In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, finding a flow to get employees back in the office has proved difficult. Employers and employees just don’t seem to be in sync on the matter. Nearly 50% of business leaders say they have or are planning on having their workers back in the office full-time this year, according to research from Microsoft. Yet in this same report, 52% of workers also report that they are considering switching to a remote or hybrid workplace.
Clearly, flexibility is the priority for employees right now, putting business leaders in a tough spot. Elise Freedman, a workforce transformation leader at consulting firm Korn Ferry, says that “companies who push for a full return-to-office could see serious ramifications if they don’t offer their employees the kind of flexibility and environment they’re asking for… they’ll just leave.”
Office safety, workplace flexibility, company culture—so many elements of these key work concepts have changed in the past few years. Employees are seeking businesses that embrace the changing landscape of workplace expectations. Fortunately, with the right tools in hand, you can make the return-to-work process a breeze and meet employee standards. How can you implement technology to upgrade your workplace for the modern era?
1. Ensure Employee Peace of Mind With Safe Return-to-Office Protocols
Many an employer planning their return-to-work strategy has run into the safety protocol roadblock. While we’ve hopefully passed the worst of it, we are still very much in a pandemic. With new variants popping up at any moment, Covid-19 has spurred a new appreciation for (and challenges around) health and safety regulations. Thankfully, strategically-chosen tech can help you get around these health hurdles in the workplace.
There is a range of simple solutions on the market that can help you meet heightened health standards. For example, consider thermal cameras at business entrances to track employee temperatures. Or perhaps you might launch a digital application to log employee vaccination statuses, so everyone has the peace of mind they need to come into the office. Smarten Spaces combines a number of these solutions, from vaccination status and daily temperature checks to contactless visitor management and digital contact tracing efforts.
Employees expect that, if they come into the office, their employer will at minimum provide a safe work environment. The right software can help you manage and maintain the safety of these environments simply and effectively.
2. Maintain Employee Engagement With Communication Platforms
You may have mapped out an incredibly detailed 20-step plan leading up to return-to-work day. But if you fail to keep your team up to date, what was the point?
One massive mistake business owners make when planning their back-to-office strategies is not communicating the plan to their employees. The more information you provide your team with, the more comfortable they’ll feel returning to work. As a business leader, you need to engage with your workers and have proactive conversations about their expectations. Leverage all the employee insights you can gather to make the transition smoother.
Remember These Important Pointers When Communicating Your Return-to-Office Plan
- Accommodate the individual. It’s important to speak with every employee individually to fully understand their concerns about re-entering the workplace. Simply sending out a broad company statement can make some employees feel unheard.
- Communicate clearly why it matters. “It’s for the culture” is not reason enough to convince workers to come back to the office. Business leaders must clearly articulate why periodic in-person time is just as important as remote work for the business’s future. Consider adapting the workload to accommodate a hybrid model: a few days of in-office work for specific tasks, and at-home days for other responsibilities.
- Don’t be so concrete. With the potential of a new Covid-19 variant ever lurking around the corner, many business owners have learned the need for flexible return-to-office plans. It’s important to communicate how you plan on adapting as conditions change.
3. Manage Space Better By Making Everything Bookable
The past two years have seen property managers and business executives pivoting on the fly to keep up with unexpected changes. The hurried switch to remote work is the perfect example!
Thankfully, tech has stepped up to help management make the best of a sticky situation. AI space management solutions like Smarten Spaces can help you better organize your hybrid workplace. Features like hot-desking, centralized scheduling, and meeting room booking make it easier for companies to save on unused real estate while still maintaining safety guidelines.
These space management solutions also help you save on costly monthly rent, making the hybrid workplace model even better for your budget. Instead of maintaining a full office 24/7, your team can gather a few times a month in a smaller space, and work remotely as needed. Those who have to (or want to) come into the office can schedule time accordingly, so as not to surpass safety considerations.
4. Update Your Tech Stack to Accommodate a Hybrid Model
The hybrid workplace model is the future, but it depends on smart tech solutions for success. Business owners must review, update, and adjust their tech stack to better accommodate the future of workplace expectations. With technology’s help, your business can affect a more effective, more efficient return-to-work transition.
According to research from Spiceworks Ziff Davis, an overwhelming 53% of businesses expect their tech budgets to grow this year. The share of those budgets apportioned to cloud services is also expected to grow immensely, as businesses shift to more decentralized models.
This shift away from on-premise, central solutions reflects the fact that work no longer happens in a central office. Businesses get that the future of work is hybrid and decentralized—and they’re investing accordingly. To make the transition effectively, businesses need the right tools in hand. Tools that help coordinate workplaces remotely, like Smarten Spaces, are essential in the new work landscape.
You Need a Workplace That Meets Modern Worker Expectations
If businesses plan to transition back into the office effectively, they need to invest in tools to help them get there. Hybrid workplaces are the future, but they depend on technology to help them get there: technology like Smarten Spaces.
Smarten Spaces provides a comprehensive workplace management solution for the modern era. Ambient monitoring, detailed space scheduling, hot-desking, contactless entry, and more—Smarten Spaces offers tech solutions that meet the demands of the 21st-century workplace.
“Our company was built to solve the challenges of the new hybrid workplace,” says Smarten Spaces CEO Dinesh Malkani. “We are not an HR tech company that’s trying to motivate people and do all those different things or let them collaborate with each other. We’re a company that’s solving hard issues that are related to employees and what they need in the workplace.”
Prepare your business for the future of work and start your transition towards a blended model today. Building a hybrid workplace doesn’t have to be difficult—see how Smarten Spaces’ solutions can help!