Innovation and flexibility in the hybrid workplace

By Sarfraz Ali, Vice President and Head of EMEA, Smartsheet

Flexible work is not just about location or schedules, it’s about the ability to connect with your team in the most efficient way possible. It’s about finding easy solutions to eliminate silos and enable collaboration with powerful technology exactly when you need it.

The opportunities that technology provides to the workforce has led to a renewed focus on equipping employees with tools that help them be as efficient and effective as possible—from anywhere, at any time. One technology-led solution that businesses are seeing success with is what’s known as a no-code approach.

Innovation is for everyone

No-code refers to tools or a platform that enable employees to build solutions and create applications without the need or ability to write code. It offers an easy-to-use configuration, making it possible for anyone to create and design workflows and systems independent of IT support.

So why does this matter? Because democratising innovation opens the door for businesses to tap into a frequently underused resource: the ideas and experiences of its workforce. In a business environment where innovation is at the top of the agenda, responsibility for it too often sits with a select few. While teams focused on these feats are not inherently bad, siloed innovation can lead to more dysfunction and inefficient internal systems.

Ideally, everyone within the organisation should be responsible and have a say when it comes to innovation. The basis of any innovation is a problem that requires a solution and understanding a problem requires hands-on experience. This is why the majority of the workforce, those who are in the weeds day in and day out, are well placed to tackle them. No-code empowers these employees to bring ideas to life, solving the challenges they face daily and making innovation a business-wide responsibility.

Continuous change creates long-term impact

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that no-code ensures every employee will create an innovative solution or process that will turn your business into a trillion-dollar giant. Innovation isn’t just the big shiny object. Innovation can be new processes that create small, but meaningful efficiencies in how the business runs.

For instance, an employee working at the warehouse might create a better solution to organize the inventory or manage the schedules of other employees rather than the IT department. If these incremental changes continue to happen across an organisation, the marginal gains build upon each other and can create a significant impact.

As such, no-code not only enables workers to be more innovative but also gives organisations an edge over their competition. Empowering employees at every level to create impactful work also benefits their performance, enhancing their engagement with work and overall professional satisfaction.

More innovation, less pressure

Employees empowered by no-code have the freedom to explore and are equipped with the right tools to achieve their goals. However, there are other massive benefits like the decreased workload for the IT department and coders.

By design, no-code has simple-to-use configuration options, minimum jargon, and is extremely easy to learn with little instruction. This gives IT teams the benefit of being less resource-constrained and thinly stretched because they no longer have to invest time into building and maintaining business team applications. That’s not to say that no-code platforms should not be reviewed and approved by the organisation’s IT team, but by empowering a majority of the workforce to build their own solutions via an IT-approved platform, IT can focus on more strategic and business-critical operations.

Less talk, more work

No-code is not just theoretically beneficial but has made a difference in real workplaces. One example is our work with Uber where their use of our no-code solution, WorkApps, brought about a shift in the way their marketing team collaborated. With WorkApps, the team was able to create workspaces specific to the various roles within the firm, that offer everything the team needs in a single location.

The customizable nature of the app appealed to the marketing team at Uber, allowing them to execute more complex programs through a single platform. This covered everything from planning to execution to reporting and eliminate delays caused by using separate management tools. The team can now conduct additional experiments, create better campaigns, and do away with frustration and missed opportunities thanks to the recovered time.

Businesses that adopt a no-code approach increase employee engagement by helping them improve the way they and their teams work. but they also gain from the wealth of knowledge from their employees’ experience that would otherwise go untapped. And in an era where flexible work is now commonplace, bringing about a better work culture and a more fulfilled workforce by giving them the technology they need should become the status quo.

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