The office we live in today is halfway between the office that was and what will be. How then to manage this transitional workplace? The webinar “How can I get my workforce back to the Office?”, organized by Condeco and included in our WOWbinar column, provided some interesting analysis points. A technologically organized workplace based on 5 essential keywords: flexibility, collaboration, socialization, wellbeing and coordination.
The pre corona virus office was often characterized by fixed workstations, very occasional homeworking, face-to-face meetings, environments designed for certain activities and manageable through technology and a specific corporate organizational culture. This was the starting point as described by Donna Forshaw, vice president of Sales America Condeco, who led the webinar.
The pandemic had positive and negative effects on this scenario. For example, American workers number among the positive aspects the commuting time and money savings, the more flexibility in organizing their work, and also the possibility to wear more comfortable clothes while working, were positive. On the other hand, the feelings of isolation and the difficulties of concentration and motivation were the most complained.
Now a simple formula can guide companies to return to the office:
change of habitual behaviours + change of mentality + change of expectations = allowing collaboration, flexibility and productivity.
Or, said in another way, since we have experienced that you can work anywhere, we must go back to the office mainly because it is the place not only for working but also for so much more.
Today, we live an office halfway between what has been and what will be, a transitional workplace, as Donna Forshaw defined it, still characterized by the emphasis on hygiene measures and the need for safety, but which embodies the potential of online work we’ve done in the past few months.
The role of technology, therefore, becomes crucial: there is a need for a “working schedule technology” that allows you to organize spaces and meetings, regulating flows and density, with tools already in use – such as desks and meeting room management software – and new ones, for example, apps for contact tracing, which becomes essential in the post-pandemic period characterized by a more mobile workforce and a more flexible organization.
In addition, technology also helps us to meet those needs that we all became more aware of during the corona virus crisis, such as being always informed about the company’s activities and the health conditions of colleagues, the ability to choose where and how to work and the reception of clear guidelines in real-time.
Eventually, to help the reorganization of the transitional office, Condeco listed 5 points:
- Flexibility: allowing people to decide where they want to work, both from home, third spaces and in offices.
- Collaboration: using the office for project-based activities or for teamwork.
- Socialization: connecting employees and the organization with each other to maintain corporate culture.
- Wellbeing: increase the sense of wellbeing by making employees free to choose the way they want to work.
- Coordination: making sure that the right tools are always bookable in the right space, in the right time and for the right activity.
Text by Gabriele Masi.