With the return to the offices potentially in the cards, Sign In App CEO Dan Harding looks at how employers can make sure their workers are comfortable.
Employers will soon be able to reopen offices and welcome their employees with open arms. But while some people will be eager to return to the workplace and excited about face-to-face interaction with their colleagues, it is understandable that others want to wait a little longer before returning.
The common space will take on a new role within the adapted hybrid work environment, so what processes can companies take immediately to encourage all employees to experiment and enjoy face-to-face collaboration and connection once again?
Put employees at the heart of the business
A recent survey It found that nearly all people are apprehensive about returning to work, with reservations about coming into contact with shared office devices, social distancing, cleanliness, and other factors. However, only 9% of workers expect to return to the office fully.
It is clear that both employees and employers are interested in exploring the hybrid work opportunity, keeping face-to-face contact within some kind of office environment, or contact space, at the heart of the work experience, though just be for a couple. of days each month.
If companies want employees to interact with the physical workspace again, they must start planning now. Instead of waiting for the current restrictions to end, it’s time to clean up the office and reorient policies by putting action in place before the early return. Employers should consider what steps are required to make employees feel safe, supported and motivated in the revised hybrid environment. How do you anticipate monitoring the physical and mental well-being of employees and intervening if necessary?
It is not about providing additional hand sanitizer or implementing one-way systems. Businesses should actively communicate plans for how they view the revised workspace, including how and when it is used. It is about reevaluating the office concept for the better and the employer’s duty of care should receive the same response.
Communication is key
From meeting rooms to snack facilities to shared co-working spaces, employees need to feel confident that the company has control over social distancing guidelines. They want to understand how their employer intends to take notice of both staff and site visitors at any time to meet contact tracing requirements.
And they want to be able to easily collaborate with colleagues regardless of their location in a truly flexible way. These factors shouldn’t have to be overwhelming for companies, as innovative cloud-based technology solutions that are easy to deploy and operate have the potential to unlock the hybrid workplace future.
Simple applications can be used to log in and out of buildings, using contactless technology to reduce interactions. This provides the company with accurate, real-time information about every employee, visitor, and contractor on the site at any time. If anyone becomes ill or tests positive for Covid-19, the company has quick access to the contact details of anyone who has been potentially exposed, allowing for successful contact tracing and isolation.
Additionally, employees can use technology to reserve desks in advance, with clear rules in place to control capacity in each department. Common spaces can be limited to specific volumes, adhering to the rule of six when necessary. Showing employees that the space is safe and controlled is an important way to increase their confidence to return to the facility, especially for the first time.
Prioritize the well-being of staff
Including health questionnaires in the log-in and log-out process is also a simple and effective method to track physical and mental well-being. Obviously, essential Covid-19 questions, such as whether someone has a fever or a cough, will be basic requirements within common spaces for the foreseeable future. But this system can also be used to monitor a person’s mental well-being.
In addition to checking that employees are not working long hours at home, something that has raised concerns in recent months, managers can ask their employees questions to gain a clearer understanding of how they are dealing with the changing hybrid model and feedback. .
Do you have ideas on how to improve the collaborative workspace? How do they manage to work from home? In a world of work that is in an unprecedented transition to a hybrid environment, this data can provide companies with valuable information to advise on new policies and procedures that will help protect employees and create a productive workforce.
However, it is vital to note that there is no one-size-fits-all solution, there is no standard framework for the new work environment, and what will work for one company may require more process iterations for the next. But what better time than now to think about how you can improve the office and improve morale, collaboration, and productivity through a flexible culture that works for everyone?
Employee expectations are changing
Not many companies are preparing to open their doors and encourage the entire workforce to return to the office on the first day, but many may be shocked by the reluctance of some people to return too soon.
Employee expectations of the world of work have changed forever, so employers must not only adapt workspaces accordingly, but also their approach to human resources and duty of care.
Capacity and security management helps rebuild trust while providing the opportunity to communicate with each employee.
For Dan Harding
Dan Harding is the CEO of Sign in to the app, a technology developer that enables contactless login.