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December 11th, 2020

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How IT Leaders Can Support a Safe Return to Work

Businesses can overcome several of the challenges associated with return-to-work plans by leveraging the right workplace software and technology, but not all of these tools are created equally.

If you make the wrong decision about an implementation, it could put your company at risk. But if you’re successful, you’ll save your organization a significant amount of time, money, and energy.

When evaluating your workplace technology options, consider the costs, risks, and potential impact on employees. If you're thinking about creating your own solution, then Teem can help you take a closer look at these disadvantages before you start building a return-to-work app in house.

Challenges of a BYO return-to-work app

As the person building out and managing your company’s systems, you're relied on by the business to provide the meeting room management and workspace management solutions that will help bring employees back to the office. And employees are counting on you to provide an uninterrupted stream of information and remote access to internal resources.

That’s a tall order.

With the stakes this high, make sure you have a full picture of the challenges of build-your-own app solutions. Here are some of the major ones.

Unexpected costs

COVID-19 aside, IT leaders are constantly under pressure to find the most cost-effective options. But with a newly distributed workforce and mountains of data to sift through and protect, it’s important the technology you choose doesn’t compromise on accuracy, efficiency, or security.

A cloud-based workplace app brings a lower cost of ownership for your company, because you’re leveraging a shared platform, eliminating the high costs associated with upgrading, maintaining, and patching your infrastructure.

Long-term implications of short-term cost-cutting measures

The best way to think about technology’s role in your return-to-work is not as a short-term solution, but as an enabler of agility and better decision-making for the next disruption.

Many organizations are hoping to reduce operational spend, but if their workplace and desk booking appdoesn’t align with the needs of their business and employees, they may end up with an expensive problem to solve.

That’s because developing, deploying, and maintaining the app is often more costly than initially expected. These projects can also be time consuming and require more resources than anticipated.

On the other hand, third-party software is highly scalable and generally easy to deploy in today’s modern workplace. Relying on a cloud-based system is the best way to deliver fast, measurable workplace analytics and results while saving money in the long run.

Increased security risks

To support remote working securely, you have to prioritize cybersecurity and protect company and employee information. The technology you invest in needs to be configured correctly to keep data safe when it’s accessed remotely on a number of devices.

Suggested Guide: How IT Leaders Can Support A Safe Return to Work

Vendor solutions give businesses access to a secure environment that allows data to be shared, managed, stored, and communicated.

That frees up your IT teams to work on other projects, so you don’t have to worry about addressing as many of these data management challenges while supporting your people from home, the workplace, or wherever they’re working.

Protecting sensitive data

Many companies are requiring self-screening surveys or conducting temperature checks before letting anyone enter the office. Contact tracing requires a log of everyone who came into your workplace, and if someone reports testing positive for COVID-19, you will need to notify others of a possible exposure.

That means personal contact information and sensitive health data is being collected and shared. You need to know how you’ll keep that data secure and comply with privacy regulations.

If you can’t keep their personal information private, employees will be reluctant to return to the workplace. Failure to keep their data safe doesn’t inspire confidence in your ability to keep them safe in other ways.

Mitigating pandemic-related health risks

Employees expect safe, efficient, and flexible experiences. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced specific steps that “every employer can take to reduce the risk of worker exposure," including prevention measures such as reducing capacity, managing safe distancing, developing a preparedness and response plans, and creating new policies to identify sick employees.

Failing to comply with these could lead to severe penalties and put employees at heightened risk of exposure.

Return-to-work tools such as Teem’s mobile room and desk booking app reduce touchpoints by letting employees view real-time room and desk availability from their mobile devices.

You can also use a third party’s conference room scheduling system with displays that show room capacity limits. This makes it easier to communicate the maximum number of employees in meeting rooms and gives leaders the ability to review desk hoteling software and reservations to track true utilization accurately.

Inability to adapt to changing expectations

You’re not deploying workplace software in a vacuum. You’re doing so in a dynamic environment, where employees will respond and interact with it often. If you design an app that isn’t user-friendly, it will feel like a burden to employees.

That is likely to cause adoption to be low, meaning your investment may end up going to waste. To get everyone on board with digital transformation efforts, you need to think about what employees expect when they come back to work.

A third-party digital wayfinding app is designed specifically with employees in mind. For example, Teem’s wayfinding software helps employees feel comfortable returning to the office because it saves them time and offers a touchless experience.

Because offices are being reconfigured, the office may look unfamiliar to employees. A wayfinding app helps them locate people, places, and resources in the workplace. You can also use them to communicate capacity limits, mask requirements, or other important information.

Difficulty implementing and maintaining your app

Another challenge with building your own return-to-work solution is having the resources necessary to continually reevaluate how it functions, performs, and adapts. New tools, such as visitor check-in systems and conference room scheduling, will need to be agile and flexible, otherwise you won’t be able to respond quickly enough to meet your company’s needs.

Third-party solutions have dedicated teams that maintain their apps and automatically roll out updates so your team doesn’t have to. If your application has a bug, does your team have the ability to fix it quickly? Third-party apps have already gone through several rounds of development and testing, making them a more reliable option if your team is short on time or resources.

If your app isn’t able to update in real time, it won’t be an effective return-to-work solution. You need to be able to reflect changes as employees, spaces, and policies evolve.

Fortunately, a proven third-party application is a faster way to address these rapid changes with greater scalability, so your IT team is free to support core business objectives.

Poor data management

If your app doesn’t integrate with the other software and apps your workforce uses, they might have to do tasks multiple times. For example, they’d need to create duplicate reservations, one in your app and one in their calendar. That is redundant, inefficient, and frustrating.

Disparate systems, data silos, inaccurate data, and outdated information will be difficult to avoid unless you have an app that can keep up, organize your data, and connect with your current systems. And when the system isn’t functioning how employees want it to, it can cause the whole business to come to a crashing halt.

Teem’s tools, such as our workplace analytics and wayfinding software, integrate with your staff's favorite calendar and communication apps. That not only simplifies their workday, it also improves your employee’s experience.

That's important, because when technology works how employees want it to, they're happier, more engaged, and enabled to work more productively.

Choosing the right third-party app for your return

Time is of the essence when it comes to protecting your workplace. To get things running efficiently, safely, and securely, you need to act fast.

It’s important to find a reliable third-party workplace application so you don’t get slowed down by hidden costs or slow systems. Here’s how to make sure you invest in the right workplace app.

What to look for in a third-party return-to-work app

Though the road ahead isn’t necessarily an easy one, it’s full of opportunity. No matter how you plan to come back, you need to acknowledge the challenges ahead and take them seriously.

You need a workplace app that will make it easy to:

  • Monitor and manage capacity
  • Minimize health and safety risks
  • Connect with your existing tools
  • Get the insights you need
  • Enhance your employees’ experience
  • Save your organization time and money

The key to a long-term workplace strategy is being able to drive efficiencies in your organization’s performance, provide greater visibility and access to information, and store data securely.

Teem’s Return-To-Work Starter Kit is the best way to ensure your business stays leaner and more agile, while delivering the experience your employees want and the safety measures they need.

See how Teem's mobile app can help you return to work stronger. Request a demo today.

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