A vaccine may be just around the corona-corner – but the earthquake it has brought to workplace culture and practices will go on resonating for years to come.
Because we’ve changed. And that’s true whether you are an employee who’s got used to agile working, or an employer who has learned that business as usual does NOT need to look the same way forever.
Arching over all of the changes that coronavirus has brought to the world of work is the issue of wellness. Workers returning to the office can only be truly productive if they are happy and free of anxiety – and keeping them that way has been a stretch during the crisis.
While the crisis will abate, it’s highly likely that this emphasis on wellbeing will retain a far higher profile than before, when often only lip-service was paid to maintaining good work-life balance and preserving mental health.
As a workplace leader, you’ve tackled returning to the office and you’re working on your #workplace2021 strategy now – and if you want to create a well workplace, there are 5 emerging workplace trends that you need to be proactive on.
2. Mental health
3. Demanding employees
4. Remote and hybrid working
5. Increasing digitalization
A no-brainer right now, as workplaces strain and adapt to meet social distancing and hygiene rules.
The most successful are using their workspace management system to welcome visitors safely and allow staff to book desks and meeting spaces via an app before they arrive at the office.
But even after the corona crisis abates, safety will retain a high profile among a workforce that has learned to be ultra-cautious while returning to the office.
The convenience and effectiveness of using a workspace management system to control access and security processes will be the gift that keeps on giving when it comes to getting people in and out of the facility efficiently.
Tips for returning to the office safely
The OTHER health crisis the world has suffered during Covid, and one that will probably last a lot longer.
In the past few months, workplace leaders have learned the hard way that they need to take better care of workers’ mental health.
The efforts they have made are encouraging. Some have even partnered with wellness technology companies to offer apps that promote mindfulness, meditation and even a healthy diet.
Caring companies will continue to provide wellbeing counselling or webinars – as Adobe do, for instance – creating a far more supportive environment than we’ve seen before in the majority of workplaces.
Retaining and recruiting talent has always been a challenge, but boy – after Covid goes away, it’s going to be a hot topic.
Driving success will involve a lot more than the earlier trend for gimmicky staff-pleasing moves such as ping-pong tables and soft drinks machines.
This time, employees will be asking what the company does for them and the world they live in. Is the organization part of the solution? When times are hard, what actions does it take to help?
Corona ‘villains’ who were seen to exploit the situation or did not protect their staff will not be top picks for skilled and ambitious recruits. Instead, they’ll be looking for organizations with a good reputation for responsibility towards their workers and society.
4.Remote and hybrid working
Not many people have missed the daily commute – and after months and months of home working, the majority in surveys state firmly that they want to carry on with it (at least part of the time).
Companies are eyeing their future workspace needs – once social distancing is no longer needed – carefully. Many are using data from their workspace management systems to support important decisions on their real estate as they head into a hopefully corona-free 2021.
These are the same companies who made the easiest transition to mass home working.
Their workspace scheduling software made it easy for an agile workforce to access collaborative technologies such as video conferencing and book a reassuringly safe desk or meeting space if they did need to come into the office.
Moving ahead, that technology will be even more in demand to support workers who are returning to the office but operating flexibly.
Many people now say their perfect combination for good work-life balance is two or three days a week in the office. This requires an effective way to organize and book the space they need – desk sharing, for example – and if companies reduce their floor-space, this will become even more critical.
The pace of uptake in digital technology has picked up speed during 2020, with companies turning to technologies including AI and collaborative tools.
“We’ve seen two years of digital transformation in two months.” – Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on the impact of Covid19.
It’s excellent news.
Adopted in the right way, with plenty of planning supported by solid workplace data to drive decisions, digitalisation can tie workforces together, make their jobs easier and increase productivity.
These things we know
We don’t know how well the vaccine is going to work, or when it will be delivered to the majority.
But we do know that workplaces and how they are used will be changed forever by this turbulent year, even when everyone is used to returning to the office. Employees who have had a taste of better work-life balance and the wellness it brings will ensure that’s the case.
We also know the situation offers great opportunities for employers in terms of worker wellbeing, productivity and even cost reduction.
And one thing we know absolutely for sure – workspace management technology will underpin their most successful efforts.
Discover how workspace management technology helps when returning to the office: