Explore how hybrid working will impact long and short term strategic decision making as FMs and CRE teams navigate adoption of hybrid work models and why workplace data is fundamental to creating a functional and cost effective workplaces.
Why workplace data matters now more than ever
Hybrid working has emerged as the foremost working model post-COVID19 and has quickly become the natural progression of existing trends within the workplace - similar to the adoption of Activity Based Working. The pandemic has served as a catalyst for change as employees demonstrated their ability to flex, making organisations face the truth regarding remote work, namely, that it’s viable.
After 18 months of remote working, employee sentiment has shifted with many willing to change jobs and even industries to find a working environment that meets their needs. This has been dubbed by many as The Great Resignation and has seen employees across all levels of work, services and industries leave jobs where their concerns were not acknowledged or in any way alleviated by employers. Predictably, employees remained in roles where they felt supported and valued.
Retaining and attracting talent
For those who manage the workplace and working patterns of employees this means it is vital that employee expectations are met in order to retain talent, and in this instance - with 87% of employees desiring remote working options - sentiment is clear.
Catering to multiple workstyles
This poses numerous challenges from a people, real estate and facilities perspective. Workplaces now need to cater to multiple working styles - whether an employee is fully remote, part time or fully office based - and ensure that the correct spaces are available and the tools necessary to access them are seamlessly integrated.
It is the combination of these factors which drives the importance of workplace data in strategic planning. HR, FM and CRE teams need to collaborate to create a working framework which not only supports employees’ productivity and wellbeing, but is also highly responsive and cost effective.
Changes to strategic planning
Under hybrid work models new considerations have emerged in the workplace which require constant attention.
1. Asset provision
Under hybrid models, a 1:1 employee to desk allocation ratio is extremely wasteful. Organisations need to ensure they understand how many employees require access to the office on any given day in order to provide the right number of workstations.
Additionally, departmental usage of space will vary as certain roles require different tools and access to the workplace. Organisations will need to implement the necessary policy to ensure that maximum capacity is not exceeded.
Furthermore, employees working from home for part of the week will divide their workload accordingly, leaving individual work for the home and venturing into the office for collaborative tasks, meaning that demand for meeting rooms and shared spaces will increase.
Combining these considerations highlights the importance of accurate and behavioural based asset provision, as struggling to access the spaces required will lead to frustration and unnecessary delays to projects as well as loss of productivity.
Impacts on lease negotiations
These problems will be further exacerbated as organisations grow. Understanding how departments and roles are accessing spaces is central to accurately forecasting growth, which in effect enables CRE teams to remove the guesswork from lease negotiations.
Implement an occupancy solution to monitor the usage of various assets to identify which assets are most in demand and which can be repurposed.
Leverage occupancy data to understand departmental behaviour and allocate space accordingly.
Tailor workplace place around employee behaviour by creating role-based mobility profiles.
Figure 1: Space utilisation analytics
2. Employee wellbeing
Throughout the pandemic there has been an increased awareness of the importance of physical and mental wellbeing with an increasing expectation for employers to take an active role in safeguarding their employees.
In hybrid environments, in which some will be working remotely for significant periods, this raises questions about how teams can expand their culture outwards to include those who aren’t physically present. Additionally, employers need to ensure that they are providing the correct tools and workstations to remote employees. Employers have a duty of care for all employees, not only those that they can see and it is important that no one falls through the cracks.
COVID19 has bought great attention to the importance of providing a safe working environment. Our understanding of viral transmission within indoor settings has greatly increased, with current studies indicating that viral transmission occurs as virus laden particulate matter builds up within the air as people respire. Therefore, it is vital that facilities teams ensure that building’s HVAC systems are doing enough to ventilate spaces to guarantee safe Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) levels.
Install environmental sensors throughout workplaces to monitor humidity and temperature to ensure that the risk of viral transmission is minimised and immune response is maximised.
Monitor CO2 levels as a proxy measure for particulate build up to respond immediately to any dangerous spikes.
Combine occupancy and environmental data to identify trends between occupancy levels and IAQ to fine tune workplace policies.
Figure 2: Indoor air quality analytics
Hybrid environments hinge around the ability of employees to access the spaces they require at the time of their own choosing, and competing for space benefits nobody - especially after commuting. Therefore, it is imperative that organisations introduce the systems necessary which enable employees to navigate hybrid frameworks.
Introduce a centralised booking system to enable employees to plan their working week, choosing the time and location best suited to their tasks whilst reducing competition for space and overcrowding within the workplace.
Automate operational processes, such as releasing unused reserves spaces and check-in, by integrating occupancy sensors into booking solutions.
Figure 3: Quickly identify available and unavailable spaces to use
Want to learn more?
Whether you need help with workplace analytics, consultation on your strategy or guidance on your workplace plans, we're here to help. Call us on +44 (0)20 3868 4376 or