As government officials prepare to raise nationwide restrictions in the coming weeks, many employees are preparing for a return to the post-covid workplace. Over the past twelve months or so, working from home has been the most popular solution to the unprecedented obstacles caused by Covid-19. Now that we, as a nation, have navigated our way through the most difficult times of the coronavirus, we are now able to begin plans to return to a certain sense of normalcy in our daily routines.
However, a survey conducted by Sigmar, a recruitment agency, and Aon Ireland, a services firm, yielded some interesting results. According to the survey, only 34%, a little more than a third of the country’s working population are planning a return to their post-covid workplace on a permanent basis. Additionally, the survey reported that 22% of the workforce plan on working full time from home. Given the rise in hybrid working over the past year, it is perhaps unsurprising to find that the greatest percentage of employees, 44%, plan on splitting their work hours between the office and home. It was reported that of this 44%, a staggering 90% intend to spend less than half of the week, three days, in the workplace.
So what does this mean for the future? How will the post-covid workplace look in years to come? What can facilities managers nationwide expect when they oversee a return to the office?
As uncertainty remains a constant during these turbulent times, any predictions regarding the future of the workplace seem difficult to place. However, there are some certainties that we can prepare for when a return finally comes to fruition. For example, an increased dependence on advanced technology seems a foregone conclusion. Given the ongoing digital revolution, we, as a working population, have steadily grown increasingly reliant on technology in the workplace. However, the arrival of Covid-19 has catalysed this dependency significantly.
Asanka Abeysinghe, the Chief Technology Evangelist of WSO2, stated in an interview that with the goal of ensuring efficient social distancing imperative, wearable technology and automated sensors could become lasting features of the average working office. Greater communications via Zoom and Microsoft Teams look likely for the future, transforming relationships between employees and their employers. Whether this will be a positive or a negative remains to be seen.
However, given the rapid changes sweeping the workforce right now, employers securing the “buy in” from their employees is essential. With this in mind, managers and leaders etc. will be committed to building good relationships with their underlings. Remote communications may enhance working relations, allowing for improved intimacy and greater interactions among the two parties.
With anxiety and unease among employees at its peak before the imminent return to the workplace post-covid, facilities managers nationwide are tasked with placing significant emphasis on health measures. Ensuring social distancing in the office is one of these many essential tasks. Hot desking, the act of employers pre-assigning desks to employees during office hours, has proven a popular solution to social distancing concerns.
The usage of hoteling software is a significant step forward in the right direction. At Ronspot, we understand perfectly the measures that must be taken, hence why Ronspot Hot Desk is a perfect solution for any company looking to ensure a smooth return to the office. By using Ronspot Hot Desk, the health and safety of workers is assured. This app allows for employees to easily reserve any available desk at their preferred hours, via an interactive map. All workers have to do is pull up the app on their device, log in with their account and then chose a desk that shows up on the app by simply tapping it.
Employees are able to reserve their bookings as far as 90 days in advance. Once a particular desk is reserved on the app, all other desks in the same space become immediately unavailable for reservation. This ensures complete and thorough social distancing.
By being easy to use, effective and highly accessible, Ronspot Hot Desk has great potential to become a vital app for facilities managers, all over the country. Also, increased usage among employees could prove a viable option in easing the growing unease and anxiety surrounding the inevitable return to the workplace post-covid.
Human Resources (HR) Leaders
The availability of hoteling software, such as Ronspot Hot Desk, will prove vital if the return to the post-covid workplace is handled smoothly. Human Resources (HR) Leaders will have to play a central role in this regard. Arguably the most significant task of the average HR Leader will be to ensure widespread engagement among their respective workforce. This engagement will manifest into increased productivity, which itself will lay the foundations for greater success in the future. At this time, more than ever, it seems the role of HR Leaders worldwide matter irrefutably.
It will be the role of HR Leaders nationwide to make sure employees are following the relevant health protocols. By establishing a steady pace in the office, a sense of calm can be restored, allowing for employees to ease back into their “new normal” workplace. Having gone through the second wave of coronavirus pandemic already, businesses will not want to make the same mistakes again. A third wave could potentially cause irreparable damage to many business organizations. Operating business in a controlled, collected way, while promoting strong obedience among workers to specified health guidelines, could prove vital in securing continued economic growth for the future.
As stated, gaining the engagement of employees to facilitate this future growth, is one of the many imperative objectives that HR Leaders find themselves tasked with. There are a number of ways this can be achieved, whether under the control of HR Leaders or facilities managers. Here are some of the few;
- Increased communication in the workplace post-covid
- Interacting with employees on an intimate level
- Urging employees to share opinions
- Encouraging teamwork in the office space
- Outlining the common goals all are working towards
It’s been said before but it bears repeating, the impact Covid-19 has had over the ways we as a population work has been colossal. Prior to the pandemic, it was reported that a mere 5% of the working population primarily worked from home. Now, it has been revealed in a March 2021 report that 22%, over a fifth of the country’s labour population, plan on working from home on a permanent basis. As stated, a majority of 44% said they will divide their working week between their physical office and home. This change in working style is perhaps the biggest difference between pre-Covid and post-Covid working environments.
However, the modern version of remote working is an anomaly. In fact, it varies a great deal from typical past forms of remote working a great deal. The most notable example of this could be seen with the shutdown of schools. Many employees are now having to deal with balancing their office work with the home-schooling of their children, along with other aspects of childcare. In addition to this, given previous restrictions, many workers still have other immediate responsibilities, such as caring for older, more vulnerable relatives, and family members, in their home.
In spite of this however, the widespread popularity of remote working as a whole indicates the manageability of these obstacles. According to a July 2020 post in the Facilities Managers Journal (FMJ), an incredible 61% of employees asked said they plan to continue working from home. With this statistic coming during the first, and most damaging, wave of the pandemic, it serves as a clear indicator of the general satisfaction of hybrid working. As such, it seems hybrid working is here to stay for the foreseeable future.
With this shift to hybrid working seemingly a long-term solution, companies should begin to place stronger emphasis on flexwork. At Ronspot, we understand how hybrid working is significant in maintaining and increasing employee satisfaction. As mentioned, given the uncertainty of the current times, securing the engagement and dedication of workers is vital.
This is why we at Ronspot underline the importance of using of our Desk Manager solution. This user-friendly app, managers can supervise workers in both environments, home and office, making sure that their scheduled work hours are being fulfilled. By ensuring the efficiency of employees, and allowing for this widely popular style of remote working to continue, worker satisfaction and increased productivity seem all the more likely.
In the wake of the pandemic, it is preferrable for organization leaders and employees to do business with companies that place strong emphasis on these aspects. With Covid-19 here to stay for the time being, businesses nationwide will have a role to play, in taking necessary action to combat remaining health hazards.
At Ronspot, we fully understand this, and the fact that the pandemic has impacted all aspects of work and home life. The global effect has been unprecedented. That is why we have taken the steps to manage the changes necessary to make hybrid working easier, through usage of our apps. By working close together and emphasising health guidelines, it is possible for us to navigate our way through these troubled times, thus heralding in a future that may be characterised by great success and productivity.