Business leaders were not the only ones that had to adapt quickly in these unprecedented times. Their employees have also had to adapt to changes in their work environments, homes, and lifestyles. With mandated office closure across most non-essential sectors, nearly every organisation has had to send their staff working from home.
Now, as offices reopen, many employees are signalling that they are not ready to return to business as normal. Forrester’s survey found that employees have lingering concerns about their safety and are divided on where they prefer to work. Forty-seven percent of respondents in Forrester’s PandemicEX survey prefer working from home while 42 percent look forward to heading back to the office.
While the survey showed that nearly half of employees are not really looking forward to work life as it used to be before COVID-19, organisations need to stay adaptive in the ambiguous future. One of the ways is by adapting a hybrid workforce. Hybrid workforce is made up of individuals who rotate between working on-site and working remotely. This is seen as one of the most realistic ways to offer flexible working practices while also maintaining a home base where teams can complete specific tasks on-site.
According to Forrester, to accommodate more flexible working arrangements for a hybrid workforce, many organisations are considering changes to their office floor as hybrid workforce might need more spaces in the office. 40 percent of surveyed decision makers say they are implementing a transition to a hot desking arrangement. Forty-six percent will be increasing the number of meeting rooms to allow on-site workers to collaborate more effectively with their remote co-workers or clients. The survey also showed that most organisations are also considering the impact on office capacity. While some are considering a reduction in office floor space as more workers go remote, others are considering an expansion to accommodate social distancing.
While there might not be a one-size-fits-all approach to managing organisations’ return-to-work plans, the key guiding principle for organisations should be to place employees’ safety and emotional needs first and ensure that employees are well supported wherever they choose to work.