The last two years have brought about profound changes to the workplace. Among the most prominent is the accelerated digital revolution brought on by an embrace of hybrid work. This shift has put a lot of pressure on organizations and employees to adapt quickly and figure out how to make things work on the fly – but left us with a few lasting changes that will be considered benefits in the long term.
Even though it hasn’t always been easy, the work done after COVID-19 has revealed these three changes in the workplace we’re particularly excited about moving forward.
The Great Resignation
We’ll admit it, this is not a trend we expected to love, given how much stress it’s put on basically every business. Undoubtedly, it comes with plenty of downsides for many employers now scrambling to retain top talent and fill open positions. That said, the Great Resignation has highlighted a ton of structural inefficiencies in the employer-employee relationship that are now being addressed to create a better environment for both parties.
Chief among them is the realization that rigid structures aren’t necessary to promote productivity. For example, we now know that remote and hybrid work don’t hurt productivity. In fact, giving employees the flexibility to choose their daily work location may well improve it, especially when they’re supported by effective processes and technology.
Although it hasn’t been easy to navigate, the Great Resignation has sparked greater competition in suddenly booming industries from healthcare to finance to technology. The greater competition for talent has made the employee experience a priority and led to more innovation and bold change.
Starting with an honest, analytics-driven rationalization of how real estate is used and allocated, and extending to employee enablement tools like remote desk and conference room booking, businesses are making major moves to improve the employee experience and get smarter about their two largest cost centers – people and places.
Environmental Performance Has Become a Priority Metric
Part of the boosted workplace intelligence effort has been to better understand the actual environment of the office. Before the pandemic, environmental data was used mostly to promote sustainability initiatives and help reduce energy costs.
Thanks to the pandemic, organizations realized two things:
- The need to maintain good indoor air quality and sanitization practices to ensure employee health
- The need to make the office environment appealing to employees so that they would come back to the office and feel productive, happy and safe.
Because of this, organizations are getting much better at tracking and optimizing environmental factors to help them keep staff healthy, but also achieve other important business goals such as real estate utilization, employee retention and job satisfaction.
Using environmental sensors that track metrics such as indoor air quality (IAQ) has become commonplace for organizations who want to make sure their offices aren’t breeding grounds for contagious diseases, not just Covid. As an added benefit, these sensors track employee comfort metrics such as natural light, temperature and humidity levels to help optimize the day-to-day appeal of coming into the office.
Beyond that, though, organizations are using environmental sensors to unify their occupancy and environmental data to make smarter and more efficient decisions about managing their workplace. By pushing environmental concerns to the top of the urgency list, the pandemic made it clear that there was a lot of opportunity to reduce energy consumption, wellness risks, costs, and waste – all while improving the employee experience.
Automation of Visitor Management
While many organizations maintained a fully remote workforce for a while, almost all have or still intend to open their doors to staff and visitors once again. The risk of visitors bringing Covid to the office has led to additional health protocols in many cases, and hybrid work means employees and guests are now coming in on different days and at different times, making both essentially visitors.
That said, the inherent security risk in welcoming visitors to the office remains the same. The pandemic just added a major layer of urgency to improve visitor management practices.
In response, more and more companies are turning to robust, flexible visitor management solutions that make handling every expected and unexpected visitor interaction easier and faster. With a visitor management solution, the entire guest experience is automated, from visitor registration to check in, badge printing, health and safety screenings, and even package delivery. Protocols are automatically enforced, employees aren’t left scrambling to manage the process alone, and visitors have all the information they need to get set up easily.
Now, organizations are enjoying more consistent execution of security and safety protocols. But they’re also creating much more convenient experiences and an environment more conducive to high-quality work and productivity for all occupants – guests and employees alike.
Challenges Continue to Create Opportunities
None of this is to say that the pandemic has been a welcome disruption. The immense loss of life and overwhelming frustration it has caused is undeniable. But humanity always finds its footing when faced with the biggest challenges. As we prepare to continue the fight against Covid and look forward to an era beyond, these workplace changes prove that we have a lot to look forward to.
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