The nature of the office is changing – but its role in work remains important. A sustainable workplace strategy in “the new normal” – one that keeps your constituency safe and ensures business continuity – requires visibility, collaboration and control.
Visibility is bi-directional. Leadership needs ready access to the data necessary to understand the health of the office, while employees need ready access to information on the state of the workplace – policies, procedures, openness, availability, cleanliness, etc.
80% of all work is collaborative  and one of the primary roles of the office is to provide a space to foster collaborative connections. Collaboration will look different moving forward – more physically diverse teams, less business travel and more virtual connections. So how do you ensure your workforce can connect effectively, regardless of physical location?
In the era of social distancing, the real estate you had will not be sufficient for your workforce. Adjusting to this reality can take many forms: invest in more office space, encourage remote work, or adapt the space you do have to suit your new demands. All these options require some level of control over how your spaces are utilized.
Considerations for the Return to Work
Meet the New Demand for Flexibility
While as many as 76% of global office workers want to continue working from home beyond COVID-19, the office will still play a critical role in supporting your workforce and service as a collaboration center. Make the connections between in-person and remote colleagues seamless to foster a culture of productivity regardless of location.
Achieving Social Distancing
Decades of office densification efforts and free-address office policies are now being disrupted. The key to getting back to work is creating space between people where it did not exist before. Office design changes are costly – especially when uncertainty remains high - but simple tagging of spaces is not very secure. A technology-centric approach to managing office spaces provides the control and visibility necessary to implement – and quickly adapt – a social distancing policy. Office hoteling for workspaces and other historically “open” spaces provides centralized control of space usage as well as invaluable utilization data.
Maintaining Clean Spaces
Inform daily cleaning procedures with reporting on actual space usage to avoid wasted time and expense for sanitation efforts. Hourly, daily and weekly reports can inform which spaces have been booked and which have been used, and by whom. Think carefully about whether a space that is currently “open” could be made reservable. Integrate with on-the-spot technologies like room and desk signs or occupancy sensors for another level of awareness through a single system of record for numerous enterprise systems.
Collecting Business-Critical Data
Reporting on how space has been booked and used on an hourly, daily and weekly basis will be invaluable information. Such data can be used to inform policy changes like advancing to the next phase of your return plan or amending to accommodate new capacity guidelines. It can correlate with other data sources like calendaring and visitor management to inform contact tracing and a rapid response in the event of exposure in the office. It can justify an increase or decrease in real estate investments or inform changes to office layout or overall design. A robust room booking platform can provide anytime access to business-critical utilization data.
Optimizing Real Estate Usage
Estimates have shown that the increase in remote work following COVID-19 could reduce office space demand by over a billion square feet over time . While the true impact will only be realized with time, the reality is real estate costs will be increasingly scrutinized. Accommodating your growing workforce with your existing square footage, or less, means optimization. Maintain the role of the office in your organization’s success by keeping it accessible on-demand to your increasingly fluid workforce and keep a pulse on areas for improved return on real estate investment.
Solutions to Support Your Return to Work
Flexible Office Hoteling
Give every employee the peace of mind knowing they have a clean, safe desk available every time they visit the office. Optimize your workforce in the space you have and remain agile as strategies shift from phased returns, to split-shifts, to fully remote employees.
Intelligent Meeting Room Booking
Space bookings and requests should provide more than just time and location. Business processes control who has access to what spaces and when, while streamlining booking workflows by collecting the right information the first time.
Seamlessly Bring Your People Together Across Physical and Virtual Spaces
Implement Hoteling for a Safer, Data-Driven Office
Efficiently Create Social Distancing with EMS
Support the Increased Demand for a Flexible Workplace Strategy
Accruent and EMS are in the fortunate position of having clients across many industries and geographies. This has given our team a unique, informed perspective on how companies small and large are adapting and has informed the trends we see a need to support during and beyond the return to work; namely, the dramatic increase in remote work and the flexible office strategies that are here to stay.
How Can a Space Scheduling Platform Make My Office More Adaptable?
With decades of experience across multiple industries, EMS has become a mission-critical piece of many organizations’ enterprise technology stack. When COVID-19 impacted business operations globally, we heard directly from some of our clients just how impactful their use of EMS had been, and the intentions they have for is looking ahead to the future:
- Changing policies and regulations/guidelines
- The need to quickly understand impact on productivity and events/revenue
- Rapid control of capacities and access to spaces
- Understanding usage of space by essential workers in the office
- Reporting on capacities
- Control over access to spaces
- Planning for new capacities, reduction in accessible workspaces, breaking into shift layouts
- Connecting the workforce – in-office or not
- Controlling utilization
- Inform your people as things change
- Keeping office capacity in check
- Making spaces accessible to those that need them
We partner with our clients to implement highly configurable software, directly integrated with critical enterprise infrastructure, and help to develop a comprehensive set of business rules and booking configurations to maximize the impact of real estate investments on business results.