Managing the return to work
The office is no longer the only place to do work. For many, the early days of working remotely were bumpy to say the least as we collectively figured out makeshift workstations in our homes, sharing bandwidth with family, and navigating the myriad of video conferencing tools. For many if not most, the bumps are behind us. We have become not only accustomed to remote work – but we are also good at it.
What now? Will employees want to come back?
Employers do not want to force employees to return to the office. Unpopular mandates are the enemy of productivity. We need employees to want to return to the office.
Technology is the carrot to get them back.
“Is it worth going to the office?”
This is the million-dollar question. Beyond the want/should of going to the office, what employees and tenants will really be doing is a mental evaluation of the value of going to the office. For some this will be a long-term calculation, for others it could be daily.
What can they get at the office that they cannot get at home?
Do these benefits offset the pains of commuting?
These questions raise the question of value, and what makes the workplace work. True value will come from workspaces that maximize productivity and minimize friction. Beyond the sleek boardrooms and latest amenities, tenants and employees will be looking for the tools to make their environment work for them.
Technology will tip the scales
Done well, technology can tip the scales in favour of the office. Let’s start with security… access control to buildings will continue to monitor who can access a space. Version 2.0 will be using this data to predict and control traffic flow in a building. Owners and managers can manage traffic AND employees can access the data to reserve a desk or a collaborative workspace. These tools will set clear expectations for occupants and give them some control of their environment. This control will be a game-changer in helping people feel safe and well in the workplace.
What about AV (Audio Visual)? While we have all become adept at using virtual conference tools, the magic of a great boardroom fit up with screens, smartboards and sound has not been forgotten. One trip to the cinema and we all remember why Netflix can only get us so far, right?
What about Connectivity? It must be better than home and be foolproof. From the curb to the cubicle, dead zones will be unforgivable. This ubiquitous connectivity will also allow systems to connect properly, providing proactive and reactive buildings controls for temperature and airflow to make the workspace safe and comfortable.
Leading with the carrot
Leading with sticks will not work. Mandates are not the way back to the office. We need employees to choose the workplace. The only way for the workplace to survive the daily equation of value is to leverage all that technology has to offer.
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Technology solutions are so vast that virtually anything is possible. The true challenge of all projects is to fully scope the needs of the users and owners to ensure that the technology solution fits. Our consultative approach ensures that the requirements meet the function and business needs of the client, that budgets are right-sized and planned properly, and that risks from time and redundancy are mitigated.