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

Deferred payment at Voonik: HR Compliance

Voonik , an online fashion brand has deferred the payments for its 200 employees by 3 months. As reported by Money Control, Voonik’s CEO and Co-Founder Sujayath Ali said those who will quit the company will get a month’s salary as the severance package. He added the company “is currently one or two months away from EBITDA (earnings before, interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation) profitability.

Subir Chatterjee, Compensation and Benefit Head says, ” Help me to understand this better. The founder deferred the salary to achieve EBIT? So far I know salary is part of operating expenses, don’t they have to book the salary as future liability? Operating Earning comes much before EBIT.”

Pratik Vaidya, MD Karma Management added, “Very few organisation understand the value of human capital & asset rather than treating as Operating expense. Audited Companies that defer salary and other incentive payables & sheepishly roll back in future when their employee leave”.

Subeer Bakshi, CHRO Bajaj Allianz reflects, “Agree that it’s going to be problematic, but it’s a well-intentioned alternative to lay-offs. That’s laudable, and I hope the employees buy in!”

What impact would this have on HR compliances to be maintained in the company. How would the EPF contribution, ESIC if any, other Retirals and tax deduction be managed by the employer in such a situation?

join us for more on this => Comply4HR

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.

Women as driver to growth in the age of driverless cars !

Where does women stand, in the age financial meltdowns, geo-political differences and AI? 1 robot out of 4 factory workers in Maruti. The numbers looks even more interesting in totality with 2400 robots at Manesarand 5000 facility. Are we still competing with men for jobs and seats at Premier Institutes? Where does this lands us especially when women have lesser access to education and finances?

India ranks 87th in Global Gender Report 2016 with highest participation of women in education and health sector. Does this set any target for us?  The report further showed that the highest level of penetration remains in the Education and Health sector with fewer women in Technology and Policy making !

With equal participation we can add upto 28 trillion by 2025 which is equal to a combination of US & China’s economy . So what do we need to build this equality ? What are the building blocks that can affect growth ? Law and order , financial independence and education?

These are few laws worldwide that instils sexism so deep that imagining equality remains light years away! When we restrict women legally how does it impact her participation socially rather financially?

 

World Economic Forum reports women remain unpaid for 50% of her productive time at work. How does this add up to her pay?

Global gender index shows Iceland, Finland and Norway tops the chart and not the leading economies! Why is it so? Is it the access to education and policies at work that makes it happen? Few days back when Maternity Benefit act was amended in India, we had people worrying about women no longer being hired. Norway offers 44 weeks of maternity leave. No wonder they have 47% of women participation in Public sector and 26% in the private sector! When we have family friendly policies at work, we are no longer forcing a women to choose between family and work

This tweet sums up the support , policies, access to education and finances that we need! Here we have an young woman as a pilot to Air India taking the same official commute with her mother who works as an air hostess! This organisation isn’t a nimble-foot startup. It is not a super funded private company with loads of money to spend. Yet, that’s how strongly they have been balancing diversity.

40 economies that participated in Global Entrepreneurship monitor reports women Entrepreneurship rate rose by 13% whereas it was 5% for males. However in India , the perceived opportunity for women is 41% compared to their male counterparts. Anusha, who celebrated her 25th Birthday recently pitched her second startup to me. And she is not in Bangalore or Mumbai but in Vishakhapatnam. Her first startup is running successfully in association with Andhra Pradesh Government. According Deloitte report, Millennial women are bridging the gender pay gap. Are we planning anything to bridge the financial gap for the ageing women workforce too?

Where does the empowerment needs to happen? Anuja Shukla, head of Google for entrepreneur runs a project on her on own where she gets girls from age 8-15 to code. Revathy Roy , founder Hey Didi , formerly Vira Cabs, have trained more than 10000 women from socially backward classes to drive. She created employment for them through her startup. She empowered them to own their vehicles and earn out it, offering loans from banks with no collateral. Urvashi Neogi runs her profitable Event Management firm, Biz Integration with her Geographically based team. She doesn’t need a 9-to-5 at an office with face time from her team members.

Here’s a research by Adobe on Future of Work which says, future lies in collaboration and diversity of skills. So what does this imply? In the age where commitment to the work and the speed of delivery remain the only measure at work, do we still need the archaical work design? Would the jobs of tomorrow offer women more potential to deliver? Will the organisations of tomorrow have the bandwidth to build the leaders of tomorrow irrespective of gender?

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. This have been re-blogged from nabomita.com

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+