Building a 23000 people startup! Work space design creating future of work

The new age is here with new collar jobs. Yes, the ones that bots are creating for us!

Meaning at work gets redefined with such evolving job types! The easiest representation can be found in the way work is treated at new age offices.

What are these new age offices? Are they all about colorful walls and beautiful chairs? Why does a visionary who starts a firm spend so much to design every inch of it? More importantly when everything is destined to turn into a hygiene factor, no sooner, then why did leaders like Steve Jobs invest so heavily in creating Spaceship, which is not just a work space but work of art! Why do the firms in Silicon Valley take workplace design so seriously?

meeting place

Elon Musk in a tour of his office space shows how open and connected is the engineering floor. The senior management shares the same work space along with rest of the team.

How does this impact? Let’s take a step back and reimagine the old offices that were more about maintaining hierarchy with opaque walls between each work space. Birth of the industrial revolution has placed every work flow in a batch-processing manner. Machines or people are neatly placed in rows separated by walls, cabins and cubicles. With the era of sophistication these walls were replaced with glass which brought in more light to the rooms.

As we drew closer to the end of the industrial era and more into the age of bots, the paradigm shifted from cubicle to commitment. Work is no longer about “how” but “how soon”! When result remains the only measure to work, the speed at which the work is delivered gets completely redefined.

Well these are not just mouthful of theories but action-oriented formulas that are changing organizations. With the future of work being redefined, let’s see how and where it is being developed. And this is all happening in India, right in the business district of Mumbai!

Building a 23000 people startup

Alfian Sharifuddin, Managing Director , Head of Technology & Operations – DBS Bank India, reflects, “Being deeply rooted in the traditional banking system remained time-tested and it made the transition into a 23000 people startup, even more interesting! We had to scale up not only with strategies but also with visible cues including modern workspaces” That hits the target as excel sheets, pie-charts and rising graphs comes and it starts with what we see around us! The speed of work depends on how we treat urgency. Cutting across layers remains an understatement when you are building an aircraft, while it’s flying in the air

meeting zone

Work happens in the white spaces and it is no longer a cliché. Open work areas that promote collaboration. Hence, why mull on an idea endlessly when you can get it resolved at the speed of thought!

Activity-based-work station in DBS Bank India headquarters at Nariman Point not just encourages a free flow of communication amongst employees but also the decision-making authority.

The transition to the ’23000 people start-up’ began with the old version of office that was replaced with thought oriented spaces, which could be accessed by employees at any level. The silos were targeted to be broken to an extent where even the CXOs weren’t allowed to personalize their office only to ensure that this doesn’t build any boundaries. Often the aura of a room portrays the impact of the discussion that is taking place in it. The presence of a leader in his/her personalized office impacts anyone entering it Much as it may help the one who might be allocated the room, it can effectively act against the one walking into it.

The thoughtfulness of the design is highlighted when the noisy area graduates to silent zones for people to focus and work on projects that require zeroing down of attention. The noise meter, put on every work zone, interestingly resembles a traffic signal that can blink in color to show the decibel level. This takes the cake on managing a healthy noise level at work, which works for all!

The fun zone has been designed with Apple TV and arena to encourage relaxed moments and celebrate lighter team moments. This spirit of enjoyment flows into work with colorful pods and phone booths.

Phone Booth

The fish theory comes alive when the concept of fun at work doesn’t just remain restricted to the HR initiatives but is included in every day moments through fun-filled, meaningful interactions in a relaxed environment.

pods

Open and free work spaces allow for greater interactions with the freedom to operate from any corner as deemed fit for the departments to interact. Alfian points out, “The marketing team and digital banking team interact all day long, that’s how, they are placed in the same zone just as the ground floor hosts the cash transaction team and the operations team as the documents from the bank is passed directly from the retail branch in the same building and floor. The work space is designed for the future to accommodate bots and drones. The tables would be soon enabled with wireless charging station and meeting rooms manned by Alexa or any other AI for the enterprise.”

Future of work holds gig economy and geographically based talent to its core. Hence, a meeting room with two large screens allows multi-locational video-conferencing.

