As employees consider their return to the workplace following the easing of lockdown restrictions, businesses must adapt their premises to recover quickly, according to Mitie’s new guide – Bouncing Back: Building the future workplace.
While traditionally workspaces were thought of as places to perform set work tasks, increasingly businesses are using these spaces to facilitate collaboration, learning, and networking among colleagues. Though this trend was emerging prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been accelerated by lockdown restrictions and the mass move to home working. With the widespread adoption of hybrid and remote working fuelled by lockdown, workspace design increasingly needs to adapt to current and future ways of working.
Mitie has identified four pillars of activity that need to be considered to ensure premises provide the most effective working environment for colleagues and visitors.
Investment in colleague confidence: After more than a year of working from home for some, many employees will be apprehensive about returning to their workplace. Investing in solutions that focus on safety and security, particularly those that are easy to spot around the building, will provide peace of mind. However, for it to be most effective, this investment must be coupled with strong communications so that employees are aware and reassured by the measures put in place by their employer.
Design for success: Putting colleague-experience at the centre of workplace design is essential, with the environment built around the needs of the employees that are using the space. Understanding how colleagues perform their tasks and processes will ensure the move to agile or hybrid working, is effective, as it will focus on creating spaces employees actually need. This will drive both productivity and wellbeing.
Data and fact driven change: As with any key business decision, making changes to the workplace shouldn’t be based on a hunch. Where colleagues work has a significant impact on how they feel about their role and employer, so facts and data must drive any changes that are made. Understanding and tracking how the workplace is performing from the colleagues’ perspective will ensure these spaces can adapt to organisational culture, remain inclusive, and are empathetic to wellbeing.
Technology enabled: Technology has a role in every part of modern life and the workplace experience should be no different. User-friendly and intuitive technologies, such as desk-booking or food ordering apps, improve colleague experience, foster a sense of safety and security, and deliver productivity benefits. Technology can also share data on how spaces could be used for other purposes or costs reduced.
The guide has been launched as Mitie reopens its own Head Office at The Shard in London, following an extensive site review and the roll-out of a broad range of solutions to support a safe, secure and productive return to the office.
Carlo Alloni, Managing Director, Technical Services and Integrated Facilities Management, Mitie, said: “How we work has changed unimaginably over the past year and so our workplaces must change too. While many of us have realised the benefits of working from home, effective workspaces will continue to play a key role in keeping colleagues productive and providing a space for collaboration that can’t be replicated online. Businesses that best understand, and harness, the relationship between their workplace, people, and technology will be the ones who bounce back from lockdown the quickest.”
Bouncing Back: Building the future workplace is available to download here.