Is your workspace ready for a post-Covid future?
4th March 2021
As the pandemic is slowly brought under control, how should you adapt your workplace to the ‘new normal’?
The end of the pandemic is gradually coming into focus, so it’s natural to start thinking about the future, not least in the workplace.
Given the changes that have occurred in people’s expectations, perceptions and behaviours over the past 12 months, what the return to work looks like will vary between businesses. So how can you identify what might work for you, and what you need to consider to ensure you get it right?
At MovePlan, we are already working with organisations across the globe to ensure a successful return to work. Based on our long experience and practical expertise, we have identified three key steps for delivering a successful return-to-work strategy.
1 – Assessment and planning
A good place to start is to undertake a thorough workplace assessment to help you fully understand where you’ve been, where you are and where you’re going.
As well as space and technology, the priority consideration is your people. Tools such as staff surveys, visioning sessions and focus groups can help you get a better idea of how employees are thinking. This will help you understand the appetite for change and engage people with your plans.
Use hard data too, such as badge swipes or industry benchmarking, for example, or review pre COVID data to understand how people utilised workspaces pre lockdown. Combining all this information will help you get a clear idea of what you need to do, to enable your people to perform at their best.
2 – Bringing about change
Once you’re clear about your goals, the next step is to define and implement the actions needed to reach them.
Think about what needs to change at an organizational, departmental and individual level, and what the impact will be. You may need to invest in technology such as online collaboration tools and cloud-based file-sharing software, for example, to achieve your aim of more flexible working.
Offer employees guidance and training in the new ways of working and explain the reasons behind it. Effective communication is also vital at this stage. Use techniques like newsletters, huddles, and discussions to inform and engage staff. And don’t be afraid to be creative. We helped one client organise a virtual scavenger hunt to help employees familiarise themselves with a new workspace. For another, we used a Minecraft game experience to bring a new building to life.
3 – Sustaining and reinforcing the new way of working
Once you’ve created the new working environment, keep supporting it otherwise people will tend to revert to the familiar.
Communicate with people regularly and consistently. Make sure people have the tools and training they need. Find out if there are any under-performing groups and reach out to them to provide further support. Equally, be sure to recognize and reward those who adapt well to new norms.
As our workplaces evolve, finding the right balance is a delicate process. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. But whatever strategy you adopt, it will require understanding, communication and consistency to deliver sustainable, effective change.