You’re rushing to attend an early meeting. It has cost you a long commute now that you’ve moved to a home farther away from your office because remote work has been an option since the pandemic struck. You barely make it on time and then find out it’s been cancelled due to the fact that the person who called the meeting forgot to reserve a conference room.
You won’t be the last one to face such an issue in our brave new world. The way companies and individuals think about workplaces will never be the same again. While most jobs in marketing, retail, hospitality, manufacturing and similar sectors cannot be executed remotely due to their very nature, hundreds of others really don’t need employees to be in offices to get work done.
So even as everything is scuttling back to normal, a lot of organizations continue to allow a blend of in-office and remote work facilities in the hopes of keeping workers from jumping ship. A hybrid office space comes with its own set of headaches for everyone involved, of course. Tech is helping solve some of these problems, even in areas you wouldn’t think needed the extra aid.
Space optimization services:
Many companies who’ve embraced the hybrid workplace have also cut back on the amount of floor space they rent since employees are being required to attend work in person only some days a week on a rotating basis. In a few other cases, social distancing norms have reduced the amount of usable office space. Here’s where meeting room manager software makes itself useful.
Automated space optimization tools prevent scenarios such a crowding, double-booking of conference rooms and confusion arising out of badly organized hot desking, for starters. A really good one will have extra options like attendee check-in to notify anyone who needs the space if the meeting has been cancelled suddenly, setting of permission levels, automatic creation of work orders to book catering or A/V equipment and similarly relevant services.
Remote training programs for onboarding new employees:
Another challenge organizations increasingly have to deal with it is onboarding new employees who need to be trained on the job and prefer coming in to work for the added benefit of socializing with colleagues. On the other side are older employees who are expected to train the fresh recruits, but are hesitant to leave the comfort of their home and more flexible schedule just for this.
Some companies have been able to look towards technology to solve the problem to a certain extent. Uploading instructional videos that are accessible via the cloud and viewable at a pace suited to each trainee is one option. Video chats and feedback-collating software are also receiving wider acceptance as an alternative to in-person discussions between trainers and newcomers.
AI-based payroll analytics:
There’s a well-researched phenomenon called proximity bias which indicates that people might act more favorably towards those they’re in contact with. In the post-pandemic, hybrid workplace world, this idea is causing folks who grind from home to worry about missing out on promotions because they’re not in direct contact with higher-ups. Prudential’s Pulse of the American Worker Survey says 2 in 3 remote workers believe in-person interactions are important for advancing their careers
Entrepreneurs have been chipping away at solutions for issues like this. Take for example, Gapsquare, a UK startup that uses specialized software and machine learning to help companies keep an analytical eye on payroll data so everyone, irrespective of gender and ethnicity, is receiving a fair remuneration for their work. It can identify the important variables for employee demographics, find the causes of pay gaps, and propose remedial actions.
Smarter communication software:
Streamlining collaborative and reporting efforts by using smart communications software accessible to every employee is vital to maintaining a healthy hybrid workplace. Platforms like Microsoft Teams and Slack which also support workflow management tools for keeping tabs on to-do lists, ongoing projects, feedback implementation and so on are ideally suited to such a work environment.
Cloud-centered productivity tools:
There’s hardly any need to explain this point in detail — if businesses are going to adopt a hybrid work space policy, employees should be able to pick up where they left off and continue working from home or the office. This is where secure, cloud-based productivity tools and all its supporting services come in.
Every organization will have a specific set of requirements to meet their needs and wants, based on the industry in which they operate. Our list covers some of the basic tech tools businesses should look into if they wish to continue offering employees the perks of a hybrid workplace in 2022 and beyond.