Think back 12 months to how your business was operating before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, and then compare it to how it’s operating now. The chances are that early 2020 and early 2021 look night-and-day different, and that you’ve had to do so much in order to adjust to all the challenges and difficulties that the pandemic has posed.
Agility has played a key part in how well companies have handled the constantly shifting situation, and the last 12 months have shown which ones are best equipped to cope. However, while this agility was an advantage and a differentiator in 2020, it will become a business essential in 2021, as working arrangements and models gradually move out of the pandemic and look towards the long term.
With more employees becoming ready and willing to return to office work as the years go on, the agility within workspaces will become a vitally important consideration. Here we shed light onto what agile workspaces should look like, the benefits of maximizing their agility, and why technology is critical in making it happen.
What agile workspaces look like
The pandemic has necessitated a redesign of office spaces all over the world. Workstations that are packed in and dedicated to a single employee, and meeting rooms that are frequently used to their physical capacity (and sometimes beyond), have become a thing of the past. In their place have come socially distant workstations that are shared between different employees and sanitized between each use, and meeting rooms with reduced physical capacities and integration with video conferencing tools so virtual attendees can take part.
While these may seem as short-term measures to cope with COVID-19 restrictions, they actually form a starting point for the agile workspaces of the future. That’s because these workstations and meeting rooms are naturally more flexible, and can easily be adapted, repurposed or moved as business or employee needs change. For example, if several workstations are under-utilized but there is a meeting room shortage, they can be taken out in favor of a new breakout zone without any inconvenience to anyone.
Why they’re important
Maintaining the agility of these new workspaces beyond the pandemic can bring huge benefits for employer and workforce alike, including:
- Delivering the flexibility employees want: at a time when many employees have become used to remote working, and many are also wary about returning to the office, they’re looking for freedom in where and how they do their jobs. Agile workspaces can be tailored to their needs, and adapted as those needs change.
- Improving perceptions among prospective talent: even though economic turbulence is on the way, the fight to recruit the best employees around will remain highly competitive. Companies that can demonstrate flexible, agile working, operating successfully and seamlessly, will put themselves in pole position.
- Enabling quick responses to regulation changes: many countries will still be subject to ongoing restrictions relating to the pandemic for much 2021 and possibly beyond. As a result, companies may need to make further adjustments to their workspaces, and an agile set-up will always make this task far simpler and much less disruptive.
How technology supports this agility
Creating these agile workspaces and keeping them agile means meeting a number of different demands. Employers need to ensure business goals are met with operational efficiency, employees need freedom and flexibility in how they work, and authorities require businesses premises to be safe and compliant. This is where technology like workspace management and scheduling software can help in ticking every box.
Through a cloud-based system that encompasses the schedule of every employee, workstation and meeting room, the smooth and agile operation of a business can be ensured, day after day and however people work. Employers can right-size workspaces to requirements and use data-driven insights to make changes, employees can remotely book the spaces they need when they need them, and authorities can clearly see that a business has taken transparent, considered and responsible measures to keep everyone within a workplace safe.
That’s why agile workspaces, grounded in innovative cloud-based technology, are the key to developing a business that thrives through the remainder of the pandemic, and far beyond.