Carnival and Disney are leveraging technology to delight their customers.
A simple wristband makes it possible for the Magic Kingdom to grant you access to rides, pay for food and other goodies, unlock your hotel room, enjoy a personal hello from Goofy or a birthday song from Mickey, and deliver pictures you didn't even know you posed for (HBR).
The (optional) medallion Carnival gives you is your key to not just your rooms, but get drinks and food delivered to wherever you happen to be, the ability to find and track your onboard friends, and of course, easily lose some money in the casino. It helps the cruise line account for people in an emergency, track their workers, schedule maid service when you leave your room, and much more.
Privacy issues abound, but what can we in workplace design learn from these and other consumer pioneers?
"The value of horizontal teamwork is widely recognized. Employees who can reach outside their silos to find colleagues with complementary expertise learn more, sell more, and gain skills faster."
The article points to a variety of research on the importance of cross-functional teams and acknowledges how difficult creating those connections can be. It suggests 4 strategies for success:
1) Develop and use cultural brokers, people inside the organization who have experience in multiple sectors and functions and can bridge the gap and solidify connections
2) Teach people to ask (the right) questions and challenge conceived notions about one another
3) Get people to see the world through one another's eyes
4) Broaden your employees' vision by creating opportunities for them to widen their horizons both internally and externally
Employees are eager to embrace retraining—and companies need to seize this as a competitive opportunity.
It would be impossible to do justice to this article in a few paragraphs but here are the key takeaways:
- Six categories of disruption of the future of work:
- Accelerating Technological Change
- Growing Demand for Skills
- Changing Employee Expectations
- Shifting Labor Demographics
- Transitioning Work Models
- Evolving Business Environment
- Employees are better than leaders at focusing on what these disruptors will mean to them
- Employees are eager for re-skilling. They feel it's their responsibility, not their employers or the governments. Still they're worried about how.
- Employers think otherwise. They think employees are resistant.
- Employees are worried about freelancers and contractors taking their jobs
"Employees exposed to a workplace wellness program reported significantly greater rates of some positive health behaviors compared with those who were not exposed, but there were no significant effects on clinical measures of health, health care spending and utilization, or employment outcomes after 18 months."
By all reports the research behind the latest report that workplace wellness programs don't work is to be admired. But while I agree the research was conducted properly, it, like so many similar studies fails to account for the impact of wellness on productivity. Healthcare costs are minuscule compared to the productivity lost to presenteeism (being at work, but not performing your best) and absenteeism. Until we start measuring that, we won't know whether our interventions are worth the bother.
We have never been subject to more workplace noise and distraction than we are now, but the challenges are more complex than they first appear
Workplace Insight just produced an excellent round-up of research on the impact of noise on human performance. If you follow the topic, there won't be any big surprises, but it's great to have the data all in one place. Here's some of the research cited in the report:
- The noise problem is getting worse
- 60% of work is individual, not collaborative
- A third of employees say the have to leave the building to focus
- 63% of employees say they don't have access to quiet space
- 40% of executives understand the negative impact of noise on productivity, but only 6% mitigate it
- 75% of the noise problem is subjective
- Only 25% of the noise problem relates to its volume
- Even low levels of noice can reduce cognitive performance by 30%
- Some noise is good for creativity