For businesses all over the world, 2020 was a year of survival, ensuring that the impacts of COVID-19 to their operations and viability were kept to a minimum where possible. But with a wide roll-out of vaccines, and with a greater understanding of what can and can’t be done within the midst of the pandemic, 2021 is set to be a year that is all about response. How organizations deal with the months ahead will likely define their direction of travel for several years to come.
The problem is that, at this early stage of the year, it’s impossible to say exactly what businesses will be responding to. Last year demonstrated that virtually any curveball can be thrown a company’s way at virtually any time and with very little warning, whether that be a new lockdown or the opportunity to resume physical operations.
Because of this, businesses will therefore need to put the right measures and solutions in place to respond to changes as they happen, whatever they may be.
While we can’t predict the future, we can suggest three tips that can improve the chances of successfully navigating the challenges ahead:
1. Seamlessly adapt to evolving rules
Many businesses have already implemented ‘return to work’ strategies, whereby employees have been able to come back to the office at least some of the time. Companies will have to decide how they want their employees to work in the long-term, whether that’s a hybrid model that blends office and remote work, or an attempt to resume full office work as much as possible.
However, the pandemic is far from over and so there will still be some initial turbulence in making these arrangements work as restrictions tighten or loosen. It may prove difficult for employees to get into a regular routine of office, remote or hybrid work. This makes it vital that they can move from one to the other and back without any inconvenience to them or their colleagues, or any disruption to the operations of the business.
2. Stay on the pulse of the workforce
The views of employees on the pandemic have ebbed and flowed throughout the last 12 months. They will continue to do so as vaccination programs gather pace, and the expectations they have of their employer will also evolve.
Organizations must keep regular track of the employee experience and sentiment, and where they want to work at different times. For example, employees who will be vaccinated earlier in the year may feel more ready to come back into the office and not be constrained by working from home. Through what has been a testing period for everyone, employers must respond to these moves quickly so that the difficulty isn’t prolonged unnecessarily.
3. Demonstrate a strong response
Companies that can show how well they’ve adapted and responded to the challenges of the pandemic will enhance their reputation. This not only translates to a healthier bottom line, but also to talent acquisition and retention through positive perceptions of workplace culture among candidates and employees alike.
To achieve this, employers must be clear and transparent in their safety measures and their return to work strategies, both internally and externally. Explaining what’s being done and why will help inspire trust in employees who are wary about returning to the office, and consequently should generate greater employee buy-in.
How technology can help
Making all of this work requires a system that can accommodate virtually every eventuality, from employees changing where they work day by day, to keeping each shared workstation and meeting room sanitized and compliant with regulations. And that’s where workspace management and scheduling solutions cover every base:
- Helping employees schedule the where, with and with whom of their work with ease.
- Delivering data insights that highlight how employee attitudes evolve in real time.
- Providing full transparency to the employer’s chosen working model and health and safety methods to ensure compliance with regulations.
While the dark days of COVID-19 are not over yet, there is a brighter future on the horizon for many businesses. Those who can leverage workspace technology to steer a path throughout this months ahead beyond with hope and optimism – as can their workforce.