By Lax Gopisetty, Vice President, Global Practice Head for Microsoft Business Applications & Digital Workplace Services, Infosys
According to a recent report by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), India’s working age population is set to increase by more than 100 million people over this decade. The median age of the Indian population is 28.7 years; nearly 66 per cent of the total population being below the age of 35.
As a result, most workplaces will see more younger people walking in through their doors than ever before. However, the younger workforce also brings with it different expectations.
According to the PwC India Workforce Hopes & Fears Survey 2022, 70 per cent believed where they worked was extremely or every important. Similarly, 79 per cent said it was extremely or very important for them to find their job fulfilling. And 81 per cent believed being able to be who they were at the workplace was extremely or every important.
Unfortunately, most businesses fail to recognise the hopes and aspirations of the young. In the next ten years majority of the workforce is likely to be below 30 years and people who are born after 2000s.
Several enterprises continue to think old-school style and follow the top-down approach of working – a person in a cabin decides the policy for the entire business.
Innovation at the workplace is how businesses stay ahead
LIC, for instance, has been a pioneer in leveraging Information Technology for policy servicing and business operations. Microprocessors-based computers were being used as early as 1964. Branch and Divisional Offices were also equipped with computers in 1980s for Back Office operations.
Tata Steel is yet another great example of innovation at the workplace. At a time when a 12-hour workday was a legal requirement in Great Britain, Tata Steel introduced an eight-hour workday in 1912. It also pioneered several labour-welfare benefits such as medical aid, leave with pay, workers’ provident fund scheme, maternity benefits, and more before any other organisation.
The future of workplace: What does it look like?
Many perceive the future of the workplace being a space where work and life come together. India’s metropolises are already home to several such spaces where shopping malls, cinema halls, residential apartments and office buildings co-exist in a single complex.
The workplace of the future, however, is one that goes beyond physical spaces. Such a workplace uses hyper-personalisation to create personalised experiences for its employees. It recognises the need to modernise and stay relevant because it acknowledges the link between employee well-being and the success of a business.
Indeed, when you build a workplace around the latest and best business practices, you are also boosting employee agility because such workplaces tend to be built around modern digital tools and cutting-edge workplace experience strategies.
Inversion of the workplace innovation cycle
History has several examples of how innovation was initially funded by public enterprises and then adopted by private enterprises before trickling down to end users (i.e., employees). LIC and Tata Steel are a shining example of this.
Today, that process has been turned on its head. It is the employees that are driving innovation at the workplace. Whether it is paternity leave, equal rights for LGBTQIA+ partners, or even hybrid workplace, all these policies are being driven because employees seek these while looking to work for a company.
Employees, especially most of the younger ones, are very clear in what they want from their employer. And businesses will be remiss if they disregard their needs and aspirations. Any enterprise that doesn’t cater to its employees, specifically the younger ones, will find themselves being left behind.
How to build a workplace for tomorrow
- Design your workplaces as you would a store for a customer
Some of the best places to work – like Google and Apple – have sought to treat their employees as they would their customers. This has resulted in greater employee engagement, better productivity, even innovation, and a sense of pride.
- Align your workplace design to organisational purpose
While employees are crucial to a business, it is important to align your workplace design with organisational purpose. While most businesses may be able to function from decentralised locations, certain functions may require employees to come to offices or collaborate more closely than in other roles. In which case you must…
- Create an environment that reflects your overall workplace strategy
This could mean creating a workspace that inspires people to travel there and/or reimagine your facilities with smart equipment that could fuel effective collaboration from remote locations.
At Infosys, we are actively shaping the evolving future of work for our employees to empowering more people to meaningfully participate in the digital future; from implementing sustainability in all our campuses, to shaping carbon offset projects in the community; and by retaining the trust of all stakeholders through sound corporate governance. We recognise that the modern, inclusive workplace has the potential to drive job satisfaction among employees. And, as we know, happy employees also tend to be loyal employees.