Techlandia Issue 5- 2021/2022 - Page 11

Return-to-office technology serves as the foundation for a more dynamic workplace

The workplace is morphing into something new. Thankfully, we don’t have to treat this evolution like it’s out of our control. The right workplace technologies are out there to guide this transition and make the in-office experience more productive, flexible, and future-proof. 

It's clear that the rise of the hybrid workplace has changed everything, and the office isn’t going back to the way it was. Your competitors are leveraging these dynamic technologies to get prepared for the workplace of the future. And you can, too. 

Organizations have an opportunity to leverage their current or planned investments for managing the return-to-office to create a more dynamic workplace. Corporate real estate and facilities management teams are already thinking about the best way to build the workplace of the future—so it makes sense to explore how emerging technologies will facilitate this transformation.

Employees have already begun to establish a new relationship with the workplace

An August 2021 PureSpectrum poll examined what employees are looking for as they return to the in-office experience. For 22% of respondents, being at the office provides a more productive environment than working from home. 

A combined 14% of respondents preferred the office for face-to-face collaborations–for those respondents, 9% miss the team camaraderie, and 6% are experiencing video call fatigue. Another 10% are eager to work in the office to facilitate mentoring relationships in person.

Leadership must find a balance between meeting this diverse, growing list of employee expectations and building a consistent workplace experience that serves the needs of every worker—regardless of how many days per week they plan to be in the office.

Decision-makers can take advantage of innovative technology at their disposal to address these concerns. 

1. Touchless, mobile-driven workplace solutions

Health and safety remain a top concern for employees working in the office. One key strategy is to limit the number of public surfaces that must be touched by employees. Providing employees with the ability to adjust the lighting, change the indoor temperature, and improve air quality with their mobile devices means fewer touches on light switches and thermostats. 

The convenience of making the workplace more comfortable with their mobile device is also a major plus for employees that rely on the office to serve as a distraction-free work environment.

2. Integrated room- and desk-booking 

Social distancing is another important pillar of health and safety that employers can leverage workplace experience technology to support. Expecting employees to manage and measure when rooms become overcrowded or when desk arrangements violate social distancing guidelines is difficult and hinders productivity.

A workplace experience app with built-in room- and desk-booking functionalities is a far less burdensome answer. Specifically, tools that integrate with a company’s wayfinding and occupancy sensors can be set to reflect occupancy guidelines, update room-booking schedules accordingly, and ensure employees are guided to the correct room or desk. The same tool could also be integrated with an organization’s facilities management tool to make cleaning services more targeted and efficient.

3. On-site schedule-sharing and collaboration tools

One of the top reasons employees prioritize working in the office is because they want to collaborate with specific stakeholders in person. Perhaps they want to work with a certain colleague to ensure a high-value project gets the correct feedback. Or they may want to prioritize their in-office time based on when they’ll have the most access to their mentors and managers.

This is another area where mobile-driven technology can fill a gap and help employees feel they are making the most of their time in the office. A digital solution for planning and sharing on-site schedules will instill confidence in employees that they won’t come into the office just to find they are missing crucial collaborative partners.