When tech conglomerates and banking giants all, one by one, announced their permanent remote work options, it’s time to analyse the massive global switch to work-from-home culture and to understand what we can gain by going back into the office. Why? Well, because hybrid work models are likely to persist post-COVID. And according to McKinsey & Company, which analysed over 2,000 activities in over 800 occupations, this is especially true for the highly educated, well-paid portion of the workforce.
Digging a bit deeper, for most employees, the perks of working from home are split into five categories:
Last month, we attended a "Workplace Strategy" summit where we learned a lot about bringing employees back into the office. During this convention, we heard from leaders Maria-Danielle Penny, Mark Mitchell and Paul Edwards. They addressed questions like:
What do employees want from the workplace?
What are the unintended consequences of hybrid working?
What is the role of the building owner/landlord in creating these new spaces?
Before we get into all of it, though, if there's one thing you take away from this blog, it's that the benefits of remote work we mentioned above are all valid. But there are downsides as well. Likewise, working from the office doesn't have to mean squashing these perks entirely.
Spending more time at home and less time with others in the workplace, employees may start seeing some of these drawbacks that accompany remote working.
When it comes to the unforeseen consequences of working from home, it's worth mentioning:
Ultimately, no system is perfect, and working from home is no exception
How can we actually adapt workplaces to fit the wants and needs of employees? We can start by figuring out what those wants and needs are. And sometimes, it's not what you think.
With ongoing pandemic concerns, employees want to feel safe when returning to their workspaces. According to Gensler's Winter 2021 survey, indoor air filtration systems, access to more private spaces, and vaccination requirements are all popular features among workers. Operable windows and outdoor workspaces are also attractive.
Property managers should also consider the evolving necessity for:
Some add-ons that could contribute to employee satisfaction are:
While the workspaces for different types of organisations require their own unique setups, employees themselves often have similar wishes.
Following the work-from-home revolution, the only way to get employees back to the office long-term is to welcome them back with amenities that address their new expectations.
So, what, exactly, are the changes we have to make? According to studies conducted by the likes of Harvard Business Review and Gensler Research Institute, fundamental modifications could look like the following:
All of these modifications are just examples of what can be done to transform a workspace. The sky is really the limit here.
From a wider lens, the fireside chat between Qantas, Ernst & Young, and Suncorp on “How to get people back into the office” revealed the importance of flexible lease terms for businesses to create more flexibility in their workspaces. For example, Suncorp’s Design and Business Integration Manager Maria Danielle Penny explained that with their organisation shifting to a hybrid work model, flexibility was negotiated into the company’s contract with Mirvac. On top of that, she also suggested a greater emphasis on events for landlords to drive tenant and staff engagement.
When it comes to the person who manages the property or building, they must make necessary changes while balancing costs. Some modifications are relatively inexpensive and easy to implement (testing and repairing alarms, buying a few indoor plants), while others require more time and resources (replacing air filtration systems, changing entire office layouts, overhauling furniture and appliances, etc.).
Sometimes, making a few changes can go a long way. Ask yourself questions like:
Of course, starting from scratch and getting people back into the office can sound daunting! We want to point you toward some services to help you get started.
Regarding any changes in parking services and vehicle accessibility, we recommend checking out our own services here at Parkable. Parkable is a super intuitive way to manage staff and tenant parking. Our flexible, user-friendly platform and app enable property owners and managers to create a system that makes driving into the office a more accessible, easy process for everyone involved.
We also recommend looking into Axiom, a design firm specialising in workplace transformation. They've been in the biz for 25 years and specialise in creating thriving, strategic workspaces through their integrated methodology. And you may also want to explore the services of XY Sense, a workplace sensor and analytics platform. Using AI, XY Sense helps workplace teams to better understand and optimise office space.
Now that employees have had this new work-from-home experience, the daily commute may seem less worthwhile than it used to. And so, the workspace itself must offer a more satisfactory experience than working remotely.
The first thing a commuter experiences upon ending their drive to their workplace is the parking situation. Any workplace can begin "earning” that commute right there in the parking lot with Parkable. It improves the employee experience by providing them with bookable parking, seamless access, cashless payment, and automated resolution. And it's super easy to learn how to use the platform, so the entire process is seamless.
"Never before has the office parking conundrum been so difficult; sparked by employees globally returning to offices in a very different manner to pre-Covid ways of working," explains CEO of Parkable Toby Littin. "Companies are facing very real challenges in ensuring their office parking is as flexible as their hybrid working policies. Too often, parking sits empty, and can't be easily shared between those coming into the office."
Welcoming employees back into the workspace means recognising that they are individuals who have wants and needs that have evolved with time that must be addressed. Changing the spaces in which they work to be more hospitable will sweep away the dread of coming in to work. And as soon as these employees pull onto their workspace property, they can experience that hospitality with Parkable.
Solving workplace parking problems is vital to an effective facility management program, but it's also a complicated proposition. Managing parking lots at scale will quickly become more complex than you may have bargained for.
The workplace is changing. Even in the last 3 years, tenant needs have changed, demanding greater flexibility, improved amenities and more of a focus on workplace experience.
Get in touch if you would like more information about tenant or employee parking software!