Should You Bring Employees Back to the Office?

Home offices and remote working have been keywords during the pandemic. But while we’re slowly approaching a state where it’s possible to actually return to the office, workplaces need to decide how to organize the work structure moving forward. It’s no secret that empty offices are a waste of space (and money) so it’s a tempting thought to consider minimizing the office space entirely and implementing permanent remote working for employees. 

Just like with everything else, this dilemma naturally has its pros and cons to take into consideration. Because what happens when you remove the physical space for colleagues to work and meet in? The initial costs might go down - but in the long term, the expenses might be higher. Why? In this blog we give you three reasons why your employees still need to be able to work from your office… and why transitioning to a hybrid workspace is the future.  

 

The importance of culture

It’s been proven that organizational culture is important for business performance, especially when it comes to revenue growth, productivity, net income, creativity, and employee retention. Happy employees heavily impact performance on all parameters, but while many thrive and feel more productive working from home, there are things that the home office limits. For new employees especially it might feel difficult to either get started or get things done without people around them that they can ask for help - or that will quickly notice if they’re struggling or in need of assistance. 

With the pandemic, many of us got used to working together, separately, with home offices and multiple hours spent in virtual meetings. But while many may be thriving working remotely and feel like they’re more productive this way, there are aspects of work life that benefit from a physical presence in the office. An argument for not turning to exclusive remote work is the collaboration among teams. When working from home, every single interaction needs to be done through text or a virtual meeting, meaning that a lot of the everyday coffee break conversations are lost. These informal interactions may not initially be missed, but in fact the little day-to-day chitchats with your colleagues not only bring a smile to your face, it also increases job satisfaction

 

Reinforce the common purpose

Another benefit of spending time in the office is the reinforcement of the common purpose. Working together to achieve a common mission is the premise of all businesses. Of course, different departments take on different tasks, but it’s all part of the bigger picture. Working closely (physically) with colleagues may reinforce the collaborative spirit as well as it may reinforce the sense that everyone is sharing a common mission. Why’s this important? Studies have shown that teams who work together with a common purpose have a higher level of motivation and performance. Being around a group working towards a mutual goal makes it easier to adopt the same goal and that way reinforces the common purpose. 

 

Hybrid working

To accommodate a mix of remote working and in-office collaborations, many companies are beginning to adapt to hybrid working trends. For people who feel more productive working from home, they’re allowed to work remotely at least a few days a week, and instead use the office as a collaborative workspace when needing to work closely with colleagues. 

Hybrid working challenges the idea that the office is a productivity hub with a fixed structure of offices and personal workstations. While the office will continue to be important for the social work life and culture of the company, there are many benefits of adopting the idea of hybrid workspaces. Giving employees the ability to work from home when needed decreases the need for a personal workstation as fewer people will be present at the office at any given time. Instead, the need for gathering space becomes more apparent as teams will be encouraged to use the office for collaborative use. 

In order to create a successful hybrid working environment and facilitate the use of shared resources such as desks and meeting rooms, offices need to look towards implementing intelligent and data-driven smart office solutions. Most offices will already have a booking system for meeting rooms and other resources, such as desk booking. However in large and complex corporate offices, navigating to a specific meeting room or desk can be difficult. And what if you want to find a seat next to a colleague?

Integrating your booking system with an indoor map allows you to provide your employees with a smooth overview of the office and allow them to make informed decisions. MapsIndoors is a dynamic mapping platform that easily integrates with third-party data systems and offers a visual experience, giving an overview of what’s occupied and what’s available to book - which can be done directly via the map. 

We’re happy to tell you more about how MapsIndoors can empower your office to smoothly shift from the traditional office to a hybrid workspace. Reach out to our experts through the link below and we’ll be in touch soon. 

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Want more inspiration about what the office of the future will look like? Take a look at our free guide: The 2021 Office: Hybrid working, workplace safety, and technology platforms.