How To Create a People-Focussed Workplace
Flexibility is the key
Since March 2020 many employees were forced to work from home and discovered the simple joys in being there more. Time with the pets, time with the kids, less time and money spent on commuting, a few more hours of precious, precious sleep each week. Bliss. But we knew it couldn’t continue indefinitely. Not all home offices are alike. I heard rumours of people having to use ironing boards as desks, whereas other people had dedicated studies.
As time has gone on, fewer and fewer people have expressed a desire to go back to the ‘old normal’ which is putting pressure on businesses to think outside the box in order to retain talent and build their workforces.
Here, we will discuss a few ways in which companies can move away from the traditional way of thinking and create a more people-focussed workplace.
Talk to your team
It sounds so simple! Some people thrive in the office environment, away from the domestic distractions. Some people suffer from lengthy, complicated commutes, leaving them tired and irritated before the first meeting has even begun. Perhaps some of your team are worried about dealing with the additional bills from having people in the house all the time, or perhaps some of your team are worried about passing viruses to vulnerable relative. Whatever their reasons, you need to understand where they are coming from. Find out what matters most to them and if/how you can facilitate this.
This is showing your team that they matter as an individuals. While you may not be able to completely deliver what each individual person wants, the fact that you’ve taken the time to speak with them and understand them will show that they are valuable and appreciated.
Look at how you use your office
So if you’re moving towards a hybrid way of working with either some of the team working remotely or working remotely on set days, do you really need all that office space?
In the past, you would typically ensure you had space for at least the number of people you currently employed. But do you really need all that space? Some of the new ideas organisations are coming from include:
- Desk sharing with another company
- Using co-working spaces on set days per week
- Renting out their unused office space
- Implementing a hot desking or desk hoteling system
One of the other considerations is how your office actually works for your team. At home, they may have the choice to walk away from their desk and unwind on their lunch break, so making sure they have adequate break out spaces in the office is so important.
Making Working Remotely Viable
It’s all well and good telling your team that they can work remotely, but what if they don’t have the tools?
Communication software such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Skype for Business are vital to ensuring your team and a clear communication channel to their co-workers and leaders. If they have questions or need to virtually attend a meeting while working remotely, ensure they are familiar with how to do this. Set a protocol for how meetings should take place and how questions are raised.
And as a manger, are you able to review or assist when required? How are you sharing files and documents when not in the same office?
Other than software, you also need to consider the kit your team has. Are the laptops suitable to be taking in and out of the office every day? Are they powerful enough? Can the team answer calls from customers without giving out their personal mobile numbers?
Health and Wellbeing
Understanding who your team are will help you create a more people-focussed workspace. Even when working apart, regular check ins with individuals and ensuring there is an open communication channel will help your team feel connected. It also helps if they know that, even if they have decided to work from home, they can change their mind and you will try to help accommodate that, whether it is reviewing the office usage again or looking at external co-working spaces as a temporary solution.
Organised fun isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but even trying to arrange some team games online or the odd quiz can help prevent isolation between remote team members. And of course, arrange some face-to-face socialising for those who feel up to it.