We’re all looking forward to some semblance of normalcy (be gone with ye, COVID-19!). But first, there will be some new things business leaders will have to get used to, such as re-adjusting to working from the office again. But transitions and change doesn’t stop at the top. Developments in what employees want have also changed what is required from HR.
HR managers are probably well aware that returning to the office isn’t as simple as just inviting employees back to head office locations.
First, there are the obvious worries of employee health and safety during the transition phase. No one wants to get sick; not now with COVID-19, but also not in the long term.
Second, and closely connected to health and safety concerns, are matters of organisation. Diligent planning and smart structuring of employee work schedules contribute significantly to keeping your teams healthy. Yet, you might realize that deciding who should come into the office, and who should rather stay home for a particular day, time slot, or hour, is complicated. Implementing such a schedule is a challenge in its own right too: how will you trace employees and ensure that they are not playing fast and loose with who works where and when?
Third, the pandemic has changed things, forever. Employees have come to taste the freedom, and yes, the constraints, of working from home. They consequently know what is possible, and they have a clear idea of what they want from work and workspaces.
Flexibility and choice: these two are listed together, because for employees, flexibility means being able to choose where and how they work. Most employees would like a mix between working from home and (satellite or HQ) offices.
Purpose: a feeling that they are contributing to the world and the lives of others in a positive way.
Variety and workplace experience. Employees are happier when they get to experience or work in a variety of settings.
Social Interactions and building relationships. Employees don’t want to feel isolated from colleagues.
Fourth, if these new-found desires are not heeded by employers, companies risk losing existing talent. In addition, potential employees will gravitate towards companies that prize employee wellbeing and happiness. Thus, when welcoming employees back to the office, it will have to be done with careful consideration not only of employee safety, but also of their wishes and long-term happiness.
Flexible working done right
When one takes all the above concerns into consideration, one thing is clear: flexible working has become a requirement and is no longer just an option. And while one can opt for a rudimentary approach to implementing flexible working (for example, group A takes Mondays and Tuesdays at HQ offices; Group B take the other days), this blatantly flies in the face of what employees want, namely choice over their schedules, where they work, and who they see.
Instead, one wants a system that enables HR managers to control how many team members can come into the office per day, but that simultaneously allows employees to choose when and where they want to work – whether at home, remote offices, or head offices. In this way, both parties have a say in how flexible working arrangements play out.
Technology such as Workero’s workspace management software takes care of exactly this kind of problem.
On the one hand, HR Managers control how many desks or office spaces can be booked per day, and assigns who is allowed to work in which areas (for example restricting access to certain floors, based on departments). On the other hand, employees easily book desks on an interactive floor plan via their mobile phones on-the-go, or on desktop.
But this isn’t all that Workero’s Workspace management software offers. Other features are:
Workero’s software is like a blank canvas: we upload your office floor plans to the app and desktop software, and you can brand the software to your company’s look and feel, making employees immediately feel at home.
Workero’s software combats employee isolation in two ways: first, there is the optional in-house chat function that employees can use to communicate with each other, and second, the software is designed to help employees find their colleagues on the floor plan, and book desks or a space close to them.
A system such as Workero’s augments health and safety procedures. It allows you to register employees and their guests for contact tracing purposes, and it monitors office occupancy in real-time (to maintain social distancing and optimal cleaning).
Since the software provides data of which employees work where and when, it makes it easy for managers to work out home-work compensation based on employees’ actual presence at the office during the month.