The pandemic has shown a lot of employees how much time they spend travelling to and from the office. With remote working becoming something of a staple for a lot of companies, there are plenty of calls for workers to return to working from the office, but that has been met with a lot of resistance.
Many teams will be reluctant to return to the office since they will feel they’ve proven they can do the job from home. While this is true, if your company is tied into a particular office space – either because you own the building or because you’re tied into a lease, you’re going to have to think outside of the box to make it feel more exciting for staff to return.
This isn’t to say that gadgets and technology should be the first thing you look to in order to get staff back in the office – far from it. You might want to consider more flexible, hybrid models of working, improve communication and promote connectivity with events to reunite staff and get the sociable aspect back.
However, when it comes to preparing your facilities, here are a few tech options that might put the office ahead of the home when it comes to the 9-5 grind.
While you’ve always provided some form of tea or coffee for your office, what you might not have realised is that many people have invested in their homes. That includes buying new coffee machines so they can treat themselves during the working day.
This means you’ll have to step up your game if your office is going to tend to some of the home comforts on offer. Try installing the latest coffee machines – ensuring you get the right units to meet demand – and you may find some staff members will be more willing to come in even if it’s just to get a proper coffee fix. The old, styrofoam cup vending machines won’t cut it these days – you can get barista-style coffee via touchscreen machines and even robot arms that serve coffee.
Breaks and lunchtime are always going to feel like they’re better when spent at home because people can do the things they like. So why not make the office just as appealing? If you can spare the space, create a games room with ways to help staff relax and unwind and it might not feel like such a corporate place to be.
You can choose from vintage gaming cabinets, installing the latest games consoles or even VR headsets to give staff fun things to do while on breaks.
Solo Office Pods
Some members of your teams may have gotten very comfortable working from home, finding that their home office is far less distracting than the modern open-plan office space that was all the rage just a few short years ago. To help meet this new challenge, you could create several solo office working pods for any team member to use if they really want to knuckle down.
These should come with ultrawide monitors built in, along with a desk, seating space and video call capabilities. You could even go to the next level by including lighting that changes colour so the individual can personalise the space a little more. Keep in mind that if these spaces become popular, you may need to introduce an online booking system for the office.
Wifi That Works
It’s not really anything new, but if your office relies on the internet for work to be done, then invest in the highest quality internet and wireless hotspots that you can possibly afford. There is nothing worse than getting your teams on laptops, hotdesking and hybrid working only for patchy or slow wifi to bring things to a halt.
In the time that everyone has been working from home, you will probably find that wireless tech has gotten even better – as too have the speeds that broadband providers can deliver.
Wireless Charging Points
Make life easy and convenient at your office with wireless charging points. This technology has come a long way in recent years and most smart devices can now be charged simply by leaving them on a particular surface. This is a small win for your office if staff can keep things charged by popping them on a charging surface instead of wrestling with cables.
Remember, it may not take every item on this list to make your office more comfortable to be in, and you may question why you should even have to think about such things, but the world of work has seen a significant shift. If you truly want your staff to be back in the office, you need to think about what makes it enticing – because if you’re not offering the best working conditions, you won’t be able to attract – or keep hold of – the best staff.
If you continue remote working…
If all of the above doesn’t work or isn’t feasible – and we’re including taking a long hard look at how you communicate and actually work as a business – then consider empowering your teams to do the best they can from home instead. Here are three key items to make staff more comfortable and to let them know you’re invested in them.
Not a small investment, but having a new laptop will hopefully mean your staff can cruise through work without any hiccups.
Dedicated work phones
It’s become quite common for some workers to use their own smartphone as their work phone, but this doesn’t help to separate home and work life. Even just a simple smartphone model dedicated to company and client communication can help with this.
While they’re not for everyone, offering some staff members air purifiers can show you’re thinking about their health. Many people – if not able to get back into the office due to new working policies – may find themselves working in smaller spaces that aren’t ventilated very well.