The past few years have demonstrated technology’s potential to change our work approach and dynamics. Many have wondered what the new normal will look like – should we work fully remote or keep the old-fashioned 9-17 in the office? What type of hybrid workplace solutions will provide the best trade-off between flexibility and social interaction? What would motivate employees to come to the office more often?
In this article, Ken Dooley, CSO of Empathic Building Office solution at Haltian, tells about the pros and cons of different work setups and explains how technology can be used to optimize our old routines and build the new ones – in an empathic way 💙
Nowadays, three main elements comprise our office work experience (either brick-and-mortar office or remote):
Work = spaces + technology + human
The workspace we have, the laptop and digital tools we use throughout the day, the people we interact with and the quality of our interaction – all contribute to our daily work life. Each of the elements can either improve our working process or spoil it. For example, if the space is noisy and uncomfortable, it may affect our concentration and motivation at work. The same applies to other members of the equation.
From the organizational perspective, the human element can be broken into three parts:
Human = culture + connection + community
In the light of the recent years’ events, many organizations have found it challenging to support these aspects, as they require physical interaction and the presence of employees in the office. Many have been also wondering how to organize the work in the future and how to make people willing to visit the office more often. By now, the consensus on possible office work arrangements has been established around the five setups, each providing different interaction dynamics and serving different purposes and resources of an organization:
While the “no office” concept provides the most access to talents due to the reduction of real estate costs, it lacks culture and connection aspects, holding the risk of high turnover of workers. The “as was” approach is on the opposite side, limiting access to talent while serving the culture creation purpose best. The hybrid workplace setups offer the best compromise between reduced time in the office and the effective creation and maintenance of organizational culture.
Namely, Clubhouse is one of the aptest setups for future work arrangements, where the main driver would be to come to the office to socialize and see colleagues. At the same time, organizations would need to support it with Hub & Spoke model for more agility and flexibility (e.g., a co-working membership close to home).
The arrangement of work should be based on the individual needs of an organization and its employees. Even though the right setup up is important, it does not guarantee a high presence of people in the office. A more important task is to make the office a nice place, where problems get solved – fast and easily. The experience of work in the office should be smooth and pleasant, so the benefits of visiting it would overweight working from home. Among some of the typical office perks are, for example, the following:
As an employer, we want people to come to the office more often as we know that the number one key to productivity is collaboration. However, for some employees, even these benefits will not be motivational enough. What steps should then an organization take, to facilitate the physical meetings? Using the right technology might be one answer. But do we want to obtain control by its means or to facilitate dialogue and etiquette?
Empathic Building for hybrid workplace solutions
Empathic Building is designed with a goal to improve the overall well-being of employees while delivering key data for operational excellence. It enables organizations to bring unique value for employees and make their office experience the one they will fall in love with 💕 At the same time, key data insights help to optimize and improve spaces across the office. This is how many additional benefits organizations can provide to their workers with the Empathic Building solution, facilitating all three elements of work experience:
- Find colleagues, book rooms, desks and even car parking spaces easily and save even more time (spaces/human/tech)
- See all available choices across the buildings and floors without boundaries (spaces/tech)
- An easy-to-use tool on any device to leave and find service tickets, fault reports, feedback about the space or notes to other people (spaces/human/tech)
- Monitor air quality and lightning and choose the best conditions for work (spaces/tech)
There is no one-size-fits-all ideal hybrid setup that would solve all possible challenges. However, empathy will definitely be one key attribute of the most effective setups. Thus, the brave new hybrid workplace of the future that delivers unforgettable work experience will definitely be empathic.
One of our latest references, VR Group, transferred into a hybrid workplace with our Empathic Building solution: