If you’re a Chief Finance Officer (CFO) reading this, then it’s unlikely that you’ve ever had to contend with a year quite like 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world of business upside down, with many revenue streams changing fundamentally or even drying up completely during periods of lockdown.
CFOs all over the world are now weighing up how best to respond to the new world of work that will emerge post-pandemic. While maintaining a drive towards growth and either retaining or boosting market share will remain important, it will have to be balanced against an increased need to run leaner operations that get more done for less.
Among all the ways of doing this that are out there, workspace scheduling may not seem like an obvious choice. But the truth is that it has the power to deliver long-term financial benefits that perfectly complement the challenges ahead. Here are three reasons why:
1. Grow as real estate shrinks
With so many more people still working from home, and with that likely to remain the case for some time to come, many businesses are suddenly finding that they have vast swathes of office space that aren’t being used. They’re also finding that, as they return partial quantities of their workforces back into the office environment in some regions, that social distancing requirements have reduced office capacities as workstations have had to be spaced out far more than they were previously.
Workspace scheduling solutions can assist here by underpinning a working environment that’s perfectly right-sized to the needs of the business and the employees. As hybrid working models that combine office and home work become the norm, scheduling can ensure that every shared workstation or meeting room is used to its fullest and that every employee is accommodated, whenever they need to be in attendance.
The data generated from this will quickly allow CFOs to quantify their new real estate needs more precisely, and make savings and cutbacks where possible.
2. It’s the employees that keep the lights on
When people work from home, they are largely doing so under their own steam. That means they have to take their own responsibility for heating, lighting, electricity to power their working devices and their internet connection. And if they’re paying for then, it means the employer doesn’t have to. This is a rather simplistic way of looking at this, of course, but when workspace scheduling is taken into consideration, there is considerable potential for savings.
With different employees on different hybrid working patterns, the number of people attending the office at any one time will no longer be relatively fixed. It’s likely to fluctuate considerably from day to day, and even from hour to hour. For example, it could be the case that a particular company that has five floors of office space finds that all five are more or less full to capacity on a Tuesday morning, but that occupancy comes down to 40% on a Friday afternoon when many people are WFH to get an early start to the weekend.
With shared workstation scheduling, this 40% occupancy could theoretically be housed in office space on just two floors throughout that afternoon. Then, using smart building technology based on the Internet of Things (IoT), the heat, light and power on the other three floors can be temporarily switched off to save on energy costs. This dynamic approach to office utility management can yield significant savings over time, and only workspace scheduling can help maximize its potential.
3. Flexibility means agility
Whatever the impact of COVID-19, it hasn’t put the brakes on businesses’ desire to exploit new opportunities. Research by CFO Magazine has found nearly half of respondents are still forging ahead with global expansion plans, or have delayed them by less than 12 months. And of those making that push, capturing market share was the biggest driver.
But in a fast-changing business landscape, making that happen may well require the ability to quickly seize new opportunities. Employers will need an agile workforce, and workspace scheduling is ideal for supporting this. A distributed workforce is easier to be moulded into new teams or groups as required, with workstations and meeting rooms able to be allocated for collaboration in minutes. Unlike pre-lockdown times when employees tended to have their own workstations, new office environments specific to new projects can quickly be spun up, and other employees can be re-allocated to a workstation elsewhere, meaning no additional office resource is required.