Ouch – we’re already nearly half-way through 2023, and many workplace leaders are STILL struggling to realign their strategies to provide the most seamless experience for their employees.
Managers are balancing the need for optimum space utilization needs against creating the all-important employee experience that will keep workers happy, healthy and keen to come to the office when needed.
It can seem like a big headache – and there’s more to come as the transformation of work continues. So to give you a head start on the rest of the year, here are 5 important trends shaping the workplace.
For more tips, check out our guide to combining great space utilization with great employee experience – but before you go, check out these trends:
Trend 1: The office is not ready to lie down and die – yet.
It’s true that demands and expectations have changed dramatically, powered by pandemic necessity initially and by employee behaviours since. Mondays and Fridays have become quiet times at the office, generally, and many cite the availability of flexible working as a key job motivator.
However, research by office design company Steelcase for its Beyond Hybrid report shows that 70% of employees globally are working three days or more in the office.
This may vary by age and experience; Gen Z workers – who benefit most from mentoring – appear the keenest to be in a shared workplace.
But what employees find when they make the commute has changed radically. In the last year along, there has been a 15% drop in assigned spaces, compared to the 88% of people who had their own dedicated workstation pre-Covid.
The most successful workplaces are providing desk booking technology with colleague search to create a frictionless experience when people do make the journey into the office – no hunting for somewhere to sit, or finding their teammates.
Trend 2: Digital democracy is coming to a workplace near you.
Once a privilege for just sections of the workforce, digital technology is already being made available to a wider cross-section of staff.
By 2027, organizations that promote digital dexterity enablement for both managers and employees will have stronger revenue growth year over year than those that have not. (Gartner Predicts: Build the Digital Day of Tomorrow)
The tools of digital dexterity include:
- Visit planning – Desk and room booking, touch-free check-in and out, smart visitor devices eg badge printing, previsit processes
- Coordination – Visible in-office schedules, colleague location, support for employees coordinating in-office days with each other
- Virtual assistance – Alerts, confirmation and reminders for space reservations, meetings
- Amenities Reserving parking, social spaces, ordering lunch/catering, see in-office events
- Digital dexterity: Download the guide.
Trend 3: The enhanced workplace experience will remain the big driver.
Hybrid work has transformed the resource scheduling applications market into the workplace experience (WEX) application market as needs such as orchestration and hospitality have emerged.
Improving the employee workplace experience is the No. 1 priority for 67% of corporate real estate leaders who are increasingly working with the digital workplace team to optimize the hybrid experience. (Gartner Market Guide for Workplace Experience Applications, January 2023).
Room scheduling and desk booking applications are commoditized in the marketplace, and buyers now want services for holistic workplace experiences with emerging tech capabilities including:
- Visit planning: Allowing employees to select in-office days, employee registration, preregistration, smart visitor devices like badge printers/cameras, tracking visitors on-site
- Coordination: Allowing managers to create in-office schedules ‘on-behalf-of’, allowing employees/managers to see others’ in-office schedules and co- ordinate days in the office together
- Virtual assistance: Alerts, confirmation and reminders for space reservations, machine learning
- Amenities: Reserving parking, social spaces, ordering lunch, seeing in-office events
Trend 4: Meeting space use will continue to change.
There’s been a strong trend for several years for companies to rethink their use of meeting space, thanks to a combination of changing work styles and the rising cost of real estate.
For instance, the formal boardroom – once kept for just a few special occasions – has been repurposed to a more flexible space for collaboration and even as a venue for internal and external events.
Today, over half of all meetings (56%) take place on video (Beyond Hybrid). Meeting scheduling technology has made it a quick process for employees to set up meetings combining virtual and in-person attendees, booking space in multiple locations and keeping all guests informed via a mobile app.
The changing use of meeting space is likely to continue to evolve. By 2025, more than 65% of workers worldwide will avoid joining hybrid meetings from a formal conference room, instead choosing to join meetings digitally from their own desk or office. (Gartner)
Trend 5: Collaboration is where the smart money is
Today’s workers talk about whether their office ‘earns the commute’ – in other words, gives them the collaborative, supportive experience that promotes healthy and happy working.
Organizations are creating ‘collaborative neighborhood’s that provide the social connection that spark innovation. Workplace leaders are relying on technology to maintain the organization and good communications necessary for a hybrid working environment to succeed – Gallup reports that low engagement costs the global economy as much as $7.8 trillion.
This trend is guaranteed to continue because it pays dividends in creativity and talent retention. Gartner predicts that by 2025, corporate workspace allocation will flip from 70% individual workstations and 30% collaborative space to 30% individual and 70% collaborative space (Gartner)
Discover practical tips to make sure your hybrid workplace earns the commute
The conclusion now needs to read:
These trends and others are now being debated in global forums, with workplace leaders looking for best practice examples to help them combine a great employee experience with optimum space utilization.
At the recent Crestron Modern Work Seminar in Madrid, a gathering of workplace experts and influencers including NFS CEO Luis De Souza examined real-life success stories and offer tips and advice on the way forward.
He said: “After the extraordinary upheaval in the industry caused by the pandemic, global workplaces are now taking new shapes and forms.
At the summit, I joined some of the most forward-thinking people in the field – it’s our continuing aim to help leaders set out the vision and create plans to take their staff on the journey.”