The past few years have accelerated the evolution of the workplace. The job market has gotten much more competitive, with Zoom interviews becoming the new normal. As a result, it's easier for candidates to apply and interview for more positions than in the past. With a low 3.5% unemployment rate and hiring remaining strong, companies need to shift their focus to new recruitment trends. Continue reading "5 Top Hiring and Recruitment Trends for 2023"
Many employees find their workdays not going as planned. They begin their day with a packed agenda, only to become easily distracted. Rather than focusing on important projects, they direct more of their attention to low-priority tasks. Time management becomes hard, and procrastination starts to seep in, leaving them completely overwhelmed. Continue reading "5 Workplace Productivity Tips"
Companies had little time to shift from in-office work to remote work at the pandemic's start. Those that couldn't swiftly make the change shut down, some temporarily and others permanently. Organizations that implemented the right software and collaborative solutions adapted effectively. These tools remain an integral part of what makes the remote model possible.
When adequately equipped, remote work doesn't have to be an obstacle. Companies can set employees up with useful applications for virtual messaging, video calls, link sharing, and real-time document collaboration.
Let's dive into the top remote work tools employers are using.
Hybrid work schedules may be more convenient but getting ready for work may have just gotten a lot more complicated. People are enjoying more flexibility and spending fewer days in the office, but there is a caveat.
They’re having to take more stuff into the office with them.
If your employees are anything like me, they may have to resort to writing down a list of return-to-office essentials to avoid leaving their most important items at home.
Today, we're honoring the memory of a bygone era.
As you bid farewell to the traditional work model, there is some good news: One return-to-office solution — the hybrid work model — can help drum up excitement for working in the office again without asking anyone to give up the best parts of working remotely. Continue reading "Hybrid Work Model: How It's Becoming The New Norm"
Back in the mid-to-late 2010s, employers interpreted things a little differently. Take the kegerator, for example. Back then, a growing number of big companies — Twitter, Yelp, DropBox, just to name a few — started stocking beer and wine in their office fridges, offering craft beer on tap for visitors and employees, and celebrating with "Whiskey Fridays".
But in today's era, offering this perk wouldn't necessarily land. So you have a keg in the office. So what? So do your competitors.
It seems all-too obvious, but it can't be said enough: Employees want workplace flexibility. I repeat: Employees want workplace flexibility.
What does workplace flexibility really look like?
When it comes to what flexibility means, there's an element of misinterpretation involved.
The parable of the office kegerator
Back to the kegerator example: If employees truly wanted a keg in the office — that’s not to say they are unhappy about the option or would waste the chance to put it to good use — the solution would be simple enough. Everyone gets a kegerator. Problem solved.
Except merely possessing the office keg doesn’t do much towards your hiring and retention goals. Let’s face it, there isn’t exactly a shortage of places to find a drink. They can go to a bar, go home, or forego the drink altogether. Plenty of options, most of which are more aligned with the type of workplace flexibility they're actually after.
What attracted people wasn’t the kegerator. In fact, it wasn’t ever about the keg at all. It was about offering something that was in touch with their ideal talent pool’s interests, something appealing because it was uncommon and set the culture apart from the rest.
It won people over because it gave people real benefits:
- A way for colleagues to build connections
- A chance to stay in the office for a purpose that didn’t feel forced
- The opportunity for conversations that went beyond dashboards, metrics, and profit
- Sharing experiences with people they spent all day long working with, and yet sometimes hardly seemed to know
People weren’t sold on the kegerator. They were drawn in by its relevance. Something told them they’d really get something special by working here. They’d be able to contribute here. They saw a glimpse of hope that work could be better here. Somewhere they fit in. Somewhere they enjoyed being.
Why people are drawn in by the office experience
According to Gensler, the top reason to come to the office — across all industries and generations — has stayed consistent throughout the course of the pandemic: to “collaborate with my team”.
And in an article with Wired, CEO of Leesman Tim Oldman is quoted as saying: "Out of all the slicing and dicing we could do across 250,000 employees, there’s one single biggest motivator for employees to return to the workplace….it’s the quality of the experience that they have when they get to the corporate work setting. If they like the office, they want to be there four days a week, if they don't, it's one day at most."
“If they like the office, they want to be there four days a week, if they don’t, it’s one day at most.”
Which would you choose?
Seven years ago, the 2015 Workplace Flexibility Study found that 75% of employees ranked workplace flexibility as their top benefit. So you can only imagine how much of an impact the subsequent years — particularly those spent working from home — have had on this trend.
