As employees gradually transition back to the office, it's essential to implement effective strategies for success. While remote work has its advantages, managing a hybrid workforce requires careful planning. From optimizing office space to improving communication and ensuring employee safety, these measures are vital for a seamless return to the workplace. Additionally, desk management tools can play a pivotal role in enhancing office efficiency and employee satisfaction. Explore these strategies to create a workspace that meets the needs of a post-pandemic workforce.
How to transition back to the office effectively?
Over time, employees have become accustomed to working remotely. Many of them are comfortable working from home with a flexible schedule.
A significant number of people have realized that their work-life balance has improved since they can work out during lunch hours or leave earlier in the afternoon to pick up their kids after school. Employees are more efficient because they don't waste time on their commute. Instead of taking the whole morning off for a doctor's appointment, it can be squeezed in between two online meetings – a win-win situation.
Of course, some issues have arisen as well. Employees felt isolated when they didn't meet face-to-face with their colleagues. Managers were concerned about employee productivity and had to improve their leadership skills. Companies had varying degrees of success implementing hybrid work, which was influenced by their original company culture and core business.
Despite these concerns, offering remote or hybrid work holds a lot of potential. To ensure a smooth transition back to the office, there are several measures to consider.
Selecting the right sized office space
Real estate doesn't come cheap, and during the pandemic, many office buildings sat empty, becoming more of a financial burden than an advantage.
Since the office building often serves as the company's flagship, it typically requires a prime and expensive location, usually in the city center. Additionally, it needs to provide office spaces where employees can meet and network.
Office managers discovered that unused office space led to increased expenses, such as heating, electricity, and maintenance. Empty office spaces also contributed to employees' discomfort as the hallways appeared increasingly desolate due to the absence of people.
Naturally, the next action plan would involve ensuring that the number of desks aligns well with the number of employees, making every desk space count. Another possibility is to create multi-functional spaces that can be easily transformed. Prioritizing a correctly sized office is essential.
Enhancing communication in the workplace
When colleagues can meet face to face and let their creative juices flow, it can drive innovation.
It's also essential to communicate and establish various work policies, workflows, and tasks. Employees should be clear about what is expected of them on a daily basis and aware of long-term goals. By using a cloud-based platform, everyone has access to all documents and files at all times.
Instant messaging apps
In the flexible office, employees should be able to communicate easily with their remote and hybrid colleagues. Hybrid workplace teams are built on trust. An instant messaging app like Slack or Teams plays a significant role in discussing daily issues, sharing ideas, and asking for help.
In addition to instant chat messages, colleagues can participate in online video meetings. These types of meetings are valuable not only in terms of productivity but also for improving company culture. Examples include daily and weekly check-ins where people share their thoughts or come together for a fun game.
Seize the opportunity to celebrate wins and highlight holidays and events. The goal is to maintain a balance between professionalism and informal chats, which act as a glue, keeping everyone connected.
Boosting workplace innovation
The new hybrid work lifestyle places the office in direct competition with the cozy home office or functional co-working spaces. Companies need to put in a little extra effort to design a welcoming office environment with versatile workspaces. Let employees choose whether they want to work in solitude, gather in a meeting room, or sit down on a lounge sofa for a client meeting.
Collaborative spaces spark creativity and innovation, keeping the company ahead of competitors. When employees can easily access the right equipment, such as projectors and printers, they will feel motivated and complete their tasks more efficiently.
In today's fast-paced world, employees should feel inspired and comfortable so that they can become proud ambassadors of the company, which helps keep the retention rate low.
Ensuring employee safety
With flexible offices, it is more important than ever to offer clean and well-kept workspaces. Due to Covid-19, people are more concerned about hygiene and prefer sanitized desks. When one person leaves, the goal is for the next person to find the desk just as tidy as before, especially when hot desking, which means grabbing a new seat every day.
While social distancing is no longer regulated by national law, the norms have certainly changed. Even though the pandemic has been officially declared over by the WHO, there are still concerns about new outbreaks, future epidemics, or societal changes. People have become more aware of the spread of germs and prefer to work in spacious offices with proper ventilation. They feel safer when they don't have to share an office space with too many colleagues at the same time. Socially distanced desks are definitely a bonus.
Office managers find it valuable to keep a record of everyone present in the building in case of an emergency. It's easier to keep track of visitors in the building. Due to the threat of social engineering and safety breaches, companies must be aware of potential intruders and consider new safety protocols.
Understanding desk management
The goal of desk management is to facilitate easy desk booking in a flexible office. All the aspects mentioned above can be improved with the help of desk management.
A desk management tool is a great option for space and office managers who want to optimize their office space. It allows them to track the number of employees entering and leaving the building daily and design office spaces based on accurate data.
When office space is utilized efficiently, it can reduce unnecessary overhead costs and ensure that all employees enjoy coming to the office. The key components are well-maintained spaces, bookable desks, and collaborative areas.
Making informed decisions with data-driven insights
Workplace analytics serve as a dependable resource for space managers who wish to monitor building activity in real-time and compare data over time. The pandemic was difficult to predict, and by having access to data, you can better prepare for whatever the future may hold. Are there plans to scale the company up or down? Are you anticipating a significant number of remote workers? The office layout can be designed accordingly, including considerations such as the number of coffee machines, chairs, and office lighting.
Aiming for an exceptional office space experience?
It is safe to say that flexible desk bookings are a part of the future. While there may not be a one-size-fits-all solution for every company, collecting data provides a strong foundation. Whatever office strategy you decide to implement in the future, it all starts with a fundamental understanding and streamlined processes.
Seeking guidance on how to set up your hybrid office for success?
Don't hesitate to schedule a meeting with one of our product experts. They can provide valuable insights into our solutions and how technology can help streamline your office processes without disrupting employees' daily work.
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