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!

Gig Economy and HR Compliance

Gig Economy is on the rise with IT skills requiring professionals to work on project for shorter duration.  As reported by Livemint, the IT flexi staffing market in India, worth $3.04 billion in 2016-17, is expected to grow 14-16% annually to become a $5.3 billion industry by 2021, [Source: Indian Staffing Federation Report].

Most of the skills that are turning into jobs were not grouped as a job so far.  Tenured jobs are giving way to gigs.

As experts to the HR Compliance and Audit how would you manage this for an employer? The emerging skill groups do not have a clarity in terms of jobs. They are mostly work-based than designation or even salary-band based roles! Hence, which are the areas critical to Compliance that an employer must care for while hiring the Flexi-Employee?

Would the retirals be managed by the employee? If so, how ? How would the benefits be managed?

Join the discussion in here: Comply4HR