Here’s how occupancy and booking data can be leveraged by HR teams to plan work rotations as offices reopen, focussing on why businesses need to prepare to enable flexible work, and the importance of workplace data in promoting employee health and safety and fostering long term resilience in the workplace.
1. Why are work rotations important?
There can be no return to pre-COVID19 norms in the workplace. Employees have demonstrated the ability to function effectively from home and now expect their relationship with work to adapt to reflect this.
The implications on office space
This is not to say however, that the office is dead. Working remotely has proven challenging for many, who either miss the social element of the office or don’t have a suitable work environment in the home. Furthermore, businesses have struggled to recreate the collaborative and spontaneous nature of office interactions, and are keen to bring people together once again.
Hybrid work environments are emerging globally as the solution, with giants such as Google making the change. Under this model:
Employees decide for themselves when and for what tasks they journey into the workplace
Organisations provide them with a variety of spaces to work at
The necessary tools are provided to ensure finding and reserving spaces is a simple and quick process
As such, the introduction of booking systems is central to the success of hybrid workplaces.
Providing flexibility to employees
In a post-pandemic environment the importance of enabling employees to locate the spaces they require, and assess for themselves what level of occupancy they are comfortable with cannot be overstated. The health and safety of employees needs to be the top priority for HR teams as employees return, and ensuring that capacity remains at an appropriate level is the most effective way to minimise risk.
2. The role of booking systems in hybrid workplaces
HR and Facilities teams can release and withhold spaces within the workplace as social distancing guidelines evolve using a seat or room booking system.
The data gathered from these systems further allows HR teams to:
Fine tune their return to work policies, as they’re afforded a birds eye view of departmental behaviour
Understand how assets throughout the workplace are being used as limitations on space is inevitable, providing insights necessary to make informed decisions regarding work rotations
Create a safe work environment
Policies and tools within hybrid work environments need to be completely aligned to create a safe framework in which employees are free to work. Gaining insights into how employees interact with the workplace enables HR teams to remove the guesswork when introducing shift rotations and staggering employees’ return to work.
Furthermore, booking systems provide a centralised point of reference for employees, removing worries regarding missed communication as the system itself demonstrates any changes, highlighting where and when is available on an individual basis.
3. Leveraging occupancy data in long term planning
Booking and occupancy data play a central role in creating a fit for purpose workplace in the long term. With employees thinking critically about their tasks at hand, and the environment best suited to them, it is vital that the spaces they require are readily available to them.
Frustration will rapidly grow if collaborative or private areas are difficult to access. Measuring the usage of assets and the assets which are most regularly sought after allows teams to repurpose spaces which are under-utilised. Not only will this increase employee UX within the workplace, but also the cost effectiveness of real estate portfolios as empty spaces represent a sunken cost.
Understand how departments use workspaces
As organisations grow, demands on space inevitably change. However, by understanding how departments are interacting with and accessing assets throughout the week, HR teams are better equipped to forecast for growth without having to expand on their real estate portfolio.
Optimise the usage of space
Combining booking and occupancy data, in conjunction with evidence based workplace policy allows teams to optimise the usage of their space. Not only is this beneficial from a cost perspective, but it is also something that business leaders should be striving to achieve from an environmental perspective.
Build a sustainable future
In the UK, emissions from buildings accounted for 34% of total greenhouse gas emissions in 2014. Powering and heating buildings is extremely damaging to the environment, and developing further office spaces when existing spaces are under-utilised is neglectful.
We have a responsibility to be doing more to be environmentally conscious, and ensuring that our workplaces are used efficiently and to their full potential is one way to make a difference.
Introduce a booking system to enable HR teams to limit occupancy, ensuring that the office remains a safe environment for employees to return to and make evidence based policy decisions
Understanding how departments and teams interact with the workplace enables HR teams to plan for growth without increasing real estate footprint
Monitor the usage of workplace assets to allow HR and Facilities teams to understand what spaces are required by employees, and create a fit for purpose workplace
Remove the need for unnecessary and environmentally damaging real estate expansions by leveraging occupancy data to get the most out of your workplace
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