As organisations are planning the return to the office, they are faced with many challenges. Employees are greatly split on the idea of returning to the office : some are looking forward to reconnecting in the office and some are still anxious. But further than that, hybrid work has redefined work as we knew it. Beyond the need for social distancing and more frequent cleaning, talents are looking for organisations that will seriously take into account their well-being. Workplace management tools have a key role to play to help organisations rise up to these challenges.
Organisations are approaching the concept of hybrid models in very different ways. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. But the organisations doing it well have made it really easy for their people and use technology to underpin their plan.
Hybrid work: organisations want their employees back in the office
Organisations have made a variety of announcements that say everyone will be back in the office : encouraging the use of branches local to home rather than in a city centre or encouraging to work anywhere that suits. The concepts of these working models are easy to grasp, but actually quite hard to make happen in a post-Covid world.
Accommodating everyone in one place sounds straightforward enough because that’s what was happening before the pandemic. Only now it requires a lot of planning in terms of where desks need to be to manage social distancing. But also planning is central in ensuring high footfall areas are cleaned more often than before.
Planning tools facilitate workspace management, employee autonomy and productivity
In the case of models that use local offices or support a ‘come in when you like’ approach, planning management is important. Nobody wants everyone turning up on the same day. In these examples, using an existing planning tool that’s integrated with a workplace management system helps alleviate the pinch points.
So for example, if organisations can get people to plan and book their intended presence on-site in advance, through a tool they are already using – like a Microsoft or Google calendar – and combine it with space planning, then they can identify peak times. That way organisations can ensure there is an available desk that’s clean for everyone. If people can’t find a space to book, then they know to choose a different day. This gives people control and reassurance on cleaning and distancing. And consequently, it helps them manage their fears about heading into the office.
It can also support productivity and make trips even more worthwhile. When people can see who will be in the office on certain days, they can arrange to go in at the same time. That way collaboration is facilitated and employees can have a face to face catch up.
Workspace management tools are also essential to employee well-being and to retain talents
Workspace management tools are especially helpful for team leaders who can arrange meetings to reconnect with their team members. After such a long period of working at home, team leaders want to see not just where people are physically but where they are mentally. Indeed, checking that they are getting the support they need is more important than ever.
Managing the process in this way helps to get people back into the mindset of coming to the office. It goes even further as they are now switched on to thinking about what they want to achieve when they are there. Rather than consume energy worrying. It’s also proving a vital way to attract and retain the best talents. Because today, people are seeking out employers that are taking their welfare seriously wherever they are.
Facilities Management and HR teams will benefit greatly from workplace management tools’ data
For facilities management this insight is invaluable for planning additional resources like catering and cleaning provision. Employees then know that they will arrive at a clean desk and be able to get a sandwich. These are simple things but vitally important for making a trip to the office a positive one.
Those workplace management tools also provide helpful anonymous data for HR teams who are creating the new hybrid working policies. They can see what is working and make adjustments accordingly. The feedback we’ve had from HR leaders in Europe consistently tells us that employees feel more confident when the organisation responds in real-time to the insight that workplace management tools provide. Employees can see very clearly that the right steps to manage their welfare and comfort are being taken. This in turn builds a stronger affiliation to their employer and boosts productivity.
If you’re looking at how you can help people get back to the office and build loyal teams then talk to us. We can explain how we’ve achieved it for companies managing large teams across Europe.