Let's put you on the spot for a minute. Say you've been given two job offers. Both companies offer equal pay and provide the same benefits. But there's an important difference when it comes to when and where you work. One asks you to spend the majority of your time in the office — the majority of your workweek; Monday through Friday; 9-5.
The other, seemingly more aware of the current climate, offers you more workplace flexibility. Not only will they allow you to arrive and leave the office on a more fluid schedule and work from home 2+ days a week, they're also a lot less interested in micromanaging your schedule. They want to support you and enable you — and trust your own ability to manage and meet your deadlines.
So, which do you choose?
If you’re like a lot of people in today’s job market, it's an easy choice. You want to work for a company that gives you the flexibility to work in whatever way you’re most productive and efficient, not one that makes you sit at the same desk every day for the same arbitrary 8-hour time frame.
One key driver is "work-life balance". Sometimes life throws a curveball that doesn’t fit in with a traditional 9-5 work schedule. Good employees want to be able to dedicate themselves to their job, their families and their health. They want a balanced work and personal life.
Employees also want to be trusted. If employees are going to trust their employer, their employer has to trust them. And that includes trusting them to get their work tasks done, whether it’s by putting in a couple of 10 hour workdays, or by working 5 hours on a Friday and working the rest of the day from home.
Organizational trust substantially affects recruitment and retention numbers, especially when expressed as a policy that allows for a flexible workplace. Retaining talent was one of the top employer benefits by respondents from the Workplace Flexibility Study (65%), and according to a McKinsey & Company study, it’s more likely for a millennial to accept your job offer if your company offers flexible work schedules. Better attraction and retention of talented employees results in less turnover and training costs.
Flexibility can also lead to better employee engagement and productivity. When employees can balance work demands with their personal life demands through workplace flexibility, they report reduced stress and negative spillover as well as being more productive and engaged.
Employees with a work-life balance – having sufficient time to devote to work, their families and their health – are mentally and physically healthier. A University of Minnesota study showed that employees who were given flexible work schedules slept better and took better care of themselves.
3 ways to offer workplace flexibility in 2022
Convinced that a flexible workplace is the way to go, or at least ready to start taking steps in that direction? Here are three areas to consider.
1. Make it easy to reserve meeting rooms with the right tech.
When your employees’ hours are flexible, your meeting rooms need to be as well.
A flexible workforce isn’t going to have meetings at the same time or even the same day every week. Your different internal teams are going to meet when there’s a need – planned or not – or when all team members are in the office at the same time.
So you need to have enough available, bookable meeting space to make every spur-of-the-moment meeting possible. You also need the right conference room scheduling system so employees can quickly and easily find and book available rooms and times from phones or tablets.
When employees are not all in the office at the same time, effective meetings require the latest communication tools and technology, to keep everyone on the same page about deliverables, deadlines and schedules.
2. Provide a dynamic, adaptable workspace.
Some employees work better alone in a quiet cubicle, while others’ creativity thrives on frequent interaction and collaboration. Some companies find that a fluid workspace works well with a culture of flexibility.
Consider activity based working, for example, where are no set workstations. Instead, companies offer a variety of workstations with adjustable desks, common areas with couches and comfy chairs and long tables. Pinterest is a good example of a business whose office design embraces a creative, collaborative environment.
3. Set expectations and hold teams accountable.
Aside from the technical, communication-related challenges of remote working, accountability is the second most common hurdle to flexwork being implemented at more companies. Some managers worry that employees who are working remotely won’t be able to focus on their work duties, or will struggle to stay motivated.If your company is just starting to move toward a more flexible workplace, setting clear expectations from the beginning can help prevent potential problems later on.
The idea of empowering your employees is critically important, but often it becomes more catch-phrase than reality. Usually it's because even though leaders understand it's important, they don't always know how to do it.
The best way to tackle this challenge is by regularly setting expectations with your staff. If you're doing that at appropriate intervals, you'll have the confidence that the right things are being worked on, that issues are addressed before they become problems, that your team is held accountable, and that you have the information you need to make the right calls
Support new ways of working with workplace technology
Nothing will hurt your bottom-line as much as an unhappy, disengaged workforce. That's why, in an ever-evolving workplace, more companies are investing in the employee experience and offering more workplace flexibility.
Technology is just one factor that contributes to an employee's overall experience, but one of the most significant. When you have the right solutions in place, you can help reduce friction and frustration, boost productivity, and keep employees motivated and enabled.
