As we approach the one year mark of this unexpected work-from-home experience, I have been reflecting on the successes and next steps in how we shape the future of work, particularly from how technology has enabled us to do things many of us thought impossible before.
We’ve seen great success in helping employees onboard and collaborate in a virtual environment. We’ve improved the new employee experience overall, including reworking welcome kits, Day 1 IT virtual session, personalized application access onboarding, and made sure that employees are empowered to be productive day one regardless of their location. This includes one of the first moments our employees engage with us as new employees – and it’s important that we set a welcoming tone, even if we can’t do so in a physical environment.
We’ve also emphasized the importance of a greater degree of proactive assistance for all employees, and have seen results, with a 30% reduction in IT tickets per employee last year. Virtual concierge services help drive self-service and facilitate better success, and using NLU based bots with workflow automation has improved self-service help considerably since its launch. In addition, we were able to keep our IT service costs flat to down last year while our company workforce increased by 20% and we increased our IT Services NPS score to over 70.
We have invested in tools that help facilitate better collaboration and to help keep people engaged in a distributed world. We’ve implemented and tested new tools, and we’ve increased our strategic use of already implemented tools that have increased productivity and accessibility no matter the location. The ability for teams to work asynchronously via our tools has been a huge success and allowed people to share ideas in a much more productive way.
One of the most interesting developments that we’ve seen is that working in a more virtual environment has actually allowed us to increase opportunities for people to be involved in events. We’ve seen attendance increase 4-10x for internal events that are virtual, as opposed to in person. Our sales teams have also had more access to potential clients and their leadership in the virtual environment, and have proven that they can be successful in this environment.
As we continue defining what the future of work looks like which decidedly will be a hybrid work environment, there are still some challenges that need to be addressed. Whiteboarding and iterative teamwork (or ‘cooler talk’) is still challenging to accomplish virtually, and we are working to find the best solution for our employees as we look to the future.
When we start to safely and conscientiously reopen our spaces, we need to consider what service desk look like, and how they can be safely and securely run for the people asking for and giving help. I truly believe that this is a moment for us to explore how this experience has challenged our biases around remote work – and has created an opportunity for us to explore new innovations. It’s my belief that a physical help desk is a thing of the past. With virtual service desks, or drop off lockers by floor, we have an opportunity to reimagine how technology works for us and our employees.
Beyond the help desk, we’ve started to explore how technology will enable us long-term in a more flexible, distributed environment. FLEXWORK, with its many layers and programs, will create more opportunities for personalization and flexibility, and technology has a big role to play. Our IT team will provide a single platform that is simple, intuitive and easy to use for all employees – centralizing all facets of FLEXWORK to enable an amazing user experience. From helping new hires select benefits (FLEXBenefits), to helping employees determine learning paths that are personalized to their skills and development plan (FLEXLearn) to helping managers support teams in a distributed environment (FLEX Assist) – it will be a huge step forward.
While the future might feel uncertain – I’m tempted at the possibilities it brings, and excited to work to build something that creates amazing opportunities for us to connect, engage, and create – regardless of where we are in the world.