The role of the workplace has not changed since 2020 - its role remains to ensure that the workforce can be productive when in the office.
What is required of a workplace to deliver against that objective has changed significantly as the average staff member uses
the workplace much less frequently for some activities.
Though the World Health Organisation says that the global COVID-19 pandemic is not yet over, organisations of course need to continue to be productive and Property & Estates divisions need to ensure that their workplaces meet the evolving needs of the workforce.
Here are the key questions to be asking yourselves:
1. What should we be doing about the workplace right now?
No-one knows whether, or even if, a 'new normal' will occur. The chances are that there will be no stability which can be relied upon as COVID-19 variants come and go and their impact determined by a combination of their severity and the seasons.
For example, no stability has arisen yet - since 19 July 2021 - when the UK Government moved Engalnd to Step 4 of the roadmap thereby removing all legal COVID-related restrictions. From then to now organsiations have been able to bring staff back to the office without restriction - that is already a considerable time for an organisation to have a workplace which may not fully satisfy the evolving needs of staff.
Waiting for a new normal could be a long wait.
Now is the time to step up work to ensure that the workplace satisfies the needs of the organisation...
2. What does the organisation need from a Workplace right now?
Three key things:
- Work settings which best support the new range of activities which teams and staff are using (or want to use) the office for
- An environment which continues to adapt to support the evolving preferences and needs of the workforce during this time of extended change
- A solution which enables teams the opportunity to come together for collaboration without the need for extensive negotiations with other groups
Our Hybrid working solutions will enable you to identify specifically what your workforce needs from its workplace.
Our Workplace appraisal allows you to track the performance of your workplace and gives you what you need to adapt the solution to support the evolving needs of the workforce.
3. How much workplace does the organisation need and how much will we need? Can we consolidate to reduce costs?
What will happen to office utilisation levels over the short to medium term is difficult to predict.
Ultimately we want to maximise organisational productivity.
The better the provided work settings in the office - in both type and mix - match the needs of the workforce, the more we swing the productivity balance towards the office for certain activities.
By responding to the organisation's needs by providing the right work setting mix, we ensure that the utilisation of the workplace reflects the true demand.
Then we track the utilisation of the workplace to establish the organisation's overall requirment and the direction of the utilisation trend to inform what are options are at that next lease break.