Before the pandemic, businesses in all industries leveraged flexible workspace solutions to streamline their operations. Now that we are looking ahead in terms of our productivity and collaboration, it is even more essential that we adapt to the future of work and workspaces. Healthcare, media, and finance are some examples of business sectors that have utilized flexible workspace solutions to maximize efficiency and utilization. The emphasis is no longer just on how efficiently a workspace operates, but how effectively employers are managing spaces and making their employees feel safe to return to their workspace. It is more important than ever to ensure employees have a seamless transition between altering workspace environments. Flexible working is increasingly commonplace, and more desirable for employees and employers. Just like workers need to feel safe, students must feel safe returning to the classroom.
Businesses lead, universities follow
The benefits employers and employees derive from flexible workplace technologies also are applicable to universities and students returning to campus for the fall semester. Resuming education from the remote learning structure to either an in-person or hybrid learning system is a scenario universities haven’t had to deal with before. According to a survey conducted by LaneTerralever, a national marketing and advertising agency for higher education, it was found that over
33% of four-year program college students are reconsidering delaying higher education while 43% of prospective students for one- and two-year programs are opting to push back their enrollment.1
There are plenty of uncertainties about returning to the classroom. The ways we manage and share space is evolving and as a result, universities have a lot to learn from companies who have integrated flexible workspace solutions into their everyday functions.
Universities share similarities with businesses in terms of operational needs. Students need to coordinate with their peers and professors similar to the way colleagues do with one another. A good workspace scheduling software will provide solutions to the obstacles that are bound to occur. Students want to go to school feeling safe while being able to experience the normalcy of in-person interactions.
When prospective students are looking at schools, they look at how a university is adapting to the conditions of the time. The e-learning market is expected to grow $72 billion between 2020-2025 and with more change in the way students learn, there is a greater need for flexible technology to bridge the gap for students and universities to achieve their learning goals.2 According to Harvard Business Review, “higher education has significantly lagged behind other industries in moving to a more digitally-driven, outcomes-focused business model” proven by the fact that less than 5% of college budgets goes towards IT spending.3 Now that times are changing, spending in IT is expected to increase. The Learning Counsel conducted a Digital Transition spending survey where they found that EdTech is expected to increase by $2.4 billion in 2021, up from $35.8 billion to $38.2 billion at the k-12 level and it is likely the same will happen at the collegiate level.4
Many universities already require students to reserve areas in public spaces such as libraries and they plan to do so this upcoming 2021 fall semester. Workspace scheduling software can provide consistency and ease for all forms of scheduling. Implementing workspace technology on campuses won’t only streamline the students’ experience, it will also help the administration and facilities to maximize the use of space and resources in accordance with the guidelines. The ability to monitor and report on workspace usage has become increasingly important and will continue to be so moving forward. This has great potential to support universities while enhancing the students’ experience this upcoming semester.
Flexible workspace booking software enables students to achieve a successful transition from digital to campus while ensuring their safety. Utilizing the same workspace software which businesses use has great potential to bridge the gap between current students’ transition to their learning environment as it has done for thousands of employees.
*Thank you to Steven Kattouf, our Summer Intern based in New York for writing this article.