If the pandemic is to have a positive and lasting legacy, then it is that there should be a deeper focus on wellbeing and fostering the right environment for improved employee engagement.
Author Simon Sinek has a great quote about employee engagement:
“When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.”
Sinek’s quote throws into sharp relief important strands of wellbeing – that of the psychological wellbeing and motivation of employees.
Employee wellbeing needs to be viewed holistically. In the long term workplace leaders need to create engaging and stimulating environments where their staff can thrive – even if these environments are no longer confined to the office itself.
A cultural change is needed
Employers need to recognise that their actions may be having negative impacts on their employees’ health and lack of productivity.
Another great quote from Sinek:
“There is a difference between giving directions and giving direction.”
The role of leaders should be more about coaching to get the best out of their staff than setting and chasing unrealistic deadlines which ultimately leads to a toxic work environment, reduced productivity due to absenteeism and a lack of employee engagement.
The role of technology
One way of keeping staff engaged and helping to improve their wellbeing is through technology.
Aside from the obvious benefits of technology in terms of utility and efficiency, there is a significant benefit in providing staff with great digital experiences in the enterprise which inspire them to create and collaborate.
Here are five ways that technology can help the return to work:
1) An agile mobile first approach
With the drive towards hybrid and agile working, there is a greater need for workers to only some days of the week at the office.
Some face-to-face interaction is important for their sense of belonging and fosters collaboration while also respecting their work life balance.
A mobile booking app to book desks and meeting rooms offers workers an easy, convenient and empowering way to manage their time in the office. They get a great digital experience and control of their time.
They want to feel safe when they are outside the home. The mobile booking app has a highly visual and accurate floorplan module which shows immediately which desks are safe to book as the surrounding desks are blocked out for social distancing purposes.
Using the app, they are reassured that the office is going to be safe, they feel engaged as the company is taking care of them and the risk of infection is lowered.
There is a time for quiet uninterrupted work away from the stressors in the office and equally there is a time to meet and exchange ideas face to face and by screen or, increasingly, both.
Thanks to meeting room booking software it is a simple process to book a meeting room with catering and AV as well as booking time in your colleagues’ diary for a video conference even across time zones and countries. The software will also manage the meeting agendas as it is fully integrated with Outlook.
By the same token, they can also use the software to book a desk for some quiet reflective time to complete their urgent projects with no stressful interruptions. Planning out a whole day with the requisite levels of engagement is easy.
No one is an island and as staff return to work, the office is going to become again a central meeting point for clients and suppliers. Visitor management software is necessary to make sure that any visitors meet stringent health requirements with robust processes to ensure that any potential positive cases cannot enter the building. Taking these measures is great for employees’ peace of mind as well as giving your health and safety team all the data they need to make proactive decisions.
With cleanliness being uppermost in staff’s minds, the future of the workplace is shiny and touch free.
Meeting room software and desk booking systems now have extended cleaning and set up times built into each booking and for added peace of mind checking in and out can be achieved using technology such as desk panels, QR codes and RFID readers.
The concept of no touch is extended further with the deployment of software taking place fully in the cloud – staff never have to share their personal devices to install applications. Related features such as single sign on ensure that staff only ever need to remember one password for all work-related apps.
As the traditional 9 to 5 evolves towards remote and hybrid working it is imperative that leaders are culturally ready as well as providing workers when they return to the office with the technology they need to be productive and to navigate this changing landscape.
By recognizing that wellbeing, engagement and trust are key to productivity organizations will create happy workers and will enjoy a competitive advantage.
This change is happening right now – check out our Workplace Leader’s Handbook to discover how agile working is shaping occupancy and technology decisions for many organizations.