How about a work space that can be transformed into a large auditorium for town halls without making any changes? Just walk up those stairs and you have a stage, as shown in the picture attached below! Would such openness to connect, allow free flow of communication on a daily basis?

Audi

Meaning@Future of Work

Dr.Brent Rosso, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Management at Montana University, defined some of the elements ingrained behind the design philosophy of such workplaces, best aligned to the Future of Work:

  1. True calling: You needed a new disruptive and authentic one to accommodate your growth.
  2. Make a difference: Every day you are allowed to be a part of not just the idea generation and implementation but also a part that solves the problem of your customers and you see the change in progress!
  3. We are all in this together: An open work space that breeds belonging!
  4. Feel valuable: Self-efficacy is synonymous with what we deliver at work. Empowerment evolves from the choice and responsibility to excel. A conducive environment that inspires authenticity creates leaders for tomorrow
  5. Sacrifice to a greater cause: Imagine the CEO of your firm, who has worked all his life to get there, treats himself as an equal and not the stature he has achieved! Not only is the door to his office open but also his office space, which is available for others to access in his absence!

Now take a moment and look at this picture, imagine this is the work space for all that you are chosen to deliver, that builds not just your self-efficacies or your bank balance, but also the future of work that you are part of!

seaview

Yes, a job like that defines every moment with the meaning at work, a gorgeous sea view and pays you as well!

Live de vivre!

Balancing Judgment and Discernment

The frugality of the situation and their inter-changeability remains the driving force to strategy. Even though, it is defined, as a set of planned actions over a period, to achieve the desired result.  Organization mirrors this, as the business target to reap the profit. The business goal percolates to every function, over arching with one organization goal. HR functions identify the people factors in this goal. The strategy set for the year drills down to individual functions connecting the business units. Connecting different requirements put the functions on the same page. For instance, the broad-banding of a strategy, such as building agility, would echo for recruitment with greater in-house expertise, where as payroll may require errors free, as its prime target.A case as shared as below in ‘Concern’, surfaces the tip of an Ice berg, with the challenges in Strategic HRM. This is a part and a parcel of talent management. Every organization aims to hire the best talent and retain them with best compensation. Hitherto, the gap between perception and reality edges employee dissatisfaction.

Concern: Recently we have hiked the salary of one of our employee after reviewing her overall performance. However, she is not happy with it.  She is been expecting more. Every day she reminds to negotiate an increase in her salary. Please help on how to handle this situation.

The case facts:

  • The compensation planning allocated hikes to each grade and rank, attenuated by the performance standards.
  • The employee is presented with the hike , which do not match the expectations.
  • Ordeal of negotiations for another hike lengthens decision making.

Looking glass

Logical thinking coupled with practical situations brings in the solution.  Three dimensions that attributes to strategy are as discussed below:

  • Goal Setting: The objective may be defined, as being the market leader by the next financial year. This is calculated in terms of business target. Mostly it’s an increase in the market share through either takeovers or increase in the production. This configures the goal setting for each function. HR functions for such a growing firm would strategise to designate responsibilities, to facilitate the expansion.
  • Budget Allocation: The sum total of the spending is divided into investment in terms of benefits and other operational expenses. Compensation is identified as the value returns on the services received from the talents. This is chiefly governed by the business requirement such as higher spending on research, leading to planning for larger markets share, amid higher supply chain. The HR budge would impact with an alignment to the market is weighed to offer a competitive compensation.
  • Leadership alignment: The backbone of the success to planning lies in the hands that delivers it. The leadership team designated to set the strategy and prepare budget are accountable for the business units.  The talent planning may be chaired by a CHRO , however the insinuations are contributed by the business leaders. Communication overarching the environment balances the transparency, strengthening trust.

Balancing Act

Judging a situation with logical findings would require a non-attached discernment. In our member’s case, different implications from three dimensions as discussed had lead to the dissonance. The disbursement of the hike matched the top-down judgement, but missed on the discernment.

