It’s no secret that many businesses, both large and small, have had their worlds turned upside down by the current pandemic.
Many have had entire workforces shifted from the office, resorting to working from home to stay operational, and now are grappling with what their operations will look like in the future.
It also raises questions about what they might need further down the line. How do employees return to the frontline? Do you need all the resources you had before?
There is also the tension of addressing the well-being of both employees and the company itself to maintain viability.
So what can be done to help businesses adapt to the new climate, and protect both worker and company?
How do they strike the right balance between work and wellness, as many continue to have their team work from home for the foreseeable future?
No Place Like Home
For many smaller businesses, the current economic climate has presented many financial challenges. The shift to working from home has meant that many people have vacated offices and workspaces leaving them as potential ghost towns.
Yet as workers realise the cost savings and efficiencies they can achieve from working remotely, many are likely to revisit exactly how they will use their physical workplace in the future.
If a smaller workforce can achieve the same goals by working remotely, it may present a compelling case for them to change the way they currently utilise their communal office space.
This shift will certainly provide release from the previously accepted “norm” that a business needed an office first and foremost. And according to OBT CEO Shane Muller “many no longer have the fear of needing an office to be taken seriously.”
Finding a good balance
While reviewing the way the centralised office is used will be part of the conversation for some, many firms, especially larger organisations, will still rely heavily on their physical space.
This means that they will need to find new ways to integrate staff into the physical workspace while allowing or encouraging them to still work remotely when required (or in many cases, when desired!).
But separating people due to social distancing while in the workplace may have a negative effect. The social aspect of working together can generate an increased rate of productivity with Forbes discovering that productivity increased by 21% when employees were engaged with their tasks in the workplace.
It would be hard to achieve these stats by having a few workers scattered around the entire building every day, as if their only connection is virtual it does mount the case for working from home or a dedicated (possibly cheaper) location that is closer to home.
Trialling schemes such as themed work days can help ease employees back into the daily grind after spending long periods away from the office. By doing this, it can also help make a seamless introduction into the new hybrid working format that many professionals face.
Working from home can be beneficial for some but there is no doubt it presents a whole new array of challenges to overcome. There are many distractions to overcome when working from home such as environmental factors (family, pets) as well as a never-ending cascade of messages and phone calls to overcome.
These are issues that don’t present themselves in the workplace (as much) and can have a significant impact on areas where teamwork plays a vital role.
It’s this feeling that Muller believes is vital for larger businesses to sustain further down the line. He puts this into perspective saying “if an army of 100,000 soldiers stands together, it is what makes that army an army. If you have an army of 100,000 people hiding all over a continent, pick a sniper and you probably won’t be able to identify or call them an army.”
Moving forward, there will be a need for businesses to find that delicate balance between working remotely and at the office. Working remotely definitely presents businesses the chance to reduce significant expenses and continue to function on a daily basis.
However, this may not be possible for larger firms who are going to have find strategies to help bring people back to the workplace and find the right balance between both aspects.
For each firm the needs are going to be different but one thing they can rely on is that there are great technologies and practices that can support either option, including onsite and remote working in a seamless way.
And the exciting thing is that we are moving into an era where these tools and practices offer far more than just technical functionality.
The “new wave” that’s approaching, which many progressive firms are already adopting, focus on more than just achieving business efficiency they also factor in staff wellbeing
For an increasingly large number of forms making these decisions, the “human” factor needs to be first and foremost, not an afterthought they deal with after operational decisions have been made.
As a result, many firms are entering a new frontier when it comes to using technology whether they do achieve the productivity increase they’re seeking, while keeping staff well-being front and centre of any decision making.
Would you like to learn more about how you can use technology to boost well-being in your team? Book a complimentary strategy session with one of our specialists, and we’ll share some great insights and practices that you can take and even apply immediately to help your own team work more efficiently and sustainably.