How offices have changed…

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on how businesses operate has been significant – widespread temporary brick-and-mortar office closures, social distancing and limited staff numbers on-site for those businesses that have been able to stay operational are just some of the adjustments that have been made as businesses try to adapt to new working protocols.

The situation has forced a raft of innovations and agile working practices as teams have been quick to adopt video conferencing tools, flexible working hours, smaller and more flexible working spaces and other changes to ‘usual working practices’ to help keep their businesses as operational as possible during the crisis.

But in reality, what Covid-19 has done is accelerate certain aspects of a process that was already underway. The days of businesses needing or wanting a big, imposing HQ building that costs huge amounts to rent or own, has numerous wasted spaces and is normally inconveniently situated for the majority of staff are in decline.

Similarly, work-life balance has become a core part of many employee’s priorities – in exchange for a diligent approach to tasks within an outcome-based performance measurement system, employees expect their employer to apply a flexible, considerate approach to working conditions.

This shift towards a better work/life balance, evidence that agile and flexible working practices improve productivity and lower cost, and constantly improving technologies that enhance remote connectivity and working have seen more and more businesses evolve away from the static model towards an agile approach.

Things to consider

But what are the key considerations you need to make when setting up your business’s agile approach for the current situation, and beyond 2020? Here are some specific questions you need to consider to kickstart your agile approach the right way…

  1. Time Shift – how are you able to adjust working hours to suit the roles people in your organisation play? Does it suit some people better to come in early and leave early, or come in later and leave later? For some people a split-shift may be best. Test options with your staff and find a median-point that introduces these flexibilities whilst serving the needs of the business, and adhering to current protocols.
  2. On-duty Agility – if staff need to step away during work hours to deal with something outside of work, get some exercise, fetch a child from school, go to a medical appointment or similar, how can you and the staff member involved work that out? Is it necessary for them to ‘work the hours back’? Or if they’re able to complete the required tasks despite having been out for a while, is that sufficient? Discuss a policy with your staff that works for everyone, including how to initiate a ‘step away’ request and what expectations are on both sides.
  3. Off-site Capability – how easily and sensibly can you implement a regular work-from-home or remote location working policy? Are all employees set up with the right tools to do so? Do they have the necessary connectivity? What are the expectations on both sides in terms of output, availability for calls/conferencing and working hours? Work with your staff to understand what it is they need to perform at their best whilst away from the office, and set expectations for productivity on both sides so that everyone is clear on what is expected.
  4. In-Office Flexibility – how intelligently is your current office space set up to cope with the agility of the above 3 points? Hot-desking that allows any employee to occupy any desk in the office, App-based scheduling tools for simple visibility and booking of conference rooms and facilities, flexible working hours that limit the number of people on-site but connects the right people in the office at the right time – these are just some of the considerations you’ll need to make…

Fortunately, Officescape is here to help you set up your on-site premises to support the full spectrum of your agile working approach.

Get in touch with one of our consultants today to find out how we can help you set your office up for maximum flexibility, intelligently-designed collaborative working spaces and quiet zones and more to maximise employee health, wellbeing and productivity.

Call us on 01223 581 185 or for more information.

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