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What 5 key changes does return to the workplace need to accommodate?
- The home working revolution
- Growing collaboration
- New technologies
- A reduced office footprint
- Employee demands, perspectives and wellness
The home working revolution
Covid19 has shown that employees can work just as productively from home as they can from the office.
Firms including Google have already suggested that some workers may NEVER return to the office, and others are likely to embrace remote working or a hybrid approach split between office and home.
This hybrid approach is popular among knowledge workers. A recent Workplace Transformation study of over 9000 workers by Slack found that 72% of workers preferred the flexibility of choosing where they worked.
The traditional office is far from finished – but it’s not going to be the only game in town. As an employer, you need to think about how you can attract and engage this workforce.
The drive to remote and hybrid working has seen advances in virtual technology, and the lines between virtual and physical are becoming increasingly blurred.
Microsoft have even developed in-room devices which are completely touch free with meeting attendees only needing to touch their own devices to share files.
Workplace leaders will be working hard in 2021 and beyond to refine this blended collaboration, and it’s worth the effort – companies that foster working together perform up to 5 times better than companies that don’t.
One accelerating technological trend in #workplace2021 will be integration, as consumers demand more from their devices and software.
Big names such as Samsung, Google and Microsoft are actively collaborating and sharing their expertise to deliver ever more exciting digital experiences.
With this flexibility comes the need to offer more mobile devices to navigate the digital workplace – speeding up essential remote processes such as video calling or email, and helping people organize their day.
Mobile devices are also revolutionizing the use of desks, which can now be booked simply via an app. The same app can locate and reserve Teams, Zoom and Skype enabled meeting rooms quickly, making the most of the rapidly-evolving collaboration technologies.
A reduced office footprint
While many worked at home during the pandemic, offices still needed all their space because of the need to accommodate social distancing.
But a survey of the UK Institute of Directors in October 2020 showed that more than half of company bosses are planning to cut back office space as homeworking continues.
It’s a cost-saver, no doubt – but not if it becomes counter-productive. Offices provide space for the lifeblood of any organization – collaboration, human contact, culture – and companies will need to plan their space carefully to ensure maximum utilization and minimum disruption to staff and operations.
Again, agile working software will have a huge part to play in supporting the new real estate plan.
Employee demands, perspectives and wellness
Wellness is set to remain at the top of the business agenda for #workplace2021.
Happy, healthy workers are productive, take fewer sick days and tend to stay in jobs longer. Yet many organizations previously paid lip-service to the concept of a good work-life balance.
They’ll have to do better as the return to the office takes place. Studies show that people appreciate being trusted – over three-quarters who say their boss doesn’t trust them also say they will look for a new job within months.
That’s dire news for workplace leaders looking to retain and grow talent. Because recruitment and training are costly and disruptive, it pays to create conditions that keep staff comfortable, healthy and loyal.
What will deliver the best outcomes for staff and employers return to the office in 2021?
The situation is still shaping up and many unknowns are still in play – the length of time it will take to vaccinate everyone, for instance.
But although planning ahead now might seem like building on sand, there are elements you can consider now – together with the reliable workspace data that your workplace technology will have captured before and during the crisis.
We’ve looked to our own international client base and other organizations for examples of best practice in operation.Discover More