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How work conditions affect staff

Work conditions that make staff high performing

Twitter new owner Elon Musk’s staff instructions about “long hours” at “high intensity”  have created discussions about efficient work conditions. A new report from marketing and research firm Gartner says “employees who operate in human-centric work models – where they are seen as people, not just resources – are 3.8 times more likely to be high performing.” 

Twitter staffers have posted pictures of themselves using sleeping bags at the office and showing conference rooms turned into bedrooms.

“Human-centric work models encompass three guiding pillars: flexible work experiences, intentional collaboration and empathy-based management”, the Gartner survey says. 

Its global survey comprises more than 400 employees at organisations that have implemented new work models before the end of the pandemic.

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Other benefits of employees operating in human-centric work models, according to Gartner:

  • 3.2 times more likely to enjoy high intent to stay
  • 3.1 times more likely to see low levels of fatigue

“While many organizations have implemented a hybrid work strategy, the focus is still limited to one dimension: flexibility around where employees work,” says Gartner VP Graham Waller. 

“To gain competitive advantage, organizations must go beyond location flexibility and place human beings at the center of work, rather than treating them as secondary components of their work environment.”

Gartner’s survey tested five work approaches associated with location flexibility but only the “flexible-hybrid” model – a mix of on-site and remote work that allows employees some flexibility to choose where they work from – achieved significant talent outcomes, the company says.

Human-centric work design – comprising flexible work experiences, intentional collaboration and empathy-based management – surpassed “flexible-hybrid” in all outcomes. The study found that intentional collaboration increases the likelihood of high employee performance by 2.9 times, compared with just 1.6 times for even the best performing location model.

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“Location-centric work designs are often rigid, which amplifies fatigue, degrades performance and drives employees away,” said Brent Cassell, Gartner VP. “Leading organizations are designing workflows, work rituals and workplaces around holistic human needs – physical, cognitive, emotional – rather than forcing individuals to conform to legacy practices.”

Gartner says business leaders can implement human-centric work design by creating a hybrid work model that focuses on two areas:

  • Accountable Autonomy: Granting employees autonomy over how they do their work, and achieve the desired outcomes, pays dividends in overall performance. Employees who are allowed to decide when they work are 2.3 times more likely to achieve higher performance than employees without autonomy. Autonomy also reduces workers’ fatigue by 1.9 times.
  • Incorporate Employee Perspectives: Employees who were able to provide strong input into their organization’s work design were 2.5 times more likely to achieve high performance and four times more likely to report lower fatigue. HR leaders implementing new work designs must also account for evolving needs and change management.

“Leadership teams who view the post-pandemic work world as an opportunity to redesign how they operate can move their organization to a higher level of performance and stand a chance to win the competition for talent,” said Cassell.


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