From one day to the next, COVID-19 taught us that a new way of working is not just possible, but necessary – and digital. In a matter of months, the pandemic accelerated the digitizing of our workplaces, something which would have otherwise taken years.
As a response to this, companies worldwide are increasingly investing in technology to future-proof their workplaces and enhance the employee experience for the returning workforce.
Not sure how and where to start? In this article, we take a closer look at three crucial aspects of the digitalization of the workplace that you should focus on when adapting your workplace to digital: collaborative tools, proptech solutions and data-driven decision-making. We’ll walk you through them one by one.
Challenge #1: "Our rooms must be better fitted with AV equipment for us to communicate with colleagues or customers that aren’t in the office."
Collaboration has different conditions post-pandemic – and will be as important as ever. Having the right tools and tech in place for optimal hybrid collaboration is a good first step. This includes high-quality software supporting smooth video conferencing, seamless meeting management and digital collaborative spaces.
A professional hardware framework that can deliver a frictionless experience is crucial too. Think well working screens, cameras, microphones and speakers for both office goers and home office workers to minimize the tech issues we’ve grown tired of during our months in home isolation.
Optimizing the physical office for safe and inspirational collaboration is the next step. Here, proptech is a valuable investment.
Challenge #2: "How do get the most out of our building - and how do we manage it in the most optimal way?"
Proptech, very simply put, is a technology used to automate and optimize property usage and experiences. It is the concept of adding value to our physical property through the use of technology and it covers a wide variety of software and solutions. We’ve picked out some tools for you to consider in the process of adapting the hybrid workplace to a digital future:
Digital desk management allows for better collaboration: you’ll know who sits where and when they will be in the office and can arrange for teams working on the same tasks to be sitting together.
Further, it serves as a brilliant tool for managing activity-based working, a work style that allows employees to locate themselves according to the nature of work they are carrying out. Desk booking software supports this particular model as it allows employees to book desks in the spaces that are suitable for their “job of the day”, be it a large conference room, a phone booth-style room or a creative collaboration area.
It also ensures a safe return to the workplace, maintaining the right distance between co-workers wherever they are sitting. On top of that, it’s easy to control max capacity: managers will know when the safety limit is reached and, if necessary, can adjust the number of employees allowed into the office.
Many companies are considering changing their office usage post-pandemic, opening up for shared working spaces, multi-tenant houses, co-working zones and shared meeting rooms.
Having access to digital floor plans and meeting room booking software that tells you when and where rooms are booked or available is great – and necessary – for optimizing workspace capacity, sharing facilities and keeping everyone safe and updated at the same time.
Managing employees and co-workers is one thing. Having a smart visitor policy and solution post-COVID, another. With visitor management software, visitors will be able to check themselves in and your workplace will be real-time informed with the number of people on the premises. This is not only handy for visitors but also limits the contact between people to necessary meetups only – which is pretty convenient these days.
Challenge #3: "We know that we have many meeting rooms in our office. But we have no idea what type of meetings they are actually used for, how often they are used and by how many."
Getting your employees back into the office, even if it’s just a couple of times a week, is essential to keeping the creativity and culture thriving.
But it’s important to make sure everyone is heard and taken into account before any final decisions are made on how to shape the return to the office. We recommend you facilitate an open-minded dialogue with returning employees and try to understand their wishes, needs and expectations for the return – because there will be many different expectations and, of course, not all can be realized.
Focus on transforming your office into a social hub where facility managers and HR collaborate in creating the framework that will make your employees want to come back and be a part of the workplace again. Here, combining proptech solutions and analysis software can help with utilizing space and optimizing collaborative work zones – smooth and smart, while at the same time keeping everyone safe.
Decision making can thus be based on data-driven insights to create the ‘outstanding office’, a workplace not only compliant to a digital future but fitting the specific needs and dreams of the actual people working there.