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If you're among the millions of leaders who are eager to get back to face-to-face interaction, then it's time to start mapping out a resolution for all of the workplace challenges that lie ahead.
In fact, it's never too early to put your organization in a position to experience better space utilization and more employee satisfaction.
You want to stay on your toes and be ready for anything. If you think about it, there are many potential workplace challenges that could arise. Your team might not be ready to come back into the office, they may not feel like it's worth the commute, they may be feeling unmotivated, or they may have trouble adjusting to life outside of isolation. You may struggle to improve utilization in your office, you might have a mismatch between availability and demand — such as having too many people plan on coming in on a particular day and not enough individual workspaces — or you might not have a good system in place for tracking who came into the office when for health and safety reasons. Whatever issues might arise, the most important thing you can do today is be proactive.
Resisting the urge to stay remote won't be easy, but there are many ways to get people excited about spending more time outside of their home and getting their work done without starting at a screen all day long. Whether they're eager to change their scenery, restore their former work routine, or feel a stronger sense of connection to the company culture and their colleagues, people are hoping the pandemic ends with solutions to their biggest workplace challenges.
To maintain a productive work environment, leaders need to take an active role in managing the day-to-day experiences of their office guests and employees. In order to be successful in the modern workplace, you need to be aware of potential workplace challenges that could impact your organization once employees return to the office so you're ready for when they pop up.
Beyond having a clear and comprehensive plan for how to respond if, or when, a challenge appears, you will also need to build adaptability into your approach to avoid being to changing circumstances, employee demands, new requirements, and other shifts resulting from the pandemic.
Do your research. (Reading posts like this one counts!)
Your goal is to anticipate potential workplace challenges and develop strategies for dealing with them. That's a challenge in and of itself — but fortunately, there are many resources that can help you prepare with expert insights, best practices, and even tips on how to equip your organization with solutions beforehand.
But being aware of any potential workplace challenges that could impact your company's ongoing return is only half the battle. You also need to have a plan in place for how you will address them when they do arise.
Here's how to overcome pandemic challenges in the workplace and solutions for getting your workplace strategy right.
The task of getting people to spend less time working from behind their computer screens and more time collaborating with one another in the office is daunting, but it is possible.
It's beneficial to start with a good understanding of the underlying reasons employees might choose to spend time on site.
When it comes to your workplace, what will draw people in? A comfortable place to focus on their work? A newfound appreciation for meeting offline? More opportunities for team-building? Easy access to many different types of workspace? The ability to switch up their surroundings? In other words, you need to know what are the most appealing characteristics of your office, things your employees simply can't get anywhere else.
The pandemic has taken a toll on your employees' work and home life, so it's important to help everyone feel comfortable, welcome, and empowered when they arrive at work. Your goal should be to provide a great place where people feel motivated and ready to perform the responsibilities of their role.
The first secret, which isn't really a secret, is using technology to make the workday more convenient and less of a hassle. For example, with a desk booking app the power to personalize their office experience is literally within the palm of their hands. Plus, they can review a few more options with their location and schedule than they may have even known they had, which means they can use it to create the workday that feels right to them.
The most important thing to remember is to make coming to work fun and simple. If they're able to quickly see which spaces are available and where they are, using the office is as easy as finding a spot and clicking to book their space.
Another really important way to approach these workplace challenges is by understanding that value is not the result of one-sided efforts. Success is something that is co-created. Most of these issues arise when things are viewed through an "either, or" lens that sets the tone that by delivering on employee needs, the business has to sacrifice something and vice versa. Hot desking anxiety is one example of this.
Renegotiate the nature of the relationship that companies and leaders and employees have together — not just based on industry trends and performance metrics, but really looking at what those things mean under the surface.
What if, rather than set up that sort of dichotomy, you were to evaluate these topics with the goal of reaching a mutually beneficial agreement? Identify how the needs of the business and the needs of your employees intersect and influence one another so you can leverage the places where they overlap. That way, everyone wins and those wins contribute to even bigger wins.
Data analysis and reporting is a critical way for workplace leaders to keep an eye on what's going on in their office space and identify opportunities to optimize their space for more efficient operations and increased cost savings.
Making decisions in times as uncertain as these can be intimidating. It doesn't have to be though. There are some simple steps you can take and some easy-to-deploy workplace systems that can help you make the right calls at the exact right times. For instance, tools like Teem Insights help leaders collect data and evaluate how their desks are utilized to help optimize their seating strategies. Once you have an eye on the data that really matters, knowing what your workplace needs to succeed becomes simple, and executing your strategy is less of a hassle.
Businesses in today's digital era must focus on integrating all of the information that's collected from their various systems and applications in order to get a clear picture without overlooking any important factors. Having all your data in easy-to-digest dashboards is one of the simplest ways to check on key performance indicators and other essential metrics at a glance.
Know how your workplace is performing in real-time so you can make quick decisions and keep your finger on the pulse of your workplace. And when you need to dive into things more deeply, review custom reports that not only allow you to see information more in-depth but also go the extra mile by providing intelligent recommendations based on what your data shows.
In the meantime, if you want to streamline the return process sooner rather than later, then I encourage you to share your experience with your peers, continue researching how other companies are handling their returns, and stay curious about how the workplace is changing.
The pandemic has caused a lot of changes in the workplace, and many organizations are struggling to adapt. Here, we covered the top three workplace challenges that companies are facing and provide solutions to help you overcome them. You can also download our free guide that covers the specific challenges impacting the hybrid workplace in greater detail for more insights on this topic. Download it here.
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