If you're looking to add the most value to your organization, start with your workplace software's reporting capabilities.
Does your workplace software reporting give quick answers about the current state of your space? Can your system provide more in-depth workplace utilization data to help leaders plan for the future?
What is workplace software reporting?
Picture yourself among the rapid change and buzzing energy of the office. Meetings are coordinated, scheduled, and adjusted. Desks and rooms are booked, re-booked, or left sitting empty. A parade of customers, vendors, contractors, and other guests check in and out throughout each busy day. Workers of all kinds — full-time and temporary; on-site, remote, and hybrid; local and those visiting from another campus — move around and interact with the environment and the others around them.
Each day, your various workplace systems and applications are used to greet incoming visitors, reserve workspace, find conference rooms and send out meeting invites, and find their way around the office. The more people use these tools, the more information you have about how people are using your space.
Workplace software reporting takes the data that's been collected and transforms it into digestible insights and actionable recommendations you can use to optimize your workplace.
Here are some of the most important workplace software reporting options and why they matter.
Must-have workplace software reporting options — and why they matter
Average meeting length and size
How long do meetings last in your workplace?
Knowing your average meeting length provides important insight into typical meeting behaviors in your workplace. When you can look at this information, it's easier for you to determine whether you need to makes some adjustments to your room scheduling settings.
Office space occupancy
If you take your total occupied space and divide it by your total available space, you get office space occupancy. For instance, if your workplace is designed to seat 100 people and you only have 60 desks occupied, your occupancy rate would be 60%. With a good workplace management software reporting solution makes it easy to see occupancy rates for all your buildings, floors, and departments.
Office space occupancy is an important metric, but it's becoming much more fluid as companies use their office space in new ways. Due to the current element of unpredictability around office utilization, it's important to understand how this is evolving.
We covered this in depth during a recent discussion with Dan Ryan, the CEO and Co-founder of VergeSense, about the new research they've conducted and how it's helping company leaders hone their future approach and inform their workplace strategies.
You can watch it on demand to learn more about:
- How office utilization is changing
- New space planning ratios
- How utilization varies during the week
- How collaboration factors into utilization today
True room utilization
True room utilization is an important workplace metric that tracks how often your team is using its existing space. We have found that the optimal usage for individual rooms is somewhere between 3.5 and 6.5 hours per day, depending on a variety of factors like the time of year and the size of your organization.
Keep this in mind: True room utilization isn't the same as perceived utilization, or the number of rooms employees think are in use because they appear to be reserved.
Room recapture rate
Room recapture rate represents the number of times a room was reserved and then made available again because no one attended the meeting. For instance, if Anna reserved a conference room but no one showed up after 15 minutes, the room is opened up so someone else can use the space. Another group can “recapture” the room for those 45 minutes that it would have otherwise been reserved but empty.
Check out our guide: How Room Scheduling Software Benefits Your Bottom Line.
It's a really important conference room utilization metric and a helpful way to track the ROI of your software. If you know what your recapture rate is, you have a better understanding of your organization's employee flexibility and space efficiency gains.
Meetings scheduled in advance
Analyze how many meetings are scheduled in advance versus scheduled at the last minute for insight into meeting behaviors at your organization. If most people are scheduling meetings ahead of time, people are probably using a mobile app to schedule their meetings more often than they're booking rooms via your room scheduling panels.
Meeting cancellations and unattended meetings
Meeting cancellations are normal when they happen occasionally. But if your team frequently schedules meetings and cancels them at the last minute, your conference room utilization could use some improvement — and it's probably time to evaluate meeting culture in your workplace. Review the number of meeting cancellations to get some insight into whether or not your workplace is improving in this area.
Any scheduled meeting without participant check-in is considered unattended. It’s important to keep track of unattended meetings so you know how much conference room space is potentially going to waste.
Tracking the number of visitors who come to your workplace is important, especially if you have decided to limit the number of people in the office at one time to maintain safe distancing.
Using Teem’s visitor management software, you can analyze trends by visitor type (such as clients, contractors and guests), and also see historical averages for the number of visitors on any day of the week. This can be useful if you want to minimize traffic in your lobby by requiring visitors to preregister or you’re planning for a higher volume of people in your employee cafeteria.
Can your workplace software reporting do that?
Get rid of Ghost and Zombie Meetings®
When you have a single meeting that no one attends, it's known as a ghost meeting. The meeting doesn't happen, but it still “haunts” your calendar, which prevents others from using the space. By requiring employees to check in — which you can do if you have Teem's room scheduling software —you can minimize ghost meetings.
