While your employees have become accustomed to working remotely, most are still eager to return to working in an office, according to a recent Gensler survey.
However, they have some valid concerns about how they’ll stay safe and healthy in their new environment.
As an IT leader, you can help employees return to work with confidence by equipping your workplace with the right technology. Here’s a closer look at how employees feel about returning to work and what they need to feel safe.
Only one in ten US office workers regularly worked from home before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the survey.
Of the 2,300 people who responded, only 12% said they planned to continue working from home full time. Seventy percent said they want to return to work and plan to spend 3-4 days in the office. Another 18% said they would like to come into the office once or twice a week.
The top reason most employees want to return to the office? They miss their coworkers!
Fifty-four percent said they missed in-person meetings, socializing with their colleagues, and impromptu face-to-face interactions most. They also ranked being part of a community, access to technology, and a greater ability to focus on work as important reasons to return.
By now, most employees know returning to work won’t be business as usual.
Gensler’s research gives a clear picture of what employees expect in a post-pandemic workplace.
Fifty-five percent of employees who responded to the Gensler survey said they want stricter policies that keep sick employees at home. Aside from updating HR policies, your workplace should consider what technology you have in place to limit capacity and provide important check-in information to employees and visitors.
A visitor management system that includes pre-registration can help you avoid having too many people in the office at one time. You can require employees to register themselves and their visitors in the system before a certain time each day so you can stay within established capacity limits. If your check-in process requires employees to fill out a health survey or will include wellness screenings, you can notify everyone ahead of time so there aren't any uncomfortable surprises.
Employees also expect to work farther away from their colleagues — something that may be difficult in an open-concept office. In the Gensler survey, 52% of employees said they expected increased distance between workstations.
At the same time, many are wary of shared desks—19% said they wanted their employer to eliminate them altogether.
While flexible seating arrangements like hot desking can help employees with spatial distancing, it’s clear that the traditional model of hot desking needs to evolve.
Desk booking software allows employees to choose seats anywhere while giving them the assurance they’ll have a reserved workspace.
In a separate survey by PwC, 35% of employees said they expect their employer to notify them if someone in their workplace tests positive for COVID-19. Your workplace needs to manage contact tracing carefully to avoid violations of privacy or confidentiality.
If someone reports they have tested positive, you can refer back to your visitor management system to see who was potentially in contact with that individual. You can then use a mobile app to notify those employees of the potential exposure and advise them of next steps without revealing any identifying information.
And a mobile app that allows employees to check in and book desks or rooms also reduces the number of shared surfaces they have to touch.
As a tech leader, you’re probably feeling the pressure to implement new solutions like these quickly.
The best way to help employees return to work safely is with user-friendly technology that’s fast and easy to deploy.
Teem can help you create a smooth transition back to the office. Request a free demo to see it for yourself.