Hybrid Models Safe Bet for Short Term
Tango, a leader in integrated workplace management system (IWMS) software solutions, shared top level insights from leading industry experts on the state of the workplace and the future of post-pandemic work during Tango’s Workplace 2.0 Summit last week. Through two full days of virtual panel discussions and presentations, experts from PwC, Salesforce, Ernst & Young, Google, HOK, Jackson Cross Partners, Accenture, Arup, VergeSense, Verdantix and more, debated complex return to work challenges on every real estate and facility executive’s mind today, as well as strategies for moving forward.
“Even as more and more employees get vaccinated and COVID numbers significantly drop, there continues to be hesitation and confusion across Corporate America around the return to work, and what that will look like in the coming months,” said Tango’s founder and CEO Pranav Tyagi who gave the summit’s keynote address on ‘A New Era in Workplace Technology,’ whichhighlighted current trends and challenges in the workplace, including the status of remote work, corporate real estate vacancies, and hybrid work schedules. “One area where we are able to reach consensus, however, is on how technology will play a key role in helping businesses figure out their more immediate and long-term strategies.”
Through the summit, experts across the Corporate Real Estate (CRE) spectrum shared insights on real estate portfolio strategy, lease complexities, space optimization and utilization, and reconfiguring workplace environments, to help companies carve out the best path back to the office with clarity and confidence.
Key learnings from Tango’s Workplace 2.0 Summit
C-Suites are the new space planners:
- C-suite executives, and even board members, are more involved in conversations and decisions about space planning, management and utilization than ever before. The great remote-work-experiment has completely transformed how employees view work and the decisions organizations make around the return to the office will have an impact on employee sentiment, morale and retention, as well as talent acquisition, all of which can hinder a business’s bottom line.
The hybrid workplace needs to be equitable:
- As advantageous as the hybrid workplace is for both employers and employees, it does not come without its challenges. It is well-understood that women and underrepresented minorities are more likely to take advantage of remote work opportunities and if employees are given the option to continue leveraging remote work while others choose to utilize company office space, employers must be respectful of those choices and conscious of employee equitability while making business decisions – from the mundane, such as ordering a team lunch for those in the office, to the influential, like assigning ownership on a new project.
Return to the office with intentionality:
- There is a divide among employees and employers regarding whether the main purpose of the office is for collaboration or productivity. However, after more than 15 months of working remotely, companies have proven they can be both collaborative and productive while working remotely, which begs the question: what is the true purpose of the office (one of the highest cost items for an organization)? Moving forward, employers will want to discuss and understand employee intentions for returning to the office and how those intentions align with the individual, department and organizational goals.
Increasing interest in information about space using IoT tech:
- The pandemic created a rapidly growing interest and need for better information about how space is being used, and IoT is an emerging technology CRE executives are using for this information. Previously, office space designers could rely on general rules and historical data to inform their space utilization decisions, but that is no longer the case. Executives now need real-time information about the way their space is being used to make data-driven, evidence-based decisions on what their offices should really look and feel like, while taking guesswork out of the equation. Having a fully Integrated Workplace Management System that leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning can help to extract the data from the sensors and make use of it for more insightful decision making around occupancy and utilization moving forward.
Personas will play a key role in identifying which employees should return to the office
- As organizations consider hybrid work schedules, they will need to have an understanding of which individual employees need to be in the physical office space based on their role and how often. For example, employees who work with equipment or technology that requires a dedicated office location such as a receptionist, trader or call center operator may need to be in the office 80-100% of the time. Simultaneously, those employees with no ties to physical space such as sales reps, claims adjusters or consultants could easily work from home.
Lease Administration needs to be viewed more holistically as part of the full CRE portfolio
- After a year of disruption in the workforce, lease management and accounting was handled through multiple systems as a way to apply quick fixes to lease management headaches. Moving forward, this siloed approach will only lead to more complications when it comes to future reporting, renewals and compliance. Never before has a broader strategy been needed to ensure the integration of lease and accounting data across the CRE portfolio. Having a holistic view from a single IWMS software solution where lease administration and accounting is integrated with space planning and utilization, empowers organizations with flexibility and insights to handle whatever comes next.
Watch the Workplace 2.0 Summit on-demand.