Not long ago, equipping a modern workspace used to mean establishing a solid Wi-Fi connection, outfitting conference rooms with high-quality speakers, setting up monitors, and calling it a day.
Today, it also means investing in return-to-work technology to help employees stay safe and be productive from anywhere.
It includes access control, visitor management, and touchless reservation systems. It may even involve adding sensors to gather real-time space utilization data.
With everything you have to think about as you prepare to reopen your workplace, how do you find the best solutions?
Here’s a closer look at what technology you need and five important factors to consider.
Keeping track of who comes into your office has always been important for security reasons, but now it’s essential for protecting the health of your workforce, too.
With a visitor management system, both employees and guests can check in each day.
You can quickly screen them with wellness questionnaires, check them against your security watchlist, and maintain a digital record of everyone.
Flexibility is the cornerstone of the modern workplace. Assigned seats are no longer practical when your office occupancy varies from one day to the next. At the same time, flexible workspace strategies like hot desking leave too much to chance. Employees claim seats upon arrival, and there’s no record of who sat there before them and whether they sanitized the space.
Desk booking solutions allow you to make the most of your workspaces while protecting employee health and safety.
The way we manage meeting rooms in the modern workplace has also changed. Rooms meant for a dozen people may only be able to safely accommodate six.
Calendar apps allow employees to reserve rooms, but they also allow for double-booking. And they don’t make it easy for others to see whether a room is available if they are looking for one at the last minute.
With room scheduling software and room displays, employees can easily see the status of a room, its capacity, and what equipment it has.
They can reserve the room simply by tapping on the room display.
The modern workspace is increasingly touchless. Many offices now use motion sensors to open doors, turn on lights, and turn on faucets. After the coronavirus pandemic, touchless technology will be even more in demand.
With a mobile app, employees can reserve rooms or desks right from their phone. They can also use wayfinding software to find important destinations — like the location for their next meeting or the cleaning supply closet.
In addition to enabling the touchless aspect of the workplace, sensors serve another important purpose — collecting valuable data about how your space is being used. This gives employees the most accurate information about which workspaces are available and also makes cleaning more efficient. Reviewing sensor data over time also gives your leadership team the ability to make better decisions about your real estate.
The primary reason for any new technology is to empower your employees to be productive. That’s only possible if the solutions you choose are user-friendly. In fact, they should be as intuitive as the apps your employees already use in their personal lives.
They should be able to download a mobile workplace app in seconds and start using it right away, without any training.
Software implementation for a large organization can sometimes take months. It often requires gathering a substantial amount of data, uploading floor plans, and setting up workflows. That’s assuming it’s software-as-a-service. On-premise technologies are even more difficult to implement and typically cost significantly more.
When you’re ready to bring employees back to work, you don’t have that kind of time. You need return-to-work solutions you can have up and running within a day.
They should be easy to set up without needing to sort through floor plans or spreadsheets.
Leaders in today’s modern workspace have greater responsibilities for ensuring the safety and wellbeing of their workforce. They also need to be able to plan for an uncertain future.
Your return-to-work technology should capture critical data on how your workplace is being used so you can make short-term and long-term adjustments.
That includes data on:
In addition, you should be able to create dashboards and reports customized for different roles within your organization. Your CEO should be able to see a high-level overview with workplace analytics, while your department managers will want to see more detailed information.
As you gather more information about how your work environment is being used, you can work with your leadership team to adjust the design as needed. For instance, you may need to add more work areas or temporarily lease office space in a nearby area.
No one could have anticipated the events of the past year, and no one had a budget for return-to-work technology. Everyone has had to shift funding from elsewhere to make it happen. We don’t have to tell you how important it is to find solutions that don’t break your budget.
But it’s worth mentioning here because software companies often sneak in hidden fees.
Sometimes there are costs for customer support services that should be standard, or fees for additional users. There may be fees for maintenance and upgrades. And if you decide to cancel, the last thing you want is to be hit with extra fees.
At the same time, you don’t want to invest in a solution you’ll outgrow six months from now.
Look for technology with transparent pricing that can scale with you.
Eventually (hopefully in the near future) there will come a day when wearing masks and social distancing become distant memories. However, new ways of working are here to stay. Research shows employees prefer a “hybrid workplace” where they can work remotely part of the week and spend part of their time in an office environment.
Even after the threat of coronavirus has diminished, your team members will still need to find each other, reserve workspaces, and request service. They’ll still need to receive important announcements and stay connected.
That’s why any technology you purchase now should serve a purpose beyond your back-to-work plan. In addition to managing wellness checks, contact tracing, and adhering to the CDC’s guidelines for physical distancing, it should allow you to manage flexible seating and internal communications for years to come.
Teem’s new Return-to-Work Starter Kit is a complete package of workplace software you can deploy in minutes.
These solutions are the building blocks for a flexible, modern workspace long after the COVID crisis has passed. Even better, you can implement them starting at just $2,500 and add to your plan as needed.
Whether your organization has 30 desks or 300, you can achieve significant savings with reservation software that improves employee-to-desk ratios. And your employees will appreciate returning to a modern workplace that makes their safety and comfort a priority.