Struggling to plan your back to work strategy? Facilities managers need look no further, this guide will take you through the essentials for getting back to work!
It cannot be denied that Covid-19 has impacted the way we work immeasurably. Not just in the workplace, but in all facets of living, including the ways we interact with aspects such as public transport, education and travel. Never before in this lifetime has there been a global event as catastrophic as this. One that has forced as much change within such a short space of time. Over a twelve month period, the average workingman’s definition of a normal workplace has transformed so dramatically, that the typical workplace that many remember may never return, at least not for the foreseeable future. Facilities managers have had to react quickly throughout this time.
Now, as millions nationwide prepare to go back to the workplace for the first time in months, let us take a look at what can be expected. How much has how we do our work changed? How much has the role of the facilities manager changed? What technology is now necessary for the workplace since this pandemic began? Essentially, the question for many is how much has everything changed? However, the much bigger, and more important question is how can a return to work be initiated as safely, and as smoothly, as possible in the coming months?
In March 2019, the idea of a working day was simple for the average employee. Get up sometime early in the morning, get on a bus or a train, maybe talk with the passenger next to you, arrive at the office on time, work for around nine hours, have a chat with your fellow employees, a laugh, a coffee, and then at the end of the day, go back home on the train you came up on. Then repeat and repeat. Now, the workplace pre-Covid is at this point almost a distant memory. Given the health hazards that would be encountered if this way of operating continued, newer working methods are duly required. The end of this kind of working style is, of course, a shame. However, it also indicates the dawn of several new opportunities. But what are these new working opportunities? And how can they be approached by employees going back to work?
If anything has been changed by this pandemic, it is the general perception of what office work can be. And what the office itself can represent. With the rise in employees working from home, newer and more creative methods of operating became common. In July 2020, a survey was conducted regarding employees’ attitudes toward remote work. A majority of 61% said they were happy to be working from home, and were content in continuing working in such a fashion.
Flexwork is significant if employees are going to be returning back to work soon. For facilities managers, flexwork will be a prerequisite in maintaining social distancing rules. As stated, the typical workweek is no longer viable in the current climate. Employees will still of course fulfil the given hours that would be allocated during a typical working week. But in a flexwork scenario, they will be fulfilling these hours through different means that will allow them to avoid unnecessary contact with fellow workers. By using geo-fencing technology, their attendance, and proof of their work hours, can be recorded easily. Also, given its proven popularity, the continued promotion of flexwork by companies could cement the population’s satisfaction in continuing to work amid this turbulent time. Ensuring the happiness of the workforce may well be vital in yielding efficient productivity for the future.
Ronspot is a company that puts heavy emphasis on flexwork. With Ronspot Desk, it is easier for employees to book desks. Guaranteeing social distancing and increased safety, it is this kind of software that Ronspot boasts that makes it an ideal option for all members of the working population.
That idea of the future being challenging but exciting is almost entirely defined by technology. Technology has always had a reputation akin to this idea. And with businesses being forced to alter their operating style, usage of different kinds of technology will be a great necessity. Hot desking has proven to be a hugely popular method of working. The pre-scheduling of using desks, offices etc. is an innovative way forward amid the pandemic. In accordance with this, hoteling and hot desking booking software have grown in popularity. Ultimately, safety is of the utmost importance for facilities managers. By utilising these innovative new technologies, we are that much closer to ensuring safety for all.
This kind of technology is also important in restoring the confidence of employees. In going back to work, many will be understandably nervous. After spending months working from home, it can be a difficult transition for many to return to the office. Fears of contracting the virus will be rampant. But with technology like hoteling and hot desking booking software, social distancing is ensured. Virtual meetings and communications via apps have also proven to be staples of working days during the past year. Given the greater emphasis being placed on technologies such as these, employees can be assured their health is being protected.
In much the same case as flexwork, Ronspot specialises in utilising this kind of technology. Ronspot have developed an app which is user-friendly, convenient and economically viable for all sized companies. Titled Ronspot Flexwork, this app is primarily aimed at hot desking booking or hoteling booking. With the goal of upholding social protection most critical, Ronspot’s specialisation in this area makes it an ideal answer for employees preparing to go back to work.
Facilities Managers’ Roles
Considering these monumental changes, facilities managers will have several challenging tasks ahead. To ensure these health measures are successful, many are expected to arrange thorough cleaning processes, and install hand sanitation stations in their respective workplaces. Also, given the fluctuating spikes in Covid cases across the country, facilities managers will be looked to now more than ever in keeping themselves and their employees safe.
In responding to these needs, Ronspot’s Flexwork app also uses the data to generate extensive cleaning reports. These can effectively document the cleansing processes of workplaces. It will be the facilities managers role to oversee the successful installation of widespread health measures. Usage of this app maximises resources for minimal costs. This ensures the effective and thorough cleansing of identified areas.
As a facilities manager, however, perhaps the most difficult aspect will be the ongoing task of managing hybrid workforces. With some working from home, and others working from the office, monitoring employees can be a challenging task. Without the necessary supervision, the productivity of some employees may be a risk. However, with the Ronspot Flexwork app, facilities managers can successfully manage employees in both environments. Thereby lessening the main difficulty concerning the growing hybrid workforce phenomenon.
To push on through these difficult times as safely as possible is a number one priority. As we ride out the possible final chapters of this pandemic, we must adjust and stay safe. Applying health measures such as these, for ourselves and for others, is enormously crucial to any progress that will be made.
Communication will be vital for the successful passage through this period. Given the increased anxiety regarding the inevitable return to the workplace, Human Resource (HR) departments will be on high-alert to cooperate closely with incoming employees. Of course, this work will adhere to social distancing rules. And as many prepare to go back to work, the knowledge that their HR department is available for help is as relieving as it is reinvigorating.
It must also be noted the legal responsibilities of employees as they go back to work. Covid-related laws and guidelines issued by the government are vital in maintaining health and safety. In this context, clear communication between HR groups, facilities managers and employees is crucial to further progress. It cannot be overstated how this clear line of communication is also essential for the mental wellbeing of employees.
Predictably, communication in the workplace has evolved from formal one on one meetings in person. As stated, apps have become an indelible part of workplace interactions. Skype, Zoom and Teams in particular are just some of the many highly valued video communication apps. The need to use such apps for some employees may initially prove an arduous task. Those who are perhaps unversed in this style of technology will not be left behind however. If anything, this period may serve as an educational, training process. The future is one that will inevitably be characterized by advanced technology. That technology will only advance more and more as the years go by. Arguably, this is the best opportunity for those technologically unskilled to set themselves up for the future.
It is truly incredible how much Covid-19 has impacted the workplace. For years and perhaps decades to come, it will remain an important benchmark for many in terms of how the world does things. When the dust settles and the pandemic is over, it will stand as one of the most important periods of the 21st century. However, unfortunately, an end to the pandemic doesn’t seem to be anywhere near at this moment. And with no end in sight, it is of absolute importance to adapt to these new conditions.
It is also a hugely significant time for the workplace. How well the return to the workplace is handled by facilities managers nationwide over the next few months is vital. It may determine the economic fortunes of the road to come. It could change the way we view working at this time, positively altering many people’s opinions regarding the influence of the pandemic. In fact, the pandemic could prove to be the catalyst for many businesses in changing their work methods for the better. Companies worldwide are now embracing technology that pre-pandemic were arguably under-utilised. With this, the state of work for the next 20 years may be one laced with innovation, increased efficiency and productivity.