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Across the world, COVID-19 vaccines and other precautions are enabling a return to in-person collaboration.
However, the offices that welcome employees back will look significantly different than the ones they left behind in early 2020 – and the changes and evolutions the modern workplace has seen over the past year are likely to remain well into the future.
That means organizational leaders need effective ways to provide a space that feels safe, inclusive and focused on employees’ well-being, but without sacrificing the powerful face-to-face interaction that makes office spaces so critical to sustained growth.
Beyond the peace of mind offered by innovative technology solutions, organizational leaders also need to consider how they’ll re-engage employees with physical workspaces after, in many cases, more than a year of working from the comfort of their own home.
Workspaces need to be exciting, unique, and a measurable upgrade over work-from-home environments to get employees to truly buy into a return to in-person work.
Fostering collaborative spaces begins with putting together a plan to get your employees engaged and ready for a brighter, collaborative future ahead. Let’s explore three key ways you can do just that.
In the early stages of returning to work, employees – even those who have been fully vaccinated – could be hesitant to work alongside too many of their peers or in too close of quarters.
This hesitancy can be addressed with peace of mind and scheduling certainty.
Instead of letting employees work out how many people should be working in a given space or how to share conference rooms, huddle rooms and more, organizational leaders should implement a clear, easy-to-use scheduling system that provides an additional layer of confidence.
By integrating scheduling software with digital signage and displays and company-wide calendars, employees can book specific spaces for the appropriate number of people and be sure that they can collaborate in person safely.
Further, this digitization and clarity provide leaders with actionable utilization insights as to how and when these spaces are being used by employees, which can lead to effective plans to make the best use of rooms, targeted investments in technology suites that suit specific use-cases and more.
It’s unlikely that organizations will abandon remote and hybrid work in totality – largely because employees have come to expect that flexibility in the wake of the pandemic.
A Live Career survey found that as much as 29% of employees would quit their current role if not allowed to work remotely post-pandemic. Those employees may be at the extreme end of the spectrum, but that number highlights that many of the world’s workers are sold on the benefits of remote and hybrid work.
When it is time to incorporate in-person collaboration once again, then organizational leaders must ensure that it takes place in a workspace tailored explicitly to making hybrid work and collaboration with colleagues working remotely as simple as possible.
The digitalization of working practices has never been more critical. A blended in-person and digital approach requires ensuring your systems and equipment can support a (potentially permanent) hybrid model.
This can be accomplished in a variety of ways. First, remote employees should continue to be given guidance and support surrounding video conferencing outside the office. Leaders should take stock of employee assets and equipment and provide key upgrades where necessary to ensure that, no matter where an employee works from, they can have a powerfully collaborative experience.
That’s step one. Conference spaces, huddle rooms and other places where employees will gather should also be outfitted with technology solutions that make videoconferencing, touchless sharing, bring-your-own-device functionality and more possible.
That means considering screens, audio solutions and their placement and camera upgrades that enable plug-and-play collaboration between onsite and remote team members. This functionality will empower employees to continue working a more flexible schedule and feel engaged and connected, even when they’re not physically present.
Finally, there’s one more key to offering workspaces that draw employees back in from a year of remote work and set your organization up for a future of engagement – being remarkable.
That sounds like a broad concept, but it’s highly achievable. Some of the world’s premier companies are also the world’s premier employers because they offer their teams outstanding amenities and a truly unique environment.
Organizations must make the experience of going into the office unique and exciting. For example, consider the beautiful and well-equipped campuses of Google and Apple, which create working environments that foster in-person collaboration and hybrid work with a good mix of collaboration spaces, whiteboard areas, huddle rooms, experience spaces, and more.
Electrosonic has also crafted many high performance, aesthetically pleasing workspaces during our decades in technology design and integration. Ashurst seized a once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve productivity and agility with AV solutions on a massive scale, while Cox Enterprises crafted a truly unique and exciting environment all its own with a corporate museum that connects teams and visitors to the company on a deeper level than ever before.
No matter the size of your organization, there is a path toward a one-of-a-kind space for your teams to excel in – and Electrosonic can help you find it.
The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the ways in which we design and construct the places we work forever. That’s a challenge Electrosonic gladly takes on.
We’ve identified the challenges building designers will to face during this transition period, and we’re designing and implementing solutions that meet them head-on.
We offer true, end-to-end partnership, from design to installation and managed services and support, that ensures your space is ready to serve your employees and adapt to a workplace landscape likely to continue to evolve and shift into 2022 and beyond.
To learn more about how we’re helping bring the workplaces of the future to life right now, contact us today.
Victoria Cosgrave, Field Marketing Manager, Enterprise at Electrosonic, has wide-ranging experience of technology within professional services, financial services, infrastructure, transport, pharmaceuticals and government. Her knowledge and experience enables her to write about the technological landscape and the issues facing clients with great insight.