. Digital transformation is a great place to start to create a more seamless hybrid working environment for employees. However, in isolation, this isn’t enough to bring about the real change needed to succeed today. Without the supporting physical environment and the behaviours of employees to champion and adopt the changes, the workplace will not evolve sufficiently for an organisation to succeed.

What have been the common challenges shared by organisations as they adapt to hybrid work model?
The most significant and universal challenges faced by organisations are collaboration and maintaining team connections in a hybrid work environment. As employees work from different locations, some have struggled to collaborate effectively in a remote and asynchronous manner. Employees also struggle to feel part of a team as the physical social events and team meetings that they are used to becoming less frequent.

Other challenges revolve around handling meetings and encouraging participation, leadership skills gaps and encouraging productive usage of the workplace.

How does a hybrid workplace affect the internal communications within the organisation?
Internal communications for most organisations have had to evolve quite significantly in the last two years.

As we work more flexibly, communications need to be consumable asynchronously. This means even ‘live’ communications, such as townhalls or business updates, should be recorded for employees to view when they wish. Alternatively, live sessions should be conducted multiple times to ensure messages are circulated widely.

As the volume of emails, IMs and phone calls have increased in a hybrid work environment, there’s significantly more chance for communications to be ‘lost’ when circulated. As such, organisations have to use multiple platforms to push the same messages. Beyond the usual email circular, some organisations have also created internal podcasts and radio shows to better engage with their employees.

The tolerance of employees to engage with long, complex or multi-faceted communications has significantly reduced. With message and notification overload, we notice the need for communications to be snappy, sharp and very clear in what the key takeaways are for employees.

Can you share some of the best practices that can help organisations transform their workplace?
Organisations should engage their employees and find out what they want the workplace to deliver for them. Key information to capture would be around what employees expect to use the workplace for, as well as the factors which would hold them back from using the workplace. This information gathering should extend beyond to gather feedback from any future workplace transformation.

Using the information gleaned from employees, we recommend for organisations to take time to re-evaluate what changes this would involve for the workplace. This consideration should be by functions across the organisation, including crucially Facilities, Human Resources and IT. Where necessary, external support should be sought, particularly if this is a new concept for the internal team.

Another practice we highly recommend is to invest in change management to ensure workplace transformation is well understood and adopted. This would likely involve developing leadership capabilities, driving engagement as well as crafting internal communications.

What are some workplace technologies that can help power up hybrid work to reflect positive employee experience and productivity gains?
Before committing to any technology, it is important to use analytic tools and various other forms of data gathering to understand how people work and the types of experience that matter to them.

We often see employees switch between different technology tools and software with many of them implemented as a stand-alone tool. A unified communications and collaboration solution provides organisations with the ability to streamline this into a simple interface that is easy for employees to use. Such a solution typically includes email, calendar, presence, telephony, instant messaging, and web and video conferencing. This improves the user experience and also helps facilitate collaboration, communication and drive productivity.    

Using ongoing analytic data and together with predictive services, a mobile app can function as a virtual assistant and anticipate an employee’s needs. Some common features of such an app include wayfinding, finding colleagues, booking spaces and food and beverage service.

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