Twenty-twentyone will be the year of safe, collaborative, integrated, and hybrid workplaces. But how do you combine ‘hybrid’ with ‘integrated’ and ‘collaborative’? And how do you create a safe workplace when the threat is suddenly a virus instead of the more tangible risk of accidents?
The answer is: technology.
While technology has driven the development of offices and workplaces in general for almost 25 years, it will play an even greater role in 2021 and beyond. The COVID-19 outbreak has boosted the adoption of remote working as it has allowed businesses to continue operations during national lockdowns and restrictions. For some organizations remote working during lockdown has proven to be so beneficial that they are now asking employees to work remotely at least part of the week, also known as hybrid working. Big companies like Twitter are offering employees the opportunity to work from home forever, and Facebook even thinks it “could get to about half of the company working remotely permanently” within the next five to ten years.
However, the traditional office is not going away anytime soon. While CCS Insights anticipates that more than half of all office-based employees will still mainly be working from home in 2022 and Forrester believes that we will witness a 300% permanent increase in remote workers, other surveys show that more than half of office employees want to return to their workplace. As a result, hybrid working is on the rise.
Hybrid working is the combination of working from the office and working from home. Hence, it is not a new phenomenon. But with more people working remotely more often, keeping collaboration at its highest can be a real challenge. In addition, most hybrid workplaces make the switch from dedicated to shared desks in order to reduce costs and optimize office layout, making collaboration even more difficult. That is why offices need to invest in technology that boosts collaboration (and not only productivity like before), and makes it easier for employees to combine remote working with in-office days.
One of the most efficient technologies to facilitate hybrid working is a dynamic mapping platform. A dynamic mapping platform is, in all its simplicity, a platform that provides you and your employees with a map of your facilities. For most people a map is used for navigation purposes, but a mapping platform offers more than just wayfinding. A dynamic mapping platform like MapsIndoors easily integrates with your third-party data systems, such as booking systems and occupancy sensors, allowing you to add real-time occupancy data to your map. This means that employees will be able to see available and booked desks and meeting rooms on the map and even book a desk or room for their purposes directly through it.
Allowing staff the freedom to work anywhere on your company’s premises (or remotely) isolates them from their colleagues, which also makes it difficult to keep collaboration high. As a result, ‘Find my colleague’ solutions are on the rise. While location sharing may be a controversial issue, new technologies allow you to show employees’ location without compromising on data protection. Just like booking systems and occupancy sensors, location sharing solutions can also be combined with a dynamic mapping platform. This way, employees will be able to see their colleagues’ location in real time (if they have location sharing enabled, that is), making it easier to work together.
Hybrid working disrupts the understanding about the purpose of a physical office. This year, corporate offices will transform into collaboration centers instead of productivity hubs. The physical office will continue to be important for the social work life. However, organizations (and employees) will start using it for meetings, conferences, and co-working activities instead of day-to-day tasks.
A good mapping platform helps you adapt to the news way of working. However, it can also help you increase safety and create an integrated and worker-centric office. If you want to know more about how a dynamic mapping platform can help you adapt to the 2021 challenges and harness the opportunities, download our free guide “The 2021 Office - hybrid working, workplace safety, and technology platforms”.