All office environments are going to look and feel very different in the months and years to come. But it’s how your workspace operates, and continues to operate, that will define your response to the challenging times still ahead of us all.
There is plenty to consider: what does ‘safe’ look like now? What will ‘safe’ look like later? How are the needs of your business changing? What do you need to do to stay on the right side of regulations? And perhaps more importantly, how does your workforce feel about this?
While every business is different, it’s clear that all will have to look at investing in a workspace booking solution in order to satisfy all demands and keep everyone happy.
Reduced capacities, shared workstations and meeting rooms, and flexible layouts that can be reshaped over time will all be critical to achieving this.
Here are five very good reasons why:
1. Keeping workplaces safe
It’s going to take time to before we get back to full “normalcy”. Regulations around social distancing and contact tracing are therefore likely to be in place (in some form or another) for some time to come.
Workspace booking can help meet these requirements by supporting revisions to the layouts of each floor within an office. Workstations can be reduced in number and spread out for social distancing, meeting room capacities can be reduced, and check-in and check-out systems for each space can help with contact tracing if necessary.
2. Making employees feel more confident
All of the above measures sound great in theory, but they’re meaningless if employees still feel reticent about coming back into the office. Many will be understandably fearful about returning to office environments at the same time as countless other colleagues, especially after such a long time away.
Putting workspace booking platforms in place, however, gives an organization the means to demonstrate to employees that their safety has been considered and prioritized. Showing them how the new, safer office will operate will breed trust and confidence in employees in coming back to office work, even if only on a partial basis.
3. Enabling new working models
That ‘partial basis’ will end up being the norm for many businesses in the years to come. Flexible working models, where employees have more choice in where they choose to work, can deliver the best of both worlds: employees can enjoy greater flexibility and a better work/life balance, while employers can repurpose their offices as ‘hubs’ for collaboration.
Workspace booking software is critical for making this work, by enabling easy booking and scheduling of shared workspaces like desks and meeting rooms. Employees should be able, from the comfort of their home office or even their smartphone, to see which spaces are available at a given time, see which colleagues are available for meetings, and make the necessary arrangements in moments.
4. Matching workspaces to business needs
Of course, shared workstations shouldn’t be a total free-for-all. For example, the executive boardroom on the top floor that is normally the sole preserve of senior management shouldn’t be available for anyone to book, any time. So new office environments need to be carefully shaped to the needs of the business and workforce as a whole.
A good workspace booking system should therefore consider rules and permissions that can be applied to each space in turn. Whether that places restrictions according to users, departments, or even times of the day or week, the right measures can be taken to ensure a more flexible approach to office space doesn’t compromise day-to-day operations.
5. Supporting responses to a changing world
Finally, it should be noted that none of this is set in stone, especially with economic turbulence on the horizon. New markets and opportunities may demand a scaling up of the business, while financial necessities could require scaling down. Either way, the impact on normal operations and employees, and on workspaces too, would be huge.
This is where the flexibility of space management really stands out. Whatever may be thrown a business’s way in the future, working arrangements and shared spaces can easily be reshaped to meet fast-evolving needs, maximizing efficiency and the cost-effectiveness of real estate at all times. Organizations can therefore rest assured that their office environment will always be their best fit.