The global “work from home” challenge has tested how well companies are prepared to back the remote work infrastructure with technology.
Some leveraged it with success, others managed to embrace the tech just temporarily. In any case, the coronavirus has acted as a catalyst in expanding business’ digital capabilities.
Truth is, the digital endeavor is not bound to stop when we are finally back to the office. To keep up with the inevitable transformation in a modern workplace, investment in collaboration platforms and smart office technology will grow.
So what shifts should be expected in the near future, and what technology should you look for?
Rethinking office spaces and inventory
The open plan has been a highly controversial office design choice for quite a while, and it is not going to get less disputed after the coronavirus pandemic fades. Until now, the open office plan has been raining questions about productivity, but health and safety concerns are slowly entering the picture too. As innovators are now talking about accessible office disinfectant stations or even no-touch elevators, adjusting workplaces to the “healthy” direction and de-densifying them will get to your agenda very soon.
- YAROOMS – the meeting room booking software, allowing everyone in your organization book shared spaces and avoid double reservations. It can help you rethink dynamic seating and play a part in assigning workplaces, even temporarily. Are you thinking of limiting the amount of people in certain facilities, restricting tech sharing, or aiming at ramping up the cleanliness? YAROOMS has a great services or equipment request feature, which will ensure the proper room readiness before booking.
- To reduce the flow of people, you might need to limit entry to the office building or specific areas within it. Kisismart lock system lets you manage and monitor the access. The best part – traditional key cards can be replaced with a phone, so you can use it to avoid additional contact with surfaces.
- If you are considering moving office furniture or making other minor adjustments to depopulate the most crowded office areas, Edraw will simplify the planning process. The tool allows you to create virtual office plans, blueprints, cubicles and test your change ideas virtually, before putting them into practice.
A big role for HR
As the main connection between the company and its employees, human resources departments will continue having a lot on their plate. Out of the health and safety concerns, the sick leave policies will likely be softened by many, raising a need for effective leave and expense tracking. Flexible or remote working, once considered a benefit, will become a perk highly expected by employees, and will have to be properly addressed. As a result, HR efforts to maintain the company culture, convey its values, and encourage employee engagement will have to be adapted to a less centralized working environment.
- ai – your workplace’s Siri (or Alexa). In other words, it is a great AI/chatbot solution, extremely useful in making important information available to your employees – especially in the times of uncertainty or change. With Socrates.ai, you can record internal documentation in one place, rewrite content into consumable chat-bot-type responses, and let your employees (wherever they are) find answers to the most pressing questions within seconds.
- If you are reviewing your leave policies, actiPlans can be the right tool to streamline this process. It offers a request and approval workflow, gives an overview of available human resources, and provides informative reports so you can evaluate the most common tendencies and their impact on business.
- Strong company culture is closely intertwined with healthy employee relations, fostered both on-site and remotely. With HR Acuity, you can identify, track and investigate employee issues, uncover trends and proactively address problems. Keeping track of the relations between your increasingly remote workforce can be a puzzling task, just as well as ensuring their well being – here, HR Acuity can be a great help.
Telecommuting is here to stay
An increase in a remote style of working is not the only reason to strengthen your telecommuting capabilities. Although business trips are expected to spur the recovery for the travel industry, for a while, many will think twice before hopping on a plane for a work assignment. If you had teams flying back and forth between offices, the necessity of such movement will need to be reconsidered, putting the employee safety first.
To avoid reduced productivity and miscommunication when movement is compromised, think through your operations carefully. Do your employees travel to share knowledge? Manage complex projects? Follow-up on tasks real-time? All of this can be conducted virtually, too.
- Instagantt might be worth a try if you are looking for a powerful project management software. It helps with planning and scheduling tasks, timelines and workload, by providing an accurate visual representation on the project and its progress to everyone involved – which makes it a perfect fit for remote collaboration. Additionally, Instagantt is also compatible with another widely-used project management solution, Asana, to help you stay ahead of the team collaboration game.
- Zoho Wiki is an affordable and easy-to-use knowledge management tool. It allows you to build a company’s wiki: upload, organize, and categorize content needed for internal training, induction programs, etc. The content can be shared with specific individuals, teams, or whole organizations.
- Sometimes, the biggest remote work challenge is not coordinating teamwork, but maintaining individual productivity. That’s where Serene can come in handy. Basically, it is your personal shield from distractions. During a session, Serene can block various websites, silence the phone, update your Slack status, and many more – everything to help you keep the laser focus and operate in an optimal deep work environment.
In one way or another, every organization will deal with strengthening human resources, embracing flexible working styles, and rethinking shared spaces. Your ability to spot the upcoming changes and perceive them as opportunities for improvement is the straight way to a futureproof business.