2020 Changed Workspaces and Employee Engagement
2020 has been tough for businesses and for many its been a steep learning curve as our business models have been forced to change by Covid-19. Changes that would otherwise have taken many years have been forced upon us in just weeks. The workplace has been changed forever by the adoption of new technologies and changes in the way we engage employees.
Covid-19 forced many workplaces to close with employees having to work remotely for the first time. Rarely used technologies like Zoom and Skype suddenly become the core of communications for employees and manangers. Many businesses found to their surprise that productivity actually increased initially as employees embrassed the opportunity to work from home with no time wasting commute. Unfortunately that productivity increase has not always been maintained over time.
While these new online communications tools provide a level of technical and informational engagement for employees, they don't maintain the emotional commitment to the organisation that personal engagement with team members had previously provided. The risk is, without the emotional commitment employees are less motivated and more likely to move on to other oppotunities.
The reality is that it is very difficult for an employer to create or maintain a positive, productive, emotionally engaging work environment for employees working from home. The employer has no control over that work environment which can include interuptions from young children, pets, neighbourhood noise such as lawn mowers, home renovators etc.
The priority for 2021 is finding a better long term workspace solution
Even with the imminent arrival of Covid vaccines it could be another 12 months before many workplaces can return to "normal", even if that is what organisations want. For many, the priority for 2021 is finding a better long term solution that capitalises on the increased productivity from employees working remotely while maintaining an environment that encourages the emotional engagement of employees.
That solution may be giving up some of that expensive CBD office space and utilising suburban serviced offices. Providing workspaces close to where employees live removes the long and often spirit draining commute but still allows the organisation (in partnership with the serviced office manager) to control the work environment. Working in a local serviced office also means employees engage personally with other employees as well as other tenants creating a more inclusive team environment than a lonely kitchen table at home.
Having an actual "place of work" also encourages a more healthy work life balance. Working from home can let employees develop a mindset of "I can do that after dinner" rather than "I need to focus and get this done before I go home" and the distinction between work and downtime disappears. Because working from home means a less monitored workplace, your best and most motivated employees are liable to work longer hours to get a job done but in the long term this can result in burn out or resentment, and loss of your best people.
@Workspaces has a range of serviced offices in CBD, Suburban and regional areas and can help you create the workspace best suited to your business. Call us for a tour.