The Hybrid Workplace – A Facility Manager’s View
The COVID-19 effect caused organizations to mobilize remote working faster than someone could say ‘Jack Robinson’. This shift has now propelled the rise of the hybrid workspace – a workspace where remote work and the physical office operates in harmony as organizations welcome back the workforce.
As the pandemic wanes, research shows, that most organizations will have to continue this remote working trend with 58% of the workforce indicating that they will be working from home 8 days or more each month. Further analysis of this shift reveals that enterprises are expecting only 9% of their workforce to work from the office 100% of the time. These trends clearly show that organizations need to prepare to support both in-office and remote workers and factor in more flexible arrangements where some employees come into the office only in case of need.
All eyes, quite naturally, are on the Facility Managers as they become the enablers of this hybrid workspace.
Here are a few things that make a hybrid workplace stand out from the Facility Managers perspective and what they need to do to bring their workforce together, wherever they are.
Who’s in the office?
To make the hybrid workforce model work, Facility Managers have to first ensure that they have the pulse of the office occupants. Knowing who is in at any given time is essential for the hybrid workforce model.
With a firm grasp on occupancy levels, facility managers can streamline everyday operations and make them smoother, safer, and optimal based on a clear understanding of how many (and who) they need to cater to. This knowledge helps them plan work shifts, identify and understand the new viable capacity of the workspace, and optimize floor efficiency for capacity while making sure that employees are placed appropriately distanced.
Real-time locational awareness and occupancy analytics thus become powerful tools for facility managers. These tools also help them drive positive workspace experiences by enabling employees to reserve work stations in advance and eliminate scavenger hunts to get a workspace when they do come to the office.
Facility Managers also can use advanced desk management solutions for on-premise people detection and counting to make sure compliance adherence at all times.
Unified experiences drive the workplace
The hybrid workspace says that work is what we do. It is not where we are at. Thus, whether in-office or remote, Facility Managers have to make sure that employees get the same unified experience always. This means that remote workers should not face any issues or challenges while working from their locations and can troubleshoot as easily or get help as fast as their in-office counterparts.
Apart from the change of location, essentially, ‘work’ in the hybrid workspace should continue unhindered as it would in the ‘normal’ office environment. Facility Managers have to make sure that they build the bridge for the remote workforce and make sure that the solutions at work enable the remote worker to connect with their peers like they need to.
To lay the foundation of the next-gen workspace Facility Managers have to leverage powerful technology solutions that drive collaboration and enablement.
The right support platform plays a huge role in driving these unified experiences. Easy-to-use ticketing systems become important enablers of this hybrid workspace and assists employees to navigate its unique complexities.
The power of a powerful ticketing dashboard designed for easy integration and accessibility cannot be underestimated here. Enabling self-service and providing access to support through a mobile application for the same are extremely impactful tactics to bridge the great divide between in-office and remote experiences and help employees solve their problems faster and drive productivity
Employee engagement is also a facility managers job
Yes, the onus of employee engagement and enablement does not rest with the HR department alone. In this new normal, the Facility Manager has a crucial role to play in employee engagement.
This is so because employee engagement is the sum of all experiences that an employee has at work. Given ‘work’ now a fluid concept and not defined anymore by real estate space alone, facility managers become responsible for engagement as well.
The ease with which employees, both in-office and remote, can raise issues, get resolutions, access critical office assets, set up meetings online and in-office, etc. all contribute to engagement. Having intuitive workflows and systems in place to help employees safely check-in themselves and their visitors, solutions that help them book office spaces or manage scheduled meetings, smart visitor management solutions, facial detection solutions for employees, all contribute to elevated experiences and thereby drive engagement.
The role of the right support solutions also cannot be minimized here. Powerful self-service solutions are important ammo in the Facility Managers arsenal. The ease with which employees, especially remote workers can raise tickets and get responses to their concerns will impact engagement levels. Optimizing ticket automation to make sure that the tickets are assigned to the right agents reduces resolution times. Enabling self-service contributes heavily to engagement as it influences important parameters like “ease of work”.
Asset management just got more complex
Facility Managers have been responsible for robust asset management ever since software began driving the world. However, with the hybrid workplace becoming mainstream so suddenly, Facility Managers have their task cut out for them – that of eliminating the complexities of managing IT assets while making the best use of all the corporate assets at hand.
Asset management for Facility Managers can seem like an uphill task now with this hybrid workspace. They need to have all asset details on their fingertips, make sure asset tracking is easy to drive business continuity and enablement at work, and also must have complete information on asset/inventory lifecycle to optimize maintenance for operational efficiency.
Simple, intuitive asset management solutions are a Facility Managers best friend to drive productivity and efficiency in the hybrid workspace. These solutions help Facility Managers achieve new levels of operational efficiency by providing asset details promptly. Elements like bar code integration with Helpdesk make sure asset-related issues raised by employees get to the support team with all the information required to enable resolution. These solutions also help facility managers and remote employees connect and solve issues faster as it simplifies a complicated process.
The rise of the hybrid workspace has put the Facility Managers in the spotlight. As organizations gradually begin to welcome back the workforce, facility managers have a big responsibility.
Preparing for site readiness, setting health and safety standards in place, navigating government restrictions, and identifying the technology solutions that can drive the hybrid workspace are some of the demands of the new normal from Facilities Managers globally. The Facilities Managers can give the workforce and the organization the confidence to return to work and also enable those who are not in-premise while driving a great workspace experience.