Future of work
Future of Work
  • Individual perception of performance and result: A contribution by an employee is valued. It results with rewards when they were aligned to the organizational goals. Dashboards and performance scorecards actualise with grades for each contribution, to ensure the alignment. However, the gap of expectations widen when the employee in question weighs every contribution for a material reward. A pat on the back received for managing an expert escalation would culminate to incentive, if that escalation results with client retention and revenue returns. The excellence of the employee would be best utilized by an higher level responsibility, when appropriate.
  • Communication: The guidance to an employee reverberates intently, with the shared views and thoughts from it leader with appropriate feedback. Transparency calls for its price. It pushes the leadership to share the confidential often sensitive information. This rings the choice to jump the boat or follow the captain.

Pen-ultimately, the priorities of choosing and aligning will glue the individual to the entity. Solution to the decision maker remains in acknowledging the human concerns with judicial treatment through strategies and communication. Employee championship is intertwined with business partnering through change management and administrative expertise.

If you have any HR Query or any query on Future of Work, Employee Engagement, Talent management, Women Empowerment, Retention or Business Strategy please write to me in here. Looking forward to learn more while finding solutions for you.

Nabomita is the Founder to Nabomita.com. She is the Top 100 Women Achiever Awardee, awarded by Government of India , TEDx Speaker, Quoted on ForbesUS, one of the Top 20 HR Influencer in Social Media as declared by SHRM India and one among the Top 100 Technology Influencer in India. Connect with her on @nabomita_smiles , Facebook Page and Google+

This article have been published on Business manager , October issue 2015. This issue covers different areas of Strategic Management.

Being an Entrepreneur

Have you ever build a company entirely on your own, right from the scratch ? Does your story includes restarting , yet carrying your strengths from one venture to another?

When you look back at your journey, do you too find the dots connecting? Yes, you have a long way to go and that’s what the dots are guiding you to?

How were you as a child and how did that shape you? Were you an extrovert or an introvert? Will, I guess I was an ambivert and still remain so! Did the small incidences from your life shape your behaviour, choices and your life?

Did your lows and highs have a similar story that can match many around you? If you have taken the road less travelled, did it feel different or obvious for you?

If you had to summarise in three points what would it be? For me, its

  1. Curiosity
  2. Being ever-amazed
  3. Hard work, of course !

I was honoured to have been invited by Sampath Iyengar, Chief Visibility Officer at The Indian Networker, talking about who I am, my journey as a professional and few lessons that I picked on the way.

It was great fun as Sam kept asking witty question I was least expecting, putting me to my wit’s end!

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Interestingly few areas of my life that probably even I ignored, came up while talking to Sam. I must add, loved reflecting, in such a witty and a joyous way!

Let me know if your story sounds similar ! I am waiting to hear that.

Raise a cause !

Do you wish to be heard on issues that are close to your heart ? How about raising a cause to the highest authority in your country? Ministry of Women and Child Development invites you to be an Agent of Change and raise a cause. Wondering how would this work? Here’s more on this :

Union Minister Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi has been the using the power of Social Media to reach out to citizens, both to resolve the issues related to women & children as well as to get new ideas from them as to how to make lives of women & children better. In its latest citizen-driven campaign, Ministry of Women & Child Development, has solicited volunteers to raise ‘causes’, which they want the Government to take up.
Citizens are invited to be Change Makers in promoting the interests of Women and Children in India. Let’s unlock the unique power of social crusaders among the people of India.
Ministry will collate the issues raised by people over a month-long Social Media Campaign. All the causes will then be screened by an expert panel comprising the concerned stakeholders and the Union Minister herself. The selected issues will be taken up by the Ministry of Women & Child Development to be addressed at policy level. Not only this, the ‘Top Agents of Change’ will also be duly acknowledged and rewarded by the Ministry.
The campaign can be followed on Facebook & Twitter of @MinistryWCD under the hashtag #WCDAgentsofChange. How to Raise a Cause?
1. Follow us on Facebook & Twitter at @MinistryWCD
2. Look for our Daily #WCDAgentsofChange Post on Facebook/Twitter
3. Post an issue that you want to raise in Comments/Reply on the #WCDAgentsofChange Post on Facebook/Twitter
4. If you want to post a lengthy matter, send an email at wcdagentsofchange@gmail.com
So what are you waiting for ? Join the discussion in here