How Workplace Technology Can Help Return to Work
The last year felt like a roller-coaster ride. It encountered a fall, which no one saw coming after a gradual, steady rise. Lockdowns, deserted buildings, and public space anxieties became prevalent. Although some of these changes in the post-pandemic environment are temporary, others will likely stick around.
While your employees are used to working remotely, according to the latest Gensler study, many people are still keen to go back to work in a physical workplace. Here are some insights on how employees feel and what they need to feel safe about getting back to work.
How do Employees Feel about Returning to Work?
According to a poll, only one in ten US employees worked consistently from home before the COVID-19 outbreak.
Of the 2300 respondents, just 12 percent have stated that they plan on working full-time from home. 70% stated they want to go back to work and want to stay in the workplace for 3–4 days. Another 18% answered that they want to show up at work once or twice a week.
In fact, while not everyone wants to go back to work, a Harvard Business School Study found that 79 percent of employees preferred at least a partial return with 2 or 3 days in the workplace.
The biggest reason for most employees to come back to the office? They miss their colleagues!
Fifty-four percent responded that they missed meetings in person and interacting with their coworkers. They also regarded this as an important reason behind returning to work.
However, it is important to ensure the safe return of employees to the office post-COVID-19, but it is not an easy job. Maintaining social distance, keeping distant work desks, conference rooms tidy, and convincing your employees that they are safe to enter the office every day are the biggest challenges.
According to a Harvard Business School Report, 51% of employees want to be vaccinated, while 71% want to wait until everyone has been vaccinated. More than half of those believe that people should be sitting at least six feet apart in the office and that masks should be necessary.
Thinking about the future of the workplace, and especially to the post-pandemic office environment, it is evident that technology will play a vital role in what these areas are going to offer, look like, and how they will function.
Workplace technology will also be important for the preservation of office productivity and efficiency in a time where businesses have recognized the capability of remote operations.
What’s in Your Plan?
Opportunities for workplace technology were already gathering steam throughout companies and global organizations, but the gas pedal has been fully pressed down to accelerate digital advancement and plan the future for many organisations.
Here’s how workplace technology can come to play while planning a safe return to office:
- Create Digital Checklists for Equipment Needed- The first priority is to ensure that all the protective equipment including PPE, sanitary masks, and sanitary equipment are in place. Digital workflows and project management devices are a wonderful approach to simplify this process by allowing collaborative checklists to track phases of execution.
- Digitize Employee Training for Safety Procedures- Avoid overcrowded training through a digital employee platform to build a consolidated manual resource, such as how and when PPE is to be utilized. This guarantees all have access to the information about training and that they can adhere properly to the new requirements.
- Transition to A Digitally-Enabled Way of Work- New organizational changes and working procedures which are as contactless as possible must be introduced at this point. Replace heavy paperwork and conference activities with digital workflows and online task management solutions that provide contactless working methods that maintain high efficiency and productivity rates.
Communicating the Return
- Announcing the Workplace Opening Clearly And Inclusively- It is clear and open communication line that supports a seamless transition back to the office. Use an online communication method to reach every individual employee quickly to eliminate misunderstanding, address grievances and build confidence in management during this changeover phase.
- Ensure Everyone Knows The New Guidelines- Keep everyone informed and utilize your digital employee platform to announce and deliver updated guidelines.
Managing Employee Wellbeing in the ‘New Normal’
1- Use Digital Tools to Manage ‘HYBRID’ Teams- During this early phase, some members of the team will likely be at the office and others will still work from home. The use of your virtual communication tools is an excellent approach to assure efficiency and communication amongst your on- or off-site employees.
This allows for tasks to be digitally allocated to ensure everyone is up to date on its progress and is fully transparent. Use group chats with your remote team members to connect effectively.
2- Conduct Regular Check-in with Your Employees- Keeping the mental and physical wellness of your staff in check is your top concern as an employer at this time. Conduct online feedback surveys to ensure that employee issues are dealt with transparently and quickly on a continuous basis.
Our working style is constantly changing, and technology is a big part of that. According to a Forbes survey, 85% of employees think that technology will play a significant role in return-to-work preparation, particularly in terms of remote registrations, touch-free check-ins, and workplace safety.
The workplace of the future will invariably be driven by people and technology — and with factors such as COVID 19 leading employers to consider new methods for workplace navigation, it is more crucial than ever to have technological solutions that work smoothly in the future.