IIFL | India Infoline News Service | Mumbai | July 17, 2015 |
The Latest research by Steelcase shows that the type of work many companies perform in these countries becoming increasingly more sophisticated, putting a premium on creating workspaces that can help keep valued employees be happy and productive.
As companies in Growth markets move from simple task-based work to higher-value functions like process engineering, the flexibility and adaptability of workspaces is critical. Steelcase’s research shows that offices that facilitate collaboration, provide employees with a sense of personal space and offer a pleasant respite from hectic city life can make a big difference in retaining employees and building a productive and positive company culture. Companies that once saw the developing world as primarily a source of low-cost labor are now shifting to higher-skilled work in places like India and China, while moving more basic operations like call centers to cheaper locales such as the Philippines. Accenture’s India operations, for example, evolved from a call center to more complex activities such as analytics, software development and engineering. These functions require a more evolved skill set and work pattern. Dyadic collaboration for instance is central to more sophisticated operations that focus on process excellence, such as for those who work at Cummins Inc.’s engineering center in Pune, India. Unlike work in a call center, the engineers and analysts work together in small teams, with the supervisor at the same workbench. The Cummins teams often need to be in touch with colleagues around the world, which creates yet another set of workplace requirements to foster connections globally. Further, the teams frequently shrink or grow or change, based on projects, requiring a lot of flexibility in office configurations.
By 2030 India’s middle-class growth is expected to accelerate and reach 475 million. This number consists of mainly India’s Gen Y post 80s and 90s who mix traditional values with a Western outlook. For this younger generation, the work they do is as important as the reputation of the company and the salary paid. They strive for differentiation through education, reputation, brands, technology and especially money.
Additionally seven of the 10 most expensive real estate markets are in Asia. As a result, businesses in growth markets have limited space for large employee populations. Steelcase suggests that enhancing employee wellbeing even in a very high-density workplace begins with offering a “palette” of different types of spaces that can spur creativity and foster teamwork, and a “modular” approach to office design can assure resiliency in the context of constant change. Tata Sky, created a space for its 190 headquarter employees with designated areas for game playing and socializing. Its unusual circular floor plan gave a feeling of openness, with the company’s branding prominently displayed.
Jason Heredia, VP Marketing, Steelcase APAC notes that, “a major hurdle to providing diverse workspaces is density, an overriding fact of life in Asia that often governs not only working conditions inside the office, but also employees’ daily experiences outside of it. The office, can be something of a sanctuary for employees, making it especially important to “humanize the density.”
While there are many market issues that businesses can’t control or even influence, there are many strategies that companies can deploy to thrive in volatile conditions. Steelcase recommends that, the workplace can be designed as a catalyst for change. If created to support the kinds of work that people need to do today and tomorrow, it can foster both efficiency and creativity and inspire people to do their best work, unleash their potential and help their organizations win.- Courtesy