IT Visionaries
IT Visionaries
Sep 16, 2021
The New Rituals of Work: Design Leads the Way
Play • 46 min

Despite so many technological advances, the way people worked stayed fairly static for many years. Work has now changed suddenly; there is no doubt about that. Where work was mostly in person, now a lot of work is remote or in a hybrid model. Nobody wanted this change to happen in this way — by being forced to quickly adjust due to a global health crisis. It’s like the whole working world collectively face-planted. No one asks to fall. But with any fall, there is an opportunity to reassess, get back up, and change course. Now, there is a tremendous opportunity to redesign the rituals of work. Ashok Krish is the Global Head of Digital Workplace at Tata Consultancy Services, and he believes we are in a transitional phase of work where new routines and rituals are being established.

“A lot of new rituals of remote work had to be put in place. And I think that is the single biggest culture change that a lot of companies missed; more so than the technology. I think the technology, most companies already had it. They just accelerated the adoption and rollout of it.” 

The entire world is right in the middle of a work culture change. Employees are still learning to work and be productive from a distance. And companies are figuring out how to bring people together despite distance. But there is a way to bridge the divide between a company and it’s employees, wherever they may be physically working. Thoughtful analytics and technological design are the answer, and when applied effectively, they can create new digital norms that foster productivity and employee contentment.    

On this episode of IT Visionaries, Ashok explains how work must be reimagined with these new norms in mind. He details how new rituals must be designed and then incorporated, and he dives into how reshaping the old way of work can actually open up new possibilities and efficiencies within the technology companies already have under the hood. Enjoy the episode!

Main Takeaways

  • Transitioning Work Rituals: Work has changed suddenly from mostly in person to often remote. The old rituals of work no longer apply today. Long, frequent meetings don’t work well remotely. Perhaps they were never really efficient in person either. New rituals must be established for remote work to be successful and for workers to be content.  
  • Valuing Frontline Workers: Frontline workers are immensely valuable. Given the tumult of the last eighteen months, companies have learned to better appreciate their frontline workers. Historically, frontline workers were underserved by IT and had to find their own tech solutions. Now, there is more of a focus on providing frontline workers the IT support they need.
  • New Work Norms: New norms must be established given more work is remote or hybrid now. Technology can be used to increase productivity and contentment in the workforce. Using tech to limit meeting times and messages increases the importance of these activities. It’s essential to get two-way communication going, perhaps especially in high power distance cultures. Interactive town halls, that aren’t too long, can create two-sided communication that connects leaders with their employees. 
  • Creating a Culture of Connection: The challenge with remote work is that we can no longer rely on physical proximity to create connection between people and to identify when people are feeling disconnected. Analytics can be helpful to determine if people are overworked and stressed. Then, HR needs to reach out to establish contact to make sure employees are doing okay.
  • Ritualization of Design: New IT design principles must be established that support today’s work and workers. Ritual can be helpful for many types of work because it establishes an efficient guide on how to efficiently get things done the right way.

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