By this point, we’ve all heard the benefits hybrid working offers: how it makes life easier for your employees, allows you to reduce spending on your premises and helps us all to lower our carbon footprint. But if you’re taking a hybrid approach to working, with some staff in-office and some working remotely, what does the ideal office space actually look like?
If 2020 has left you with fewer people in office and a drastically revised business continuity plan, the task of developing a robust capacity management and office usage roadmap might seem overwhelming. Thankfully, there are number of smart workplace solutions on the market that can help you ready your office for long-term remote working, whether you have a fixed plan in place already, or are looking to track office usage so you can make a more informed decision about your needs.
Many businesses, including ours, used the post-pandemic reopening as an opportunity to move from fixed desks to hotdesking. However, it’s important that you’re able to monitor how many people are in the office, how many desks are available and, if there are further lockdowns, whether they’ve been sanitised.
Many of our customers are administering their hotdesking arrangements ad hoc, using solutions like shared calendars. But for long-term use, we recommend something slightly more intelligent. For example, we worked with The Pensions Regulator to develop an in-office digital signage system that shows anyone entering their premises how many desks are available and where in the building they are.
We also have customers who are using a desk booking system which, much like a room booking system, shows employees when a desk is due to be used. When an employee leaves for the day, they’re able to flag their desk and having been used and in need of sanitisation before it can be booked again.
While users are working, we recommend the Apple ecosystem for all hybrid workers, as all their devices rely on Thunderbolt and over-the-air connectivity to share files, connect to external monitors and even charge – meaning no adaptors or rats' nests of wires cluttering your office.
If you have radically reconfigured your premises over the past 18 months, one important factor to consider as you move forward is whether you’re still delivering an impressive experience for visitors and prospective clients.
If your staff are unsure whether a room is free, have to spend time finding or moving between locations, or secure a space only to find it doesn’t have the resources they need, it could make a damning first impression on new clients. By moving to a centralised desk and room booking system with clear digital signage and integration into your business’s calendaring and sign in systems, your team will be able to put together a more polished experience, even if their workspace is in a state of flux.
We can also help you streamline your sign-in process so that registration, ID generation and any housekeeping is taken care of, meaning the experience is faster and more sanitary for your visitors.
If you’ve moved to a hybrid and/or flexible working model, the way your office space is used may be very different now. Perhaps all-hands meetings are going to stay virtual. Maybe instead of whiteboards you need browser-based solutions for collaborating remotely. Maybe certain departments are still holding in-person meetings, while others are using large meeting rooms for one-to-one calls or as closed offices when they need to work uninterrupted. Until you know all this, you won’t be able to use your space efficiently, or be aware of just how much you could reduce your footprint.
Usage tracking solutions can help you deduce:
· How often booked rooms are not used.
· How many people use rooms when they are booked (i.e. if meetings are between individuals, small groups or large groups).
· How long rooms are used for compared to how long they were booked for.
· Whether any AV or presentation systems in the room were used.
Armed with this data, you can build up an incredibly accurate picture of how each of your spaces is used. If you’re looking to move premises, this will allow you to gauge exactly what you need from a new space. It can also help you modify existing spaces to fit your team’s way of working, so that any floorspace or technology you invest in goes toward supporting their best work, not hindering it.
Let’s face it, many of the remote working solutions companies put together at the start of lockdown haven’t exactly been perfect for collaborative working. Sure, there are whiteboard apps that users can all log into, and industry-specific solutions for anyone working with visual media, but for day-to-day collaboration, it’s hard to beat feeling like you’re all in the same room.
That’s why we’ve started building bespoke collaborative environments for our customers. We take the their meeting platform of choice and combine it with displays, mics and meeting room controls that are designed to deliver the best quality audio visual experience for either a many-to-many or many-to-one meeting, so that everyone involved can be seen, heard and share assets effectively. (We also take care of all their underlying infrastructure, in order to reduce the chances of lagging, dropped connections or permissions issues.)
If you’re thinking of reconfiguring your workspace for flexible and/or hybrid working, there are a few questions we recommend asking yourself first:
· How many people can I safely have in the office and how will I track them?
· How will users find and book desks and resources?
· Do I really know how my rooms are being used?
· Are my meeting rooms set up with virtual collaboration in mind?
· Will clients who visit the premises still have a positive experience?
We can help you work out the answers to these questions, then design, install and support systems tailored to your business practices.
To find out more about our AV solutions, drop your details into the form below, call us on 03332 409 210 or email solutions@JIgsaw24.com.
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