Pandemic lockdown soon made it clear that workplaces are never going to be the same again. And it’s also become obvious that FMs and office owners will be grappling with the results for a long time.
As home working has became both necessary and desirable for masses of workers and offices adapt painfully to socially distant co-working, there’s been a lot to take on board.
Many organisations are still struggling with rebuilding their business, protecting jobs and reviewing their operating models.
At ground level, FMs and office managers continue to deal with the day-to-day changes and restrictions that coronavirus has imposed upon so much of the world.
Many changes that have been made in the way we work will become permanent, even if a vaccine is created.
Twitter, for instance, has told its staff they can work from home forever – and many organisations have vowed that worker health and safety will never slip back down the agenda.
So what are the priorities for FMs and office managers catering for an evolving workscape?
4 factors you need to consider:
1. Increasing demand for mobility
2. Workspace for wellbeing
3. Dismantling FM silos
4. Enhancing collaboration.
Increasing demand for mobility
This was a growing factor long before Covid19, of course, but it’s even more important now.
Agile workers need to be able to locate and book their desk before they set foot in the office – no-one wants to waste time and create a potential risk by aimless wandering.
The best way to provide this seek-and-book facility is via a desk booking software app on their phone, linked with an easy-to-view floorplan that allows selection of workspace by parameters that can include co-location of colleagues, ambient temperature, quiet or lively space and available equipment.
Workspace for wellbeing
Extra facilities have been made available in response to the need for personal safety and proper social distancing.
For instance, desk panels can now show when a desk was last cleaned; thermal image sensors provide up-to-date information on occupancy levels, and tie in with desk booking software.
Dismantling facilities management silos
Technologies relating to FM have long been guilty of failing to connect up properly, hampering effectiveness and creating frustration and wasted time.
With efficiency more needed than ever before, office owners will be placing a high emphasis on dealing with these connectivity challenges, and technology suppliers will have to spend more time on providing end-to-end solutions.
Creating productive levels of collaboration in an agile and even dispersed workforce takes effort – and the right tools.
The world has become proficient at using virtual collaboration tools such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams.
The most efficient offices and organisations will continue to leverage these tools by supporting them with technology – for example, meeting room booking software that makes it simple to organise a video conference even across time zones.
Organisations across the world reacted fast to take on the chaos of the coronavirus crisis and keep going.
Those efforts, born out of the purest kind of necessity, have created the potential for a new way forward for workplaces, with flexibility providing productivity, cost reductions and enhanced wellbeing.
The future is not clear, and businesses continue their fight to deal with the aftermath of lockdown and crisis.
But as our workplaces continue to evolve, workspace technology such as meeting room booking software will continue to respond – and the facilities management industry will be at the forefront of creating a more agile working environment than we have ever seen before.