Safely Returning to Work

Technology to connect your people and spaces as you navigate the return to work – and what comes next. Control of – and visibility into – how office spaces are used will ensure a safer, smoother “return to work” while fostering a sustainable workplace strategy.

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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 [3] 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.

Meet the New Demand for Flexibility

While as many as 76%[2] 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 [2]. 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.

Hybrid Workforce Collaboration

Create video conferences and room bookings in a single action, and quickly join video meetings from your everyday booking endpoints. Then ensure the room is ready for the meeting before you even arrive to connect your workforce effortlessly.

Accruent for Corporate Real Estate

Explore the Top Trends in Workspace Optimization for 2021

Real estate is a top expense for many organizations, so get the most out of it. Focus your efforts to create a workspace experience that attracts and retains top talent, fosters productivity and bears the load of your brand and mission.

Seamlessly Bring Your People Together Across Physical and Virtual Spaces

With preferences for remote work trending up and an already healthy demand for flexibility at work, make connecting as effortless as possible. Learn how EMS is investing in integrations with leading video conference technologies to make collaboration frictionless from anywhere.

Implement Hoteling for a Safer, Data-Driven Office

Avoid costly reconfigurations while maximizing the workforce that can safely make use of your office spaces and amenities. Create accessibility without sacrificing safety and manage efficient cleaning operations by knowing exactly when spaces are used and by whom.

Efficiently Create Social Distancing with EMS

Take a detailed look at how EMS can be used to encourage social distancing in the office. This includes communicating changes to your workforce, minimizing physical contact with shared surfaces, increasing visibility into usage of space and overall reducing in density of people.

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.

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.


  • 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