Wednesday, 18 March 2020 10:41

Workplace transformation a focus for Australia, NZ businesses

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Workplace transformation is top of mind and growing exponentially within Australian and New Zealand businesses, becoming a critical differentiator of better staff wellbeing and business outcomes according to a new report from Indian outsourcing giant Infosys.

Surveying 172 executives from organisations with over US1$ billion in revenue across Australia and New Zealand - and 1300 globally - the report found ANZ businesses to be global leaders in developing workplace transformation strategies, with 94% of local organisations having a strategy in place - higher than their peers in Europe (89%) and the US (71%).

According to Infosys, the business case for workplace transformation is also more evident in Australia and New Zealand than other markets, with the report indicating CEOs are more likely to be involved in the ideation and implementation of the transformation strategy.

And almost 7 in 10 ANZ executives (69%) said their CEOs were the most influential person in this decision-making process, almost double the response from executives in Europe (37%).

With workplace transformations being driven from the top, Infosys says it’s no surprise that businesses in Australia and New Zealand are leading in the development of transformation roadmaps across industries and regions.

Increased productivity the aim, but not the only benefits

The study found that the main reasons for ANZ organisations adopting workplace transformation solutions and technology was to improve productivity (65%), however, executives recognise it can have a positive impact across the business:

  • Increase employment productivity (28%)
  • Increase collaboration across teams (40%)
  • Improve employee experience and wellbeing (38%)
  • Reduce in churn of employees (35%)
  • Help build a competitive advantage (33%)

Infosys says that through the research, it was also evident businesses in ANZ place a high importance on the physical transformation elements of workplace transformation compared to other markets - and specifically, co-working spaces were increasingly popular across industries as well as the implementation of smart building technology and hot desking.

While a vast majority of the ANZ organisations are currently progressing their workplace transformation journeys, only 17% have completed implementation and Infosys says it was clear the executives surveyed were “apprehensive of how best to roll out the concept, potentially attributable to a lack of organisational readiness and maturity levels of their businesses”.

According to Infosys, the biggest apprehension local companies have before initiating workplace transformation is finding the right selection of tools and technology to use, as reported by 72% of respondents. The most popular communications tools used by ANZ firms are Skype (72%), Teams (70%) and WebEx (67%) and the most used collaboration software was Asana (71%), Yammer (66%) and Slack (64%).

Other concerns included the need to establish a team to drive the initiative (59%) and a perceived continuous reliance on external service providers (56%). Getting buy-in from all parts of the organisation was also a significant challenge for almost half (49%), followed by organisational set-up (41%) and to overcome this, 70% of ANZ executives noted they had engaged an external service provider to assist with their workplace transformation.

In New Zealand the Infosys research found that digital transformation is perceived to have the highest impact on workplace transformation, followed by physical and then cultural transformations.

“Interestingly, New Zealand workplaces put a greater emphasis on cultural transformation, with this element built into 74% of New Zealand workplace transformation strategies, compared to 54% in Australia,” says Infosys.

Sixty-eight percent (68%) of firms in New Zealand believe that workplace transformation can enhance employee experience compared to just 25% in Australia, and a further 65% feel it can reduce employee churn rate compared to 28% in Australia. Sixty two percent (62%) also stated that workplace transformation can increase collaboration, whereas, in Australia, just 35% of companies reported the same.

Andrew Groth, SVP and Head of Infosys Australia and New Zealand said, “It’s pleasing to see senior executives from Australian and New Zealand enterprises leading from the front when it comes to workplace transformation”.

“The C-Suite leaders I speak with across all industries recognise the critical importance of not only developing a holistic strategy across digital, physical and cultural elements, but implementing those plans with steadfast leadership.

“This level of seniority invested in transformation projects is leading the way globally, equipping employees with the right skills and focus to create more collaborative, agile, and progressive enterprises, resilient to future challenges.”

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