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The art of planning for your best hybrid workplace

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We are entering a brave new world of work – hybrid working is already proving transformative. So moving from a reactive to a proactive approach is now the order of the day for any organization that wants to get ahead.

It’s quite an art to get it right. That’s because the changes you make need to be wide-reaching, nuanced and encompassing culture, design and technology.

Hybrid is far from a destination – we see it as a journey. We suggest the steps which you can take to kick start your planning for this journey and the technology to help you make the hybrid workplace a success.

Learn to trust

A radical change in working practices requires a major rejection of one aspect of old-school thinking – namely that staff need to be micro-managed and that if they are not physically visible to management then they must be slacking off.

Creating a culture of trust in the workplace is pivotal to the success of hybrid working.

Adopt new leadership styles

Management needs to focus more on outcomes. The cultural shift needs to be away from managing activity to the evaluating the quality of the final product.

Leaders need to be empathetic and adaptive. Managers need to strike a balance between overworking or underutilizing remote workers by optimizing their work environment, including tools and technology, flexible schedules and steady streams of work. Policies need to be put in place for what work looks like.

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Create a flexible environment

The world of work needs to subtly change from being office-centric to human-centric – and it needs to do it fast! As an article in the Financial Times suggests, weakening social ties in the workplace could make the “Great Resignation” a permanent facet of professional life. To be a compelling option to retain staff, the office needs to provide extra stimuli such as mentoring and training opportunities, even if that means bringing external mentors.

Flexibility and adaptability need to be baked into the new office environment with leaders recognising the fact that many staff now value their time at home. Time spent working there should no longer be seen as a “perk”.

Create a great digital experience

While hybrid working is driven by the availability of mobile technology, you need to provide a great collaborative experience in the office too.

Investment in digital signage, Teams/Zoom enabled rooms and state of the art AV equipment will ensure a great meeting experience.

The use of occupancy sensor technology, desk and room booking software and mobile apps plays an essential role in navigating the hybrid workplace.

How technology empowers the hybrid workplace

Technology helps deliver a great hybrid working environment in many ways:

1. Improved space utilization – a key part of the planning process is being able to measure actual space usage and occupancy levels.

Sensor technology makes measuring how staff interact with your building an automated process and with integration to digital signage creates a safe and easy desk check-in/out process.

Armed with real-time data, leaders can easily adapt their space to create a tailored hybrid approach based on actual demand.

2. Enhanced desk booking – there’s an app for that. Staff can locate and book their desks at any time of the day or night and with intuitive floorplan-based booking and hybrid-specific features such as colleague search they can ensure that every minute spent in the office is productive.

Built-in business rules ensure that “ghost bookings” become a thing of the past as

3. Safety-first – touch-free checking in/out of desks using QR codes, RFID, sensors or even in-app helps to keep staff safe.

Built-in cleaning times pre and post check in/out makes them doubly safe and technology such as desk panels alerts staff to the status of their desk – available, in use or being cleaned.

4. Video conference scheduling – where staff may have once lived in Outlook they are now spending significantly more time on Teams or Zoom.

Using the Rendezvous app it is easy to set up a video conference across multiple locations and time zones. Integration with Teams/Zoom enabled rooms and Cisco end/start points insures that every meeting starts and ends on time – automatically. Further integration with Outlook insures that everyone is kept up to speed on meeting schedules.

5. Reverse hoteling – fixed desks can be converted into available hot desks when their users are away so they do not stand empty. With desk space in higher demand this is a great feature to improve space utilization.

6. Visitor management – you still need to provide an efficient visitor and staff experience. Visitor management technology ensures an efficient flow of people through reception, enhanced security, safety and a great visitor experience.

Conclusion

Planning for the hybrid workplace is a subtle art. As hybrid working becomes embedded – no longer a perk for the chosen few – leaders need to make the necessary cultural shifts required to make it a success.

With working from home providing many advantages and attractions for staff, leaders need to step in and create an office experience that will stimulate, empower, educate and enthuse them.

Technology can aid in this by measuring usage and predicting future space needs while providing a great digital booking experience for remote staff.

Watch our recent video to discover how our technology can help you make a successful hybrid workplace happen.