It’s clear that flexible working is here to stay across the world of work. Across the globe, millions of employees are enjoying autonomy and freedom, having more of a say in where and when they work. And businesses are benefiting, too, from a happier, more motivated, more loyal and more productive workforce.
However, the sudden advent of more flexible ways of working hasn’t been without its challenges for some employers. Poorly implemented flexible work can compromise the smoothness of day-to-day operations, the ease of collaboration between employees, and the quality of the service delivered to customers and clients.
It can be a tricky balance to strike, but many larger companies with multiple office sites and huge global workforces have turned to technology to make flexible working work for all parties. In this blog, we’ll look at four ways technology has been applied to good effect.
Why flexible work schedules are important
After re-opening offices post-pandemic, some organizations chose to implement a rotation-type flexible work strategy – or hybrid working – where employees work from home or the office on pre-defined days. This option is often a compromise for every type of employee, as however they want to work, they don’t get much of a choice in the matter.
The best alternative is to let employees define their own individual work patterns. However, with so many different employees in different places day-to-day, it can easily become confusing for co-workers to track each other down for meetings and collaboration.
A scheduling platform that brings together an employee’s diary, along with any office workspace bookings they’ve made, adds vital transparency to the process. Employees can quickly check the plans and whereabouts of a co-worker they need to meet, and book a suitable workspace for a mutually agreeable time, all through the same platform.
How to implement hot desking systems
A move towards flexible work likely means a move away from the traditional office layout, where every employee has a desk allocated to them permanently. Sticking with it would not only be a highly inefficient use of space when employees are only in the office some of the time, but also negates the benefit of easy collaboration that a more flexible office environment can deliver.
Desk spaces and meeting spaces can be freed up for bookings through a workspace management platform. But employees need to have confidence that the spaces they book will be there for them when they need them, and won’t be ‘stolen’ by other employees. This can be solved by desk and meeting room screens, integrated with the booking solution, which can display reservation information and even enable check-in through RFID scanning.
Why use a workplace management system?
A key part of making flexibility work is for employees to have always-on access to the data, applications and solutions they need, whenever and wherever they’re working. When it comes to making a reservation for a workspace in the office, especially at short notice, they need to be able to do so quickly and independently. Having to call an admin person, wait for them to reply to an email, or even wait until they can get to a computer to make a booking, just doesn’t cut it.
That’s why the most forward-thinking organizations use workspace management solutions with smartphone app integration. That way, employees always have the ability to check workspace availability and make bookings in the palm of their hand. It can prove especially useful when plans suddenly change and employees need to adapt fast.
Workplace management: Insights and analytics
Unless they’ve been incredibly lucky, no organization gets their flexible work strategy absolutely right first time: it takes honing, adapting and responding to feedback over a period of time to reach the ideal solution. Furthermore, what the ideal strategy looks like can be a moving target, as business needs and employee expectations change over time.
It’s therefore critical for organizations to stay on the pulse of what works and what doesn’t, and understand where to make changes to office layouts, flexible work arrangements and other factors. This is where embedded analytics within workspace management proves to be so useful, helping organizations understand employee working patterns and workspace usage rates over time. It means they can make the right decisions, driven by data, and respond to any emerging issues before they start to have too much of an effect on employee morale or productivity.