Workplace Technology is the Key to Office Return
The way we work has changed forever, and the place of work will continue switching for years to come. Regardless of the changing scenarios now, nobody wants to be 100% WF Home, WH Office, WF Mountains, or WF Anywhere.
Organizations and employees have sensed the freedom to explore numerous options, and they will continue to experiment to attain the most workable mix for themselves. Health and safety will continue to hold the top position in the priority list in the board rooms.
Many organizations elected to work from home unendingly as they felt fully equipped after the digital transformation phase, they testified during the COVID-19 scenario. But what happens to sectors where employees are required back in the office or complain about burnouts and stress because of the WFH model?
Many employees crave office camaraderie; acknowledging these concerns and want leaders to have started acting on models that can cater to the said needs; developing strategies to get required people BACK TO Safe, Seamless, secure, and technology-driven OFFICE.
In the last few months, dependency on technology has dramatically gained momentum to enable and empower the workforce, but employees will accept the VIRTUAL and tech solutions as the REAL ones for their safety and benefit at their own pace. To build a system that they can appreciate, the definition of re-entry strategy should be SMART for them to understand, accept and trust:
Looking at the current scenario, the foundation of any transformational change has to be safety. Incorporating technologies like thermal imaging, detecting elevated body temperature, and managing workforce density to ensure a safe and secure workplace is a mandate. The basic needs like having a cup of coffee or taking printouts from a common printer won’t and can’t disappear; organizations should enable REMOTE-USE technology for employees to access such devices from an app to ensure safety.
Tech should support identify and measure action in HIGH RISK AND HIGH TRAFFIC areas to minimize any identified risk. Data collected from simple tech sensors like light-controlling systems tell about environmental status and how the office is being used. With place, pace, and work getting redefined and realigned, it’s crucial to have a constantly measured process to get reviewed, corrected, and improved.
This fast-changing world is controlled primarily by technology; there will be changes in demand much faster than we can imagine. It will be wrong to say that we already have the best solution implemented. From biometric to touchless digital badges entry systems, from in-person meetings to using SaaS solutions, the system has to evolve and adapt continuously to meet the requirement of NEW NORMAL that’s getting redefined every day.
Almost everyone embraced technology, and that’s amazing. The question is how purposefully organizations are using it? Employees’ needs, working environment, and other factors will keep evolving and changing. Are organizations able to enable employees, through technology, to help decide which days they can work from the office, which are the workstations currently available, where are others seated, and if they are in the office on the same day? Be it virtual or in-person, expectation today is real-time decision-making, and organizations should efficiently enable it through tech solutions.
The traditional offices can’t fit the current need, and that’s the reality. The required transformation from a traditional to a TECH workplace has to happen. To realize the needed shift; organizations should rely on tech solutions like BYOD, sensors to improve touchless processes, Video conferencing, Cloud-based project management software, collaboration, and communications apps and tools to ensure high engagement and better productivity without compromising on the norms set for the safety of their people.
In a recent survey, 79% of leaders and HR execs indicated that organizations’ top priorities are employee wellbeing & safety, productivity, collaboration, and communication, creating a tech-driven SMART system & optimizing cost in the stated order. Technology has been the ultimate savior to enable and empower organizations in achieving the mentioned priorities. With Hybrid, remote, flexible, and a combined model of these, strategies will have to remain more fluid, nimble, and simple to cater to the demands of the diversified distributed workforce.
Organizations have undoubtedly evolved and digitally transformed as a global workforce in no time, primarily equipped and empowered by technology. Bringing people and technology together has magically enabled organizations to rule.
With PEOPLE FIRST perspective, Hybrid is the answer to most of our questions today and will hold the TOP spot for decades to come. Organizations will continue to practice the “IN-PERSON-VIRTUAL” & “DISTANT-T0-BE-TOGETHER” models for longer than predicted to keep the workplace and workforce safe and productive.
To get employees back in the system that they trust, leaders should be able to firmly state that “our office is as safe and smart as your home.” Relevantly said by Jodi Rell, “At the end of the day, the goals are simple: safety and security.”