Then you can review that data later to see how often this occurs.
Zombie Meetings are recurring reservations that no one attends. It is called a “zombie" meeting because it’s functionally “dead,” but still drains your organization of its time, space, and other resources. The good news is that you can minimize Zombie Meetings with Zombie Hunter, a Teem feature that identifies and removes these recurring reservations from room scheduling calendars.
Your zombie threshold is the number of failed check-ins that a recurring event is allowed before Zombie Hunter proactively removes the event from its space.
Optimize your new workplace strategies
Right now, real estate costs are continuing to rise while many assigned desks are going unused. But if you're like most leaders, you don’t have the tools to collect all of your workplace data. Or enough time to fully evaluate that data so you know how your desks are being utilized and understand what changes you need to make.
You can use Teem's workplace software reporting to optimize your seating strategy by automatically collecting and analyzing desk utilization data and quickly creating easy-to-understand reports with key metrics to justify new strategies.
Teem's workplace software reporting also gives you easy access to the following datasets:
- How long meetings last
- Typical meeting size
- How far in advance meetings are scheduled
- How often meetings are canceled
- How much waste is recaptured by using Teem
- Visitor overview
- Room usage overview
- Meeting room utilization
- Zombie action logs
- Technology overview
Start putting your room and desk insights to good use! In today's workplace, you can use Teem to check things like hot desk utilization and peak desk hours — which will be key to optimizing the hybrid environment. Get a free demo to see how it works.
The modern workplace is a fundamentally different place than the offices we left at the onset of COVID-19 shutdowns.
Read on to learn more about the rise of remote work, the impact it's having on workplace communication and company culture, and what can be done to help employees stay sane amidst the chaos.
What's the impact of remote working on company culture?
For workers, the long-term impact of remote working will continue to emerge over the course of 2022 as their employers ramp up their return plans.
As these numbers continue to grow, the impact of remote work on everything — from hiring and retention to company perks, collaboration, and culture — will continue to be seen organization-wide. While more employees demand the ability to take a more active role in organizing their work schedules, businesses will also benefit from the ability to reach out globally for the talent they need.
Organization and scheduling
With remote working, there is no set location for meetings, so they are held over video calls or in online tools that can be accessed from anywhere. In a hybrid workplace, planning and scheduling meetings is more complicated. It's harder to get a group of people together without having to coordinate schedules and in-person plans.
For planning out their office-based workdays, employees might need answers to questions like:
- Which desks are open next Monday?
- Are any large conference rooms available for our team meeting next month?
- Is there a phone booth near my final meeting on Friday?
- Where are my team members sitting on Wednesday?
Look for a dedicated workplace experience solution that integrates with your employees' work calendar, so people can book rooms and desk as they add events to their calendar. Teem's room scheduling software, for instance, works with your existing tech so it's easier for employees to plan for the week ahead. Plus, it's also really helpful for visualizing where the space is located in the office, so they know where they'll be in relation to their other scheduled meetings and reserved spaces.
More flexible workplace policies
As we mentioned earlier, most indications seem to support the notion that the many companies plan on splitting employees' time between remote and on-site workdays, depending on the specific requirements of their role and how the company has chosen to approach their post-pandemic real estate strategy.
- In LinkedIn's recent Global Talent Trends 2022 report surveyed more than 500 C-level executives and found that 81% are changing their workplace policies to offer greater flexibility.
- In a survey from across geographies and industries, McKinsey found 90% of executives would go hybrid — redefining the workplace to accommodate some combination of in-person and remote working.
Over time, the number of companies offering remote working as an option for their employees is only expected to grow.
That's good news for employees, considering:
- 72% of workers prefer a flexible work model, according to a survey of 9,000 in six countries conducted by Slack in late 2020
- That finding matched what 72% of 1,200 workers surveyed by PwC said: They want to keep the option to work from home 2+ days each week even after their company has returned to the office.
- Maybe that's because remote workers are happier — at least that's what a 2021 report from Owl Labs found. They reported remote workers were 22% happier than their fully onsite counterparts and tend to stay with their company longer.
In many ways, remote work helps with employee retention by providing a flexible schedule that allows workers to balance their professional and personal lives. The ability to set one's own schedule, in turn, can help increase productivity and job satisfaction — two crucial factors for retaining top talent.
