Workplace Trends for 2021: How to Make the Most Out of Them With Technology

2020 has been an unprecedented year when all carefully crafted workplace plans bowed to reactive priorities and on-the-go decisions. While remote work policies might have been on the expected agenda, HR and facilities departments did not intend to grapple with reopening scenarios or restructuring corporate real estate.

At YAROOMS, we started the year enhancing our customers’ productivity with meeting room booking, and have shifted the focus towards solutions for workplace safety. It’s been an off-road ride, but the belief that technology brings people together in spaces remained as stable as ever.

Ability to commit to innovation helped workplaces withstand uncertain times, and will continue to drive them to success in 2021. Because of that, we invite you to peek into the work life trends that will set the tone for the upcoming period. Let’s discuss how to make the most out of them with workplace tech.

Offices Will Be Transforming From Productivity Hubs to Collaboration Centers

The “hybrid workplace” is Silicon Valley’s latest buzzword, as companies emerge from the lockdown mixing remote and office work. Rapidly embraced in the corporate culture, the hybrid model draws attention to the benefits of different environments.

For example, the US Workplace Survey 2020 (Summer/Fall), conducted by Gensler, reveals that remote work positively impacts an individual’s ability to solve problems, while office time is essential for good relationships between colleagues. The biggest gains, however, come from the combination of both. According to the same study, those already in the hybrid setup report improvements in creativity, team management, and communication.

In 2021, the hybrid way of working will grow even more popular, shaking the understanding about the purpose of a physical office. Given its proven benefits to the social work life (and lower rates of individual efficiency), organizations will start using it for meetings, conferences, and co-working activities instead of day-to-day tasks. Offices will be transforming from productivity hubs to collaboration centers.

Putting collaboration into the spotlight does not mean cutting back on productivity. In fact, organizations will feel challenged to keep teamwork constructive at all times. It all starts with planning - that’s where spaces and resources scheduling technology comes in. A meeting room booking solution can help ensure room for all coworking activities and save time by preventing them from being duplicated. Meanwhile, hybrid workplaces should consider adopting assigned seating with a system allowing real-time availability tracking. Knowing who sits where (and when) helps colleagues find each other and avoid confusion, especially in large offices.

Workplace Safety Will Become a Daily Concern of Employers and Employees

Up until this year, occupational health hazards were popularly understood as physical threats (from high altitudes to wires), sedentary routines, or psychological issues, such as stress or bullying. The coronavirus pandemic brought up the risk of a virus, which has always been there, yet poorly considered.

Today, the virus prevention as well as general workplace health and safety is the top priority of both employers and employees. It will remain on top of minds in 2021 and beyond. The office reopening strategies cannot ignore public concerns as well as official physical distancing regulations, which are likely to become a norm even when the infection rates shrink.

To lure their workforce back to the office, businesses will need to demonstrate support for their employees - from direct investments to their health to adopting strict space occupancy policies and contact tracing technologies.

Social distancing, capacity enforcement, occupancy limitations, contact tracing are just a few points to cross out of the safe workplace checklist. YAROOMS can help you with that by setting capacity restraints for your office areas to prevent them being used when the overall location capacity is exceeded. Moreover, we’ve built the minimum radius feature, allowing employees choose workstations which are safely distanced from their colleagues’.

Truly Digital Workplaces Will Focus on Platforms, Not Tools

By bringing up the telecommuting infrastructure challenge, coronavirus pandemic boosted the workplace digital transformation almost overnight. In 2021, the pace is not going to slow down.

As we discussed above, employers will be adopting workplace technology to establish the right balance between collaboration and productivity; create safer spaces (both real and virtual) as well as provide their employees seamless access to information and control over the work environment.

In response, the innovative tech providers will take up a more unified approach to workplace management, just like Microsoft, Google, or Zoom are already doing by making graphs editable within chats, calendars incorporated into communication services, and so on. As a result, truly digital workplaces will be increasingly integrating (or, sometimes, replacing) separate tools with platforms.

In the integrated world, choose workplace technology that can seamlessly blend into your current IT infrastructure. It will not only ease the implementation process, but also will encourage quick tool adoption among its users. We know this from our customers’ experience, as YAROOMS offers immediate access to Microsoft Teams add-in to reserve desks within and an already familiar interface. Other common integrations, such as Outlook, iOS, Android, SAML, iCal, are available out-of-the-box and we are working on growing the list.

As the year draws to a close, it’s the best time to take a moment for reflection, research, and strategizing. What workplace technologies are you planning to adopt to make the trends work for you? Get in touch with us for some ideas.

Topics: Office of the future

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