It has been over a year now since the majority of the workforce has stepped foot in the office. The mindset of employees has changed since the pandemic, they will be in for a whole new experience once they return to the office. Here are some workplace trends we believe you will see on a return to the office.
A demand for the hybrid workplace is a rising workplace trend among every working sector. Employees are demanding a hybrid working approach between the office and their homes. They want the flexibility of attending the office 1-2 days a week and at home for the rest. This suggests that the office environment is not dead like some reports had suggested. With this rising workplace trend organisations are starting to realise there is not as much need for large office spaces as there once was. Employees are no longer going to the office to complete work that could be done at home. The main reason for attending the office going forward is to collaborate with different departments or have face to face meetings with their own team. This new workplace trend will be difficult for facilities managers to manage on their own.
Ronspot Flexwork’s desk management tool was designed specifically to help companies manage the hybrid working approach. Ronspot allows employees to choose when they want to attend the office by reserving a desk through real time management. With built in social distancing, office capacity management and analytical reports, the Ronspot Flexwork desk management tool is the future of the hybrid workplace.
Larger Talent Pool
With remote working becoming the norm the last year, many companies have realised that the location of their employees does not matter. When recruiting companies now have a much larger talent pool to choose from, they can hire anyone from around the world due to the remote working workplace trend. This could have a big impact on Irish citizens applying for jobs within Ireland. They could be competing with anyone around the world for a job within Ireland as long as that job can be completed remotely. However, technology has a huge part to play in a decentralised workforce to be a success. If companies do decide to take this approach of hiring employees from different locations around the world, they will need the right technologies to perform this workplace trend.
In the united states we have seen signs of this already begging to happen. Not exactly working in a different country to where their office is located, but employees are starting to leave high costing rent cities and moving to second tier cities where rent is almost half the price. This is all because they can perform their job just as well remotely. Some companies are starting to suggest that they will cut employees’ salaries, so it reflects the cost of living where they are living.
Downsizing Office Space
Since January 2021 more and more companies are announcing they are reducing their office footprint. This is a workplace trend we are going to continue to see throughout 2021. The majority of companies slashing office space are within the banking and law sectors. One major multinational company that has announced they will be reducing office space is banking firm HSBC. They plan to cut office space by up to 40% as COVID-19 has shifted the bank to take a more flexible working approach.
In a study carried out by Grant Thornton they found that over a third of UK mid-sized companies expect to reduce office space. The article also stated, of those that expect to reduce their space, 74% anticipate decreasing their existing footprint by up to a quarter. A further 12% expect to reduce their space by up to a half.
Although there will be no need for large offices going forward due to the pandemic and this workplace trend, there will still be a need for some form of an office. This is to allow for collaboration between departments and for teams to meet and discuss future projects.
With Flexible working on the rise, companies are going to need a variety of ways to keep employees connected in order to boost collaboration, innovation, and productivity. Since the pandemic started almost all employees have had to adapt to a virtual culture. Whether it be through Zoom, MS Teams, Slack, Google Hangouts, or another video chat software. This workplace trend is going to continue from this point forward.
How are companies going to provide a positive virtual culture?
They can provide a positive virtual culture by investing in technologies to allow for remote working. Scheduling daily meetings for teams to chat and discuss issues that have risen or future projects. A virtual culture can increase misunderstanding’s, this is due to not having face to face interactions. Encourage employees to take notes during meetings or follow up with each other after the meeting. Ask employees themselves what the virtual culture is lacking and what needs to be improved. Whether that be changing meeting software or conducting an extra meeting during the week, let the employees decide. This workplace trend has been long coming but the pandemic has accelerated a virtual culture within the workplace.
A rising workplace trend is touchless technology. Pre-pandemic we usually shared hard surfaces within the office such as door handles, elevator buttons, signing in and checking out. Companies now know post pandemic when employees start to return to the office, they are going to be far more health conscious. This is how the pandemic has fuelled the rising workplace trend of touchless technology. Companies are implementing touchless technology where possible within the office to enhance employee and visitor experience. This means cancelling out high touch areas within the workplace.
What Technologies can be introduced for this workplace trend?
Companies that opt for a desk management tool like Ronspot’s have the option to use QR codes for employee check-in and check-out. By placing a QR code beside each desk, all employees need to do is scan the QR code with their smart phones and they have checked in. Not only is Ronspot managing your flexible working approach but also cancelling out a high touch point. Other touchless technologies companies have started to introduce are automatic doors, elevator buttons you use with your feet, motion activated devices such as hand dryers.
An example of this is the Zero Irving building in New York city, designed as a COVID safe office building. This building was designed as an entirely touchless experience for employees. The building is equipped with state-of-the-art touchless technology. Employees can enter the building using an app on their phone. They can get to their floor without touching a single thing through automatic security turnstiles and elevators equipped with destination dispatch.
Employee health is a growing and very serious workplace trend. Since the introduction of remote working some employees have found it hard to get work and life balance right. When working from home it can be quite hard for some individuals to switch off from work mode. Employees may feel they need to work even harder to prove their contribution and show management they are working hard. This is due to not being physically present in the workplace. There is a much higher chance of employee burnout because of this, so management need to prevent this from happening.
How can Companies improve employee health?
To improve employee health and wellbeing managers should encourage employees to work within the working day and to take breaks throughout the day. Providing employees with increased levels of wellbeing support, such as setting up an employee assistance programme. Many companies have started to put greater emphasis on this due to remote working. This is why it is a rising workplace trend. Silicon Valley wrote an article on 9 companies that share their tips for remote employee wellbeing. One of these companies was PwC. Their strategy involves weekly seminars with Laya Healthcare from coping with the media and the news to nutrition advice. They are also providing one-to-one support for employees with psychologists, parenting experts, and dieticians. This is something every company should take on board going forward for improving employee health.
These are just some of the workplace trends we believe you will start to see throughout 2021 and long after. Companies are going to need to adapt to these trends in order to succeed. Have a read of one of our previous blogs on how to stay motivated when working from home.