Team communication: It's complicated
Online or in-person communication? Communicating in real time or asynchronously?
Remote work arrangements have had a complicated impact when it comes to how teams communicate these days. Regardless of where they're spending their time, remote workers typically need access to online chat tools like Slack for communicating with colleagues and managers. That way, whether they're working down the hall from one another or from a different location than everyone else — communication doesn't break down due to the physical distance between them and their team members.
But research shows some of the key staples of a remote work arrangement may also be adding to employee burnout and digital overload. For instance, a Microsoft study in 2021 found workers are dealing with a higher number of meetings, emails, and chat messages. With a constant stream of notifications piling up and coming in through multiple channels, it's no surprise people say the rise in online communication is contributing to their feelings of being overworked and overwhelmed.
(If employee burnout is a concern, get ahead of it! Find helpful tips and creative ideas for combatting employee burnout in our e-book The New Rules of Employee Happiness.)
While in some ways, these tools have made internal communications easier — at least in terms of being able to instantly send and receive communication— they've also been adding new challenges to the mix.
Managing new workflows
There are many pros and cons of hybrid work and remote work, which poses challenges for management. For example, when employees are constantly working remotely, it is sometimes more difficult to keep track of their team's schedule and ensure that individual employees are meeting deadlines.
One-on-one communication with employees is more critical for remote working than ever before, so managers have had to focus on how they communicate with their teams when some people are working remotely and others are on-site. After all, an increase in the number of employees working remotely means there will be a decrease in face-to-face interactions between managers and their team members.
Plus, the lack of in-person interaction can make it more difficult for employees to build rapport with each other and with their supervisors. This can negatively impact the employee's work relationships and overall job satisfaction.
Employees need consistent feedback from their managers and leaders in order to feel valued and appreciated.
How does remote working impact the workplace?
Remote work arrangements can be complex, involving a variety of different locations and setups.
Because of the two-year experiment with remote working, conventional ideas about where and how work happens have been flipped on their heads. Traditional work arrangements are going extinct, at least by most estimates.
Workplaces should function differently than they used to. So, focus on meeting people's needs and your company's goals where they are now — not where they were before.
The technology-assisted employee experience
These days, people are also more accustomed to being in charge of where and how they get work done. It's not just millennial and Gen-Z workers — who grew up with technology at their fingertips — employees from all generations are embracing new workplace tech.
In a hybrid workplace, employees will regularly need to know things such as:
- Who is in the office today?
- Which days do I want to work remotely?
- Are any of my meetings going to be held on site?
There's no doubt that remote work has been a major reason for accelerating digital transformation efforts and high end-user adoption rates. (See how Teem helps employees take back control of their workday.)
Now that they've been given a bigger budget, IT leaders plan to keep the momentum going. This means focusing on what works best for employees. In our survey of over 300 IT leaders, we found that one of their biggest priorities will be finding solutions that are user-friendly and will be easy for their team to set up and manage.
Fluctuations in attendance
Another impact of remote working will be a wide degree of variability in office-based attendance.
Some hybrid and remote workers travel between multiple locations throughout their work week, while others may spend their entire week at home or alternate their locations between home, co-working space, and company headquarters.
You don't want to have too much space sitting empty, but you also don't want demand to be greater than availability. And sharing limited resources gets tricky in a remote and hybrid workplace, too. Any mismatch between supply and demand is likely to cause frustration and lead to a negative in-office experience.
Stay ahead of emerging trends
Did you know we have a full library of resources you can access anytime?
- Check out all of our upcoming and on-demand webinars for fresh perspectives on all things workplace. You'll discover the latest trends and keep up with today's most important tips and tricks.
- Listen to the Workplace Innovator podcast — There you'll find compelling discussions with global workplace management experts about enhancing the workplace experience, improving space utilization, and preparing for what's coming next. exceptional advice from global workplace management experts.
Not sure where to start?
Try this podcast: Two Years Later — A Workplace Strategy Update for 2022 with Arnold Levin of Gensler.
Why you'll like it: Mike gets an exciting update to our most-downloaded interview of 2020. Plus, you can go back and hear the original conversation — which was so full of insight we decided to split it into a two-part series, Going Beyond Industry Trends & Physical Design Part One and Part Two. Both were released in early 2020, right before the pandemic changed everything.
Bonus: The full recording of the 2022 discussion is also available to watch on demand.
Don't miss the next conversation! There's still time to register for our Expert Roundtable: Getting Serious About Well-being at Work.