Flexible Office Approaches - The Winter Showcase Wrap-up

2 mins read



by Jon Kent

Articles> Flexible Office Approaches - The Winter Showcase Wrap-up

intheOffice Stand

Key trends

  • At the beginning of September, there was a big push to open offices.
  • When companies hadn't set any office attendance policies, their offices remained mostly empty, even though employees had indicated they wanted to return to the office.
  • Office attendance was better when companies had prescribed a certain number of days to work in the office, however keeping it all organised was causing problems, especially if someone later tested positive for covid.
  • Other office attendance policies included:
    • Anchor days. Set days when certain people or teams are expected to be in the office.
    • 3 + 2. Expecting three days in the office and two days working remotely.
    • A combination of the two, e.g. Thursday as an anchor day with a choice of the other two.
  • Companies that had installed traditional desk booking software found it wasn't being used.
  • Almost all companies were trying to manage office attendance through a spreadsheet even when they had desk booking software. However this created lots of issues with version control, inaccurate data and even teams developing their own systems.
  • Office managers are wasting huge amounts of time trying to maintain these spreadsheets, fielding emails and dealing with people individually.
  • A few companies are looking to open between now and Christmas, but a lot are waiting until the New Year before deciding what to do with their office spaces.

Key takeaways

People scheduling is more important than desk scheduling

Even when companies had desk booking software set up, people only started to come in regularly when they could plan their attendance on a spreadsheet.

The feeling amongst the office managers was that people weren't using the office because they didn't know when their colleagues were going in. They didn't want to be alone in the office, so decided to stay at home.

Providing a tool for employees to coordinate their attendance is key.

There needs to be a plan, and a way to execute it

Any uncertainty about the office attendance plans, either through a lack of communication between employees or through vague company policies lead to fewer people using the office.

Try to baseline some sort of policy to set expectations. Once communicated, provide tools to enable and track if the policy is working or needs tweaking/changing.

Policies must be flexible, and changeable

Each company's hybrid working policy is likely to be different and could vary between each department or team. Some departments use specialist equipment that mean they cannot do their work from home, whereas others might only need to go in to the office once or twice a year.

Companies need to think about how their policies affect each department, and consider introducing per department policies.

Have open and honest conversations about what is working and what's not. But always focus on what's best for the team to be productive.

If one policy doesn't work, create a new plan.

Wrap up

We're in an exciting time of change. And while we've made some great progress in trying different ways of hybrid working, we're still at the start of this journey.

We all, employers and employees alike, need to keep an open mind. Be prepared to try new things and evolve as necessary. Experiment until each team finds its own hybrid identity.

It would be such a shame if we rigidly stick to our assumptions about the best route forwards and miss this opportunity to create a better world of work.

Lastly, I want to thank the Office Manager Portal and Miss Jones for organising the Winter Showcase event and say thanks to everyone that visited our stand to shared their experiences.

Jon at the ShowCase

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