2020 was a year of turmoil and change. Those businesses that could manage working from home closed their offices, and technological solutions had to be adapted fast. Many have speculated regarding the future of office management and how distance working will influence our view of work. Some argue that this will be a revolutionary step towards working-from-home businesses, while others believe that a return to normal is more plausible. What the future holds is probably a combination of both.
Companies are starting to realize that there is much to gain from flexible working. After all, you can reduce office space and save costs when more people are open to the idea of working from home. Even though this imposed challenges for many in the beginning of 2020, the skill is now mastered, which minimize the drawbacks on efficiency and collaboration. Furthermore, it is also clear that waking up later, avoiding the morning traffic and long bus rides are strong pros for staying at home. The truth is that remote working can have great benefits for employee’s personal life, something that is a great insight to bring with us into 2021.
Office Management 2021
Some things about being in an office are difficult to replace. Especially the social interactions and the environmental change. The routine of waking up, going over to your dinner table, working, and then ending the day at the dinner table can be boring and uneventful. Many of us also miss the opportunities for fast meetings where we can discuss bullet points in an effective manner. Psychology tells us that humans feel the best when connecting different tasks to different environments. Blending leisure time environment with work environment can make it more difficult to relax. After all, the living room is now connected to work.
So where does this leave us? Well first of all we can say that working from home can be incorporated to give employees more control of their workdays. But remote working also create difficulties. Lack of social interaction can easily minimize our motivation and can also has psychological impacts on our well-being. Environmental changes are also important for our productivity and health.
This means that the faster we as managers can create safe returns back to office, the better. But how can we do that? After all, the office space will not be utilized in the same way. The pandemic has also shown us that security and safety for employees needs to include health measures to stop the spread of disease.
Hopefully one day, Covid-19 will be a thing of the past, but even if that is the case, new viruses and pandemics can arise, and it should be our long-term mission to now create offices that can withstand these types of happenings.
Design your office for flexible working
Firstly, we need to look over our office designs. Fixed seating, office rooms and so forth will not be as effective as it used to be. One big part of the future plan post-Covid is to restructure your office to fit the new needs of your employees.
One possible outcome is that offices will be used more for collaboration work, meetings, and workshops. Individual work will be managed at home. This makes sense, there is no need to come to the office if you are writing sales material, or programming new functions, etc. But there is a need when you are doing something specific involving your whole team. Therefore, modern offices need to be designed to fill this new need – and with plenty of space!
For example, an area where there was previously fixed seating, can now be designed as a workshop area, with all the equipment needed to effectively work in a group together. This
area can be managed by a booking system, where the team leader books the space for certain occasions. This is a more effective way to utilize space. The fixed seating areas can also be turned into Hot Desking areas, where employees can take a seat ad-hoc without booking, Read more about the basics of Hot desking here.
Overall, the new office space needs to be designed to promote collaboration and teambuilding, which are the things that working from home cannot provide. You can also design specific areas for focused work, where desks can be booked in advance if employees want an environmental change. A Desk Hoteling solution is perfect for that, read more about it here.
However, these types of solutions need to be implemented with security measures in place. We will now go through in which ways you can create a safe office space for your employees.
A safe return with Smartoffice solutions
There are many ways in which you can minimize spread of disease at your office. One example is by blocking desks at your office to ensure social distancing with minimum 2
meters. This can be managed with Smartoffice technology. With Flowscape’s Desk Management solution it is possible to make some desks unbookable, hence making sure that everyone who is seated for longer periods of time do not get exposed.
You can also control the density of people in certain areas if you have an effective smartoffice technology. One example of how this can work is through desk booking, room booking and team booking. You can make a rule that employees can only come to the office if they have managed to book a seat. Another solution is to only allow bookings for whole days at the time, in this way you can make sure that no one else is seated at the desk before the cleaning staff is able to clean the desk.
Get to know your Zones. Flowscape provides a Zone sensor that can help structure your shared spaces.
The sensor measures how many people move through a zone, you can use that information to gain valuable insights about what areas are crowded and when. With this information, you can then create an action plan for how to optimize the layout and flow in your office. This can be a crucial step in order to follow the safety guidelines provided by your company or the government. Read about zone sensors here.
One other possible measure is to use Zone restrictions for your teams, making sure that movement is limited throughout the building.
With Flowscape’s software system, it is also possible to do a contact tracing if illness is
reported. One example is, if an employee has called in sick, the Flowscape analytics portal can see desk and meeting history. Other employees who have been in close proximity can then be notified and asked to stay home for a while. The employee that reported the illness can also be blocked from booking desks and meeting rooms until they have recovered. Using contact tracing is an effective tool to alert others and keep your employees safe.
Communicate with your cleaning staff
Through the Flowscape system, it is possible to share reports on room and desk utilization with your cleaning staff, so they know which desks that have been used in your office. This is an effective tool to make sure that all used office space is cleaned for the next day, and through that minimize the spread of disease.
It is clear that the way we will use our offices after Covid will change, and with the right tools,
it can change for the better. Even if more of us work from home certain days of the week, the office will still need to be used for teambuilding and workshop activities that empower the collaboration between your staff members. But because the duration of Covid is unclear, and because pandemics can strike again, its important to have safety measures installed to make sure that you can protect your workforce. Flowscape provides a complete package for a safe return to the office that can be adapted to your specific needs.
Read about our digital workplace solution here.
Read about Room Booking here.
Read about Desk Management here.
Read about our Covid-solution here.
Feel free to contact us with questions, or for a demo, we are happy to guide you through the process.