Can we return to the future? After last year, when the global epidemic sent most of Sweden’s staff to the home office overnight, employees in some industries are now beginning to return to the office. But what will these office environments look like in the future with the remnants of distant time now?
Experts recommend that our offices undergo a structural transformation in the future to survive in the new normal state and to attract and retain qualified staff. One of the world’s leading technology companies, Verizon Business knows how to transform office environments into safer, more efficient and inviting locations thanks to modern technology, thus increasing employee satisfaction and productivity.
New ways to work require new jobs
So, in the second year of the global epidemic, one thing is for sure: the work structures we know so far will never change again. Opinions differ on how and where people will act in the future, but most experts agree on one point. Working in fewer and fewer offices, fewer will do so five days a week. However, the classic office does not seem to have been calculated as some had previously predicted.
After all, many jobs require physical reserve, not just in the retail and manufacturing industries. Second, human beings are naturally social human beings. For the most part, the office will consistently have a Raison D’Tray, but most experts agree that it must change to live in a flexible, hybrid work world.
High quality time: One of the benefits of delivery
Of all the challenges that the epidemic brought, moving to a work environment at a distance represents a direct positive for many.
Many people save a lot of time by eliminating daily travel altogether, while spending more time with family. Comfort and productivity combine well, especially in the home environment.
But while many employees want to have a certain amount of home office in the future, most do not want to completely abandon the benefits of human relationships and working together in the office.
Flexible need: Motivating people to change jobs here
According to the results of EY Work Reimagined Employee Survey 2021, nine out of ten employees want more flexibility about where and when they will work in the future. If given a choice, more than half of the surveyed employees (54 percent) would like flexibility in determining their working hours, and 40 percent would like to see this flexibility in choosing their workplace. Interestingly enough, not only in light of the ongoing “battle” over talent, people are truly willing to change jobs to gain this flexibility. In fact, thousands of generations of baby boomers are more than twice that generation.
Verizon Business believes that if the workplace in question makes a difference in losing and retaining employees, it should be a priority for companies to do the right thing. The good news is that reorganizing the workplace does not have to be particularly hectic or costly.
How to do it? Verizon Business advises all companies to start by reviewing their goals. What should modern workplaces achieve in the future?
Flexibility makes people happy
During epidemics, many people have experienced that the free time in the home office is more appropriate for them, so when it comes time to work, even in the office, there is a great desire to maintain the flexibility to decide for themselves. Ultimately, it is an important component of happiness and mental well-being. Verizon Business believes that well-being is right on the priority list for forward-looking companies. Being considered as an employee-centric employer is important for attracting and retaining the best skills – no matter what profession you are in.
Productivity: Home office almost overnight
Incidents associated with COVID 19 infection have shown that having the right technology is important for long-term sustainability. Companies with flexible infrastructure were able to adapt quickly last spring, which helped maintain both their operations and customer service.
In early March 2020, Verizon’s centralized crisis management team began preparing for the potential impact of business interruptions. Verizon’s management was notified of the plans on March 11, followed by other employees of the company.
– On Monday, March 16th, all of us who thought we could work from home started working from home. On March 23, 115,000 employees worked from home instead of about 4,000 out of 135,000 worldwide, as it was before, says Frederick Hollenborg, Nordic co-director at Verizon Business.
During this process, Verizon not only helped many employees to continue their regular work from home, but was able to transfer many employees to new roles. For example, retail employees affected by widespread store closures may perform other tasks such as telephone support.
Hybrid work environment: From planning to implementation
Once the goals for a modern office environment have been defined, it is time to move on to the actual process of restructuring.
Frederick Hollenborg continues:
– Each company should ask itself what works best in their particular workplace and what needs to be replaced, modified or expanded.
With the help of technology, for example, office space can be planned and managed smoothly. Visitor data can also be recorded easily and securely. Thus, employees will also know that they are best protected in the office.
Modern systems based on virtual and magnified reality technology are significantly more efficient in this regard than conventional room booking systems because they use sensors to detect which rooms are actually used and which rooms are not fully booked. The same sensors can be used to monitor room dwellings and provide high load alarms.
– Having the right technology is good, it not only improves security and cooperation in your workplace, but also makes your job easier, ”says Friedrich Hollenborg.
– Say goodbye to hard work. Sensors can help you plan and manage cleaning common areas in a smart way. Has the desk been used recently? Sensors can be detected immediately, interfering with the coating and generating a warning that they need to be cleaned.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) can help improve surveillance without increasing workload simultaneously. Face recognition systems, for example, can replace existing security systems, eliminating the need for communication and minimizing the risks of stolen identities and so-called tailgating – where an unauthorized visitor lurks behind someone.
Despite all the motivation and optimism, Verizon Business warns that implementing such a modernization process is complex and requires a lot of knowledge and expertise.
– Implementing smart rooms and access control systems with face recognition are not limited to cameras and sensors. These systems need to be integrated with existing business systems – be it physical security or employee records. After all, you don’t want to add too many new settings that are not compatible with different interfaces and authentication requirements, explains Friedrich Hollenborg.
– You need to collect all the data that comes in an organized and fast way to handle large amounts of data.
But if this is a new security technology or integrated solutions, systems that are unreliable or difficult to use are less likely to attract users – especially if they are designed to replace an existing solution.
Frederick Hollenborg compiles:
– It is important to select partners, implement technologies and design plans that will allow you to adapt to all the changes that the population, consumer preferences and competitive landscape have. The evaluation of the office environment can be significantly improved with the help of real-time data you receive through smart sensors and video analysis. This will help you develop a comprehensive understanding of your office property and how it is used. If something is not working as you thought it would, new technology can help identify and fix it quickly.
It is probably possible that this speed and agility will be the most important ingredient for success in the workplace of the future.