It’s clear to all of us now that the world of work is becoming very different post-pandemic, and that it’s going to stay that way.
All over the world, every business is therefore having to work out what this means for them, and how they need to respond. This could mean changes in where and when their employees work, changes in their real estate and the functions their offices serve, and changes in the technology they use day-to-day.
Of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to this challenge, because every business and workforce is different. But there are some overarching strategies that will be important for the vast majority of organizations trying to prepare for the future of work.
Three in particular stand out:
1. Talk to employees
It’s easy to gain an impression of the ‘perfect’ business for the future of work, based on what appears in the media or whichever topics are getting the most traction on social platforms. But while all these forward-thinking innovators may be portraying a slick image of how their business will operate, what’s right for them won’t be right for everyone.
The most important stakeholder when preparing for the future of work is the employee.
They require a working model that makes sense for their day-to-day operations, and fits in well with their increasing concerns about work-life balance. But on top of this, they also need to feel valued by their employer and to feel engaged with the process of change.
Therefore, any major alterations to the business’s working model should start by getting feedback from the workforce on which changes they would like to see implemented, from different workspaces to flexible working hours and everything in between. Changes should then be made with those views kept front of mind.
2. Create a flexible, easily changeable workplace
The concept of a flexible workplace is a relatively fluid one, and businesses generally should be able to take advantage of this. With the day-to-day attendance rates of offices reduced as employees work from home some of the time, businesses have plenty of scope to reshape their offices to better suit the needs of more agile workers.
This can include shared workstations and meeting rooms, informal breakout zones, personal working booths, and even associated resources like lockers. All of these can be made searchable and bookable through a workspace booking platform, and the ease by which this can connect employees to the workspaces they want ensures that it will deliver a strong return on investment.
However, what might be right today won’t necessarily be right tomorrow.
The idea of a flexible workplace shouldn’t be fixed, and businesses should remain constantly open-minded to scaling up or down availability of different kinds of workspace to meet changing demand.
3. Future-proof information access
A big part of understanding how that demand changes is having access to accurate, up-to-date information on how employees are working and how different spaces are used. Facilities managers can’t just stick a finger in the air and see which way the wind is blowing to work this out. And while employee feedback can be useful, their individual experiences may not shed proper light on trends across the business as a whole.
This is where hard data, and the ability to analyze that data and derive insights from it, is absolutely crucial. With this information to hand, businesses stand a much better chance of making correct, informed decisions on workspace provision, whether real estate can be reduced, and whether any changes to the overall working model need to be made. This can play a big part in maintaining high levels of employee satisfaction, and being able to easily respond to any unforeseen challenges that the new future of work might generate in the years to come.