How to Create a More Frictionless Workplace Experience

Angela Kambouris

In an era defined by the immediacy and gratifying experiences, harmful friction can play out in the office amplifying workplace chaos, impacting productivity and culture. Friction within the workspace can contribute to an unhealthy work culture of distraction and stress. Too much resistance can lead to impacting profits, performance, and happiness. 

Frictionless technology can remove those little frustrations that can keep people from being productive. Companies can have the most beautiful open environments, but without the right and simple tools for people, their role can become painful and retaining staff can be challenging.

The notion of creating a frictionless workplace is in high demand. Work environments are seeking smart technologies and human-centered cultures. How a company calibrates solutions to workplace needs will be increasingly crucial to future management. The ultimate questions to ask are:

  • How can we create a better workplace by eliminating as many friction points as possible?
  • How do you get all the elements to work together to ensure the best possible workplace experience?

Some friction can be deemed an intrinsic motivator and for others, can encourage people to collaborate, and be challenged, resulting in growth opportunities. 

Here are 8 tips to help you create a more frictionless workplace experience, resulting in better employee morale and company culture:

1. Integrate the Right Technology

One survey reported that 59% of employees at organizations with outdated workplace technology said negative feelings towards their employer. Technology is a resource. How often do you hear people complain about how long it can take to get connected to a conference call? With Artificial Intelligence developments, employees can spend less time on technological tasks and more time in delivering quality. 

Frictionless technology can be mobile, cloud-based, secure, and efficient. More than that, it is updated in real-time. To have truly integrated technology, different disciplines must work together to design and execute the hi-tech design. This is a true collaboration where the client is at the center. 

2. Create Inclusive Environments

Truly inclusive environments require much more than simply hiring people from diverse backgrounds. Companies must think differently about how they approach diversity and inclusion to create safe work environments that reflect culture and values and allow people to bring their best selves to work. Creating a sense of belonging starts by embedding the company values into everything you do. 

Whether it be designing a space that provides gender-neutral toilets, flexible furniture solutions or a specialized induction process for hearing impaired users, the company's focus is to remove as many barriers as possible to foster an inclusive environment. This can be extended to co-deliver projects and hosting virtual reality games. The critical ingredient is to ensure that no matter what the company develops, be in alignment with the values you share. 

3. Focus on the Human Factor

When creating a frictionless workspace, ask your people. The best way to represent the different needs and experiences of others is to ask those people themselves. Through conversations, companies can explore such things as lighting and sound levels across the office to support different ways people can clear their minds and seek feedback on how to best use the workspace. When it comes to for instance wheelchair access, develop the floor plans with the intention of people in chairs passing through the office continuing their conversations.

Forwards thinking companies will ask why instead of why not. There is a plethora of communication technologies, apps, and platforms. Companies with a purposeful and conscious strategy will think through the human factor and ask if a communication tool may cause unintended harm. 

As a leader in the company, identify and think about what points of friction can be eliminated in the workplace. Initiate a conversation with your people with these four questions:

  1. What are the most common transactions during an employee’s lifecycle?
  2. For each transaction, what are the friction points that slow down the process?
  3. Which of those steps can be removed?
  4. How can you automate the steps?

4. Embrace Digital Innovation

The nature and feeling of work are changing. Workplaces gain flexible communication by providing ease of contact, regardless of time or location. The efficiencies are tremendous; however, they can also lead to distraction and blur the lines between work and home life.

Remote work, flexible hours, job-sharing are more common. When it comes to recruiting talent, workplace review websites like Glassdoor make flexibility a competitive edge. Smartphones, file-sharing, cloud computing, have created opportunities to work remotely, integrate freelance workforce and scale up and down without incurring the full costs. Freelancers can be integrated into projects and workflows, and teams can be assembled quicker. 

5. Ask the Right Questions

The best technology can be implemented within the workplace but if people do not understand its value, they will never use it. Companies must ask critical questions to determine if the technology is the right fit.

  • What do your employees need right now?
  • What are the current challenges that people experience with technology?
  • Does the company need to upgrade their current servers or wireless network to make the new technology work?
  • Is the new technology user-friendly?
  • Will the new technology integrate current technology implemented within the workplace?

6. Practice Frictionless Communication

In a world full of distractions from social media, email and workplace chat-apps, to open plan office designs, the focus can be increasingly difficult. People can feel constant pressure to respond to every communication at all hours, resulting in burnout. Some companies have implemented bans on emails out of hours to remove the friction.

Daimler performed an auto-delete function on emails sent to workers while on holidays. To reduce the ever-increasing need to swipe away emails even when you go to the bathroom or dashing between meetings, companies must invest in education about how people interact with technology. 

7. Encourage Unplugging

A rested workforce is a dynamic workforce. The ability to focus is essential to value-creating work. More careful attention to office design, distinguishing between open, noisy spaces and closed environments may support workers who are sensitive to distraction. When staff are always plugged in and exposed to other people’s communications can cause burnout, lowering creativity and energy.

8. Provide Opportunities to Grow

When there is an emotional charge in the workspace and stress levels begin to skyrocket, even the smallest workplace friction can seem like towering boulders. What the team is experiencing is not a problem; it is an opportunity to hit the pause button, reflect and refine. There is always a next time and leaders must attempt to bring some lightness in every situation. By bringing perspective to a job, it can quickly resolve and lighten an emotionally charged room.

Becoming a Forward-Facing Company

There is no one-size-fits-all model for how fast companies move towards a frictionless workspace. The most crucial step is to listen to your people and make regular adjustments. When it comes to a frictionless environment, it demands a mindset of awareness and openness. Flexibility allows companies to change and adapt as people and businesses evolve. People are unique, and so are their needs, styles and preferences. 

When designing a workspace that fosters inclusion, creating flexibility in the design for the future as over time, your company will evolve and how you use the space in different ways may change. The game-changer is how you continue to learn, reflect and re-purpose. A culture of adoption makes the change work.

Are you interested in making your workplace more efficient? Check out what Eden’s Workplace Management Platform can do for your office.

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