How to re-open the office

May 31st, 2020

Although many say that it’s easier than expected to work from home, there are still things that are hard to replicate at home. Here’s how smart office solutions can guarantee a safe return to the office

In a recent study, 81 percent of people that had been working from home said they miss the change in environment that working in an office enables–or as one respondent put it, “its pretty difficult to keep a boundary between work and home, when you work in your home.” In the same vein, a whopping 91% said they miss the daily interaction with their colleagues. Comparable positive sentiments were evident for pretty much any question that related to the social aspects of work. When probed on the more physical features of the office; services and equipment, conference rooms and cafeteria people weren’t as sentimental.

As an example of this duality, only 22% yearn for the coffee at work but 70% said they miss grabbing a coffee with colleagues. We could go on with more statistics from the study but the core is that people miss the social part of the office. In person meetings drive creativity, innovation and makes work more fun.

As of this moment, thousands of Workplace Return Teams are scrambling to find ways to allow employees back into the office, to harness the creative energy but in a safe and sound way.

In order to attain that goal, and help employees make the right decisions we suggest using:

Building utilization

  • Collect and use data on how the office building is being used

Communication

  • Timely information, hints and reminders
  • Provide a channel for employees to provide feedback to management

Building utilization and data generation

Collecting and analyzing building utilization data provides answers to important questions for the Workplace Return Team. How many people are on-site? Where in the office is the most time spent? How many have visited certain rooms or zones? Where are people situated this moment?

This information can be used by the leadership to follow up how the office is actually used, but perhaps equally important, to present the information to the employees on site. Equipped with clear and up-to-date utilization data, employees can themselves make informed decisions, for example when to visit the cafeteria or what part of the building is less crowded.

Meeting room utilization data can be used to nudge employees to use the meeting rooms that have been used the least or haven’t been used for the last hour or so. Conversely, we can warn employees if they are trying to book a room that have been used a lot that day.

utilization-measurement-back-to-work

How it works

  • Virtual zones are defined for rooms or areas in the office. A virtual zone is hardware independent, can be large or small and is not restricted by objects, walls, or hardware.
  • Senion at Work register entry/exit time events of each zone
  • The data is anonymized to protect user privacy.

Tailored communication

Senion at Work allows companies to communicate the correct information with the employees on-site, at the right time and place. Reminders are based on the use’s context. For example, in the context of a person exiting a meeting, Senion at Work can send a reminder to wash their hands. Information can be tailored and sent to the employees at the time they arrive at work. The communication channel Senion at Work provides isn’t a one-way street – it can also be used to collect feedback from the employees that are returning to the office. Understanding what works, and what isn’t, will be valuable information for the workplace return teams all over the world.

tailored-communication-get-back-to-work

How it works

  • Senion at Work sends actionable or non-actionable push notifications to the user depending on time, location and interactions.

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At the end of the day, there is no magic bullet that will solve the back-to-work process post-Corona. It will require a system of actions and components – cleaning and hygiene, information, measurement and refurnishing. These components will have to work in tandem to reach the common goal; guaranteeing a safe and sound return to the creative, inspiring and dynamic environment we call the office.


Looking to improve the utilization of your real estate? In our latest whitepaper we take an in-depth look at some of the drivers of low utilization and what can be done to improve.