The switch to remote work has perhaps been the fastest social change in modern times. This has had profound implications for organisations from both a People and a Technology perspective. KPMG’s Conor McCarthy and Richard Franck examine this interrelationship and these implications below.
The case for change
In June 2021, the government again called on employers to consider how they can make remote working a more permanent feature of working life after the pandemic. This call to action coincided with the launch of a new government campaign called ‘Making Remote Work’ which aims to raise awareness of the advice and information available from Government to help workers and employers facilitate more remote and blended working. This campaign follows the government’s publication of Ireland’s first National Remote Work Strategy back in January, which aims to make remote working a permanent option for life after the pandemic. So, clearly the motivation around this switch to the option of remote work is now an enduring one. And what started as an extraordinary “work anywhere” pilot is now considered a permanent reality for many organisations.
As a result, the new reality is a world where we focus on the work, instead of where it happens. There is a profound opportunity for organisations to take the friction out of delivering to the customer while also fulfilling the employee experience. It has set the stage for greater flexibility, increased productivity, and an improved employee proposition. This in turn can also help reduce turnover, while enabling better access to diverse talent, and lower costs—made possible by encouraging and enabling the organisation’s digital transformation.
Organisations need to address these issues:
Today’s reality, for now
Working remotely is straining IT and is demanding more of supporting teams.
Previous conceptions on the work-from-home culture are being challenged
Physical offices are empty - reconfiguration, barriers, staff logistics management and “6-foot offices” are expected
Talent is geographically constrained and the workforce is determining their own virtual environment
Organisations are finding their current service delivery model too rigid or severely lacking
$7+ trillion to be invested in making work more digital by 2023*
Greater leverage of existing and new IT tools and systems to support customer and employee facing services
Lower real estate costs by up to 10,000 per employee per year**
Higher productivity and lower turnover from reduced commute time and better work/life
Enhanced talent accessible anywhere
New networks of employee communities and groups
More resilient service delivery models that can quickly react and flex as business realities change
* Worldwide Semiannual Digital Transformation Spending Guide, 2019, IDC
** Advantages of Agile Work Strategies For Companies, 2020, Global Workplace Analytics
Re-imagine work by re-examining the Value Delivery Model
Existing systems and software often perpetuate a siloed model of engagement and communication that ignored the human element. But value delivery relies on integrated functions operating in concert. To illustrate the Value Delivery Model, consider:
Focus on the work, not where you work
One size does not fit all. Realising today’s opportunities begins with a focus on what people do, what their capabilities are, and how best to enable them. Companies need to:
Design for people and their ways of working, throughout their day and throughout their career; build flexibility into the start and end of day to align to people’s home schedules, and deliver the tools to work on the move.
Understand what people want to achieve when they come together – build an office or virtual team’s capabilities around purpose e.g. workshops or brainstorming sessions.
Enable experiences, with an ecosystem of tools and technologies working together. Treat “employee user experience” with the same care given to “customer journeys”.
A human-centered design approach provides a path to successfully digitally enabling the business. Such an approach encompasses:
Personas: Address multiple persona dimensions and provide a vehicle to understand the key pain points and needs unique to the organisation. Personas can have very different perceptions of the same experience.
Channels: There are multiple engagement channels in which each experience can be perceived. Each channel possesses different underlying pain points and opportunities, as well as culture aspects.
Experiences: Targeted experiences can vary wildly from enterprise-wide experiences to very targeted business processes and journeys..
At KPMG, our approach addresses the full range of underpinnings that enable sustainable, permanent and successful virtual work to support the enterprise’s workforce and growth objectives. Working shoulder to shoulder with you, we lead with a human centric approach to redesign the way work gets done.
Our capabilities include:
- Human Centered Design approach including persona analysis, capability gap assessment and journey and road mapping
- Virtual Work COE strategy and optimisation
- Workforce and employee experience design
- Work placement strategy, design and tax considerations
- Technology ecosystem design including collaboration, automation, digital enablement, security, and technology support model
- Cost optimisation strategy and integration
At KPMG, we understand that organisations must have an empowered workforce and sound operating model to reach their recovery and growth goals. To create a sustainable and resilient operating model requires a holistic, enterprise-wide approach—and a reimagined view on the way your teams work together and serve your customers.
We describe this transformation as “Work anywhere, together.” It’s the new reality of work.
- * Worldwide Semiannual Digital Transformation Spending Guide, 2019, IDC
- ** Advantages of Agile Work Strategies For Companies, 2020, Global Workplace Analytics