A new year is just around the corner, and 2022 is likely to be the year when the buzz around flexible work settles down into a more regular rhythm. There’s a good chance that by the end of next year, it will feel like second nature and the day-to-day norm for businesses all over the world.
However,there’s lots of work over the next 12 month that needs to be done in order to get to that point. Priorities and motivations around flexible work will vary considerably from one employee to another, and those that have come to prefer remote working will need compelling reasons to return to the office at least some of the time.
To help you establish a practical flexible work model that makes sense for everyone, we’ve compiled this handy seven-step checklist of key tasks and goals for the year ahead:
- 1. Facilitate easy desk booking: If employees are going to make the effort to come into the office, they will want to be 100% certain that they’ll be able to work from a space that suits their needs. Using a workspace management platform to search available desks, check their location and attributes, and book for a specific time in advance can make this process as easy for employees as possible.
- 2. Enable associated service bookings: The concept of booking spaces in advance can be taken much further than just workstations. Indeed, every single type of resource that an employee might need on their day in the office can be searched for and booked ahead of time. This includes (and isn’t necessarily limited to) meeting rooms, audio-visual equipment, catering, parking spaces and storage lockers.
- 3. Support all types of collaboration: How people work with each other has changed enormously. We’re all having to get used to a mix of in-person meetings, virtual meetings through the likes of Microsoft Teams and Zoom, and often a combination of the two. All these formats need to be supported, including the ability to book meeting rooms equipped with the hardware that enables virtual attendees to take part.
- 4. Deploy return-to-work protocols (if needed): It’s impossible to say what 2022 has in store in terms of the pandemic, but it’s entirely possible that many countries will still be enforcing restrictions around office work. At the same time, some employees will still feel wary about going back into the office environment. Either way, the ability to adhere to regulations and quickly adapt as they change will be important, including the opening and closing of bookable workspaces to meet permitted capacity and distancing rules.
- 5. Integrate visitor management: Getting a flexible office up and running well is about much more than employees: external visitors such as clients and suppliers need a positive experience, too. Even those used to visiting your building may find new layouts and arrangements confusing, so it’s vital to give them all the help you can. Easy check-in systems and integrated wayfinding ensures they can quickly get into the building and find the location of their meeting.
- 6. Give employees control: Employees will feel most empowered by flexible work if they’re given the right to choose where and when they work, rather than having a fixed hybrid schedule forced upon them. Allowing them to set their own schedules will help them feel happier and more productive, although it’s important to run this through a system where employees can search each other’s schedules to enable easy collaboration.
- 7. Right-size your office environment: A vast office populated by only a few employees each day may not be the most welcoming environment for people to work in. At the same time, you may no longer need all the floorspace you had pre-pandemic. This is a golden opportunity to resize and reshape the office environment, so that it’s better suited for the size of the workforce, their level of demand for flexible workspaces, and the changing collaborative needs of the organization.
To get a more detailed view on perfecting flexible work for your organization, here is a preview of a podcast series discussing this topic with leading industry experts.