Return to the Office: 3 Lessons We’ve Learned
Today battlelines are being drawn. Two years ago you sent your team home and gave them the tools they needed to get work done. Workers were not happy, but they had no choice. Today, it’s a different story. Many knowledge workers are resisting the command to come back into office full time and fighting for the freedom to choose where they do their work. They are on the frontiers of the new work world, Meanwhile, most companies are still stuck in the trenches – without a clear vision for the future work environment.
#1 Hybrid is the new normal
Like it or not, flexibility is part of the new world. The quicker employers come to terms with it, the faster they can get past their knee-jerk pandemic strategies and adopt robust hybrid practices that serve organizational and employee goals. The best time to start was yesterday, the second best is now!
WHAT’S HOT: Flexibility
The data is in that new working patterns which give employees agency, flexibility and a mix of in-office time with self-managed work is productive. A Stanford study of 16,000 workers shows that this hybrid model can raise productivity by as much as 13%. It can also open the door to incredible talent.
“My access to top talent has gone through the roof,” he says. “It takes me half the time to recruit great people when I tell them they can work anywhere.” – Sean Regan, Head of Product Marketing, Atlassian Corp.
WHAT’S NOT: Rigidity
Political and management resistance to implementing hybrid is an indication of how hard it is to change established habits, and command-and-control models. But a willingness to explore new ways is the only way to face current reality.
“My experience of working from home is you spend an awful lot of time making another cup of coffee and then, you know, getting up, walking very slowly to the fridge, hacking off a small piece of cheese, then walking very slowly back to your laptop and then forgetting what it was you’re doing,”
– Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of UK
Kloudspot normalizes hybrid and remote work
Kloudspot bridges the gap between onsite and remote employees through a harmonized work experience. We’ve built a platform that streamlines access to work and collaboration across physical and digital places. By declaring and sharing presence, employees start their day the same way from wherever the are working. They can and be seen in a virtual office along with their team, colleagues, and the rest of the organization.
#2 Physical space is still important
Offices are no longer the only spaces where people can collaborate, connect and build social capital. But being human also means wanting spaces for in-person connection, to collaborate, brainstorm and socialize. The pandemic has shifted the focus from workplaces designed for efficiency to those designed for effectiveness, inclusion, resilience and sustainability.
WHAT’S HOT: Workplace experience
The data is in that new working patterns which give employees agency, flexibility and a mix of in-office time with self-managed work is productive. A Stanford study of 16,000 workers shows that this hybrid model can raise productivity by as much as 13%.It can also open the door to incredible talent.
“To help create and keep a sense of community in our company, that you can’t really get over Zoom, we’re thinking about our offices as destinations for our employees. We want it to be very intentional and maximize the production and connection that you get when you’re meeting in real life.” – Avril Eklund, CPP, CFE, Senior Director of Workplace Experience + Security at GitHub
WHAT’S NOT: Pointless presenteeism
(On wanting employees back in office): “I absolutely have sympathy with Goldman Sachs and any organization trying to balance what it needs to do on a daily basis. But what I would say to all the business leaders and policymakers is please, take a look around you. Please read the room.” – Julia Hobsbawm, author of The Nowhere Office: Reinventing Work and the Workplace of the Future
Kloudspot right-sizes space
We’re at a pivotal moment in the evolution of office. Kloudspot’s AI and machine learning engines pull data from multiple sources to give business a clear, consolidated picture of their environment. With a clear understanding of the actual and optimal usage of space, organizations can bridge the physical and digital worlds to meet the unique needs of every team – and even specific roles.
#3 Supercharge your communication strategy
Make it easy for employees to share information and their opinions, collaborate within and across teams and innovate. What workers want most from management, on the issue of corporate culture, are more remote work resources, updated policies on flexibility and more communication from leadership. Democratize communications and encourage opinions, participation and engagement.
WHAT’S HOT: Authentic communication
In response to the trend of newfound flexibility, Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky announced the company’s approach to allow employees to live and work anywhere. The message that clearly outlined the company’s policy and strategy resonated with readers and could benefit the business. In the three days following the announcement, the company’s careers page witnessed a surge of 800,000 visitors.
WHAT’S NOT: No Strategy
A recent survey of full-time corporate or government employees found that a full two-thirds say that their employers either have not communicated a post-pandemic office strategy or have only vaguely done so. This failure to design a strategy and communicate clearly will hurt morale, culture and retention.
Kloudspot grounds strategy in reality
With Kloudspot’s analytics, insights and feedback loop business leaders measure, adapt and improve remote, hybrid programs. A dashboard provides analytics and insights for any business leaders to understand, manage and optimize the physical and digital workspace needs and design new employee experiences. And for managers, teams and ICs to better understand how they make work happen. With Kloudspot you can adapt and evolve strategies that make full use of available technologies, and evolve in line with employee expectations.
Hot or not? It’s up to you.
Of course, you have options. You could armor up and fight for things to go back the way they were. You could hunker down, bury your head in the sand and wait till the hullaballoo blows over before making any decisions. But we’re thinking if you got this far you are flexible, keep up with the times, and want to use this opportunity to redesign work, build trust and recruit top talent. The story is being written at this moment in time. Kloudspot is here to help.