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Space Occupancy as a Part of Back-to-Work Hybrid Models: What CEOs are Saying & What Role the Technology is Playing

31 March 2021

Many CEOs are starting to look at what a return to normal might look like for their organizations in a post-COVID environment. While much of the workforce remains in a remote capacity, many CEOs are taking a forward-facing look at their organizations, their needs, and what a new normal will look like once they do get back to the office. According to KPMG, around 45% of them believe that won't happen until 2022. Another 31% believe that the return to "normal" will happen sometime around late 2021. However, the challenges and changes that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced on everyone will not disappear from the workplace entirely. 24% of CEOs report that COVID has changed their businesses forever. 

Technology has a key role to play in managing the return to work and shaping policy going forward. The ability to gain insights into staff location, flows and occupancy rates can inform better decision making and promote a safer work environment while keeping risks to a minimum.

As facility managers and CEOs consider the move back to a traditional work environment, implementation of occupancy monitoring solutions can solve several challenges. 

Around 30% of Global Executives are Considering Permanent Hybrid Models

Globally, CEOs are still concerned about permanent work-from-home options. In some cases, working from home has led to increased challenges, including more difficulty connecting with employees. 

But that doesn’t mean that COVID won't create lasting changes across many industries. Around 30% of CEOs are considering offering their employees a permanent hybrid model, in which employees work from home part-time and in the office part-time. In general, this puts employees in the office a maximum of 2-3 days per week. 

Remote work has proven effective. Around 3/4 of employees have noted similar productivity levels or even increased productivity levels while working from home, even in light of pandemic stresses and the corresponding impact on employee mental health. At the same time, many employees do want the hybrid option, which will allow them to spend at least part of their time in the actual office environment. 

Technology, including occupancy tracking, can make it easier for many employers to adjust to those hybrid models. 

Hot Desk Solutions Can Improve Space Efficiency

Many employers are transitioning to a hot desk model, which allows employees to work from any desk or space within the office. Hot desking solutions rely on a cloud model that allows employees to easily access company databases and programs without needing to use a specific device. 

With more employers using a hybrid model to manage employee presence in the office, hot desking options are likely to grow substantially in popularity. Hot desking solutions allow you to base the number of available offices or workstations on the number of employees typically in the office on a given day at a given time, rather than on the total number of employees--which can lead to significantly reduced overall costs for your company. 

Employees Want to Reunite

While some employees are still nervous or anxious about what it will mean to permanently return to work, many are eager to reunite with coworkers and colleagues face-to-face, rather than continue to work remotely. By the middle of 2020, as many as 75% of employees were eager to return to the office environment. Some employees have struggled to focus on work tasks from home due to different distractions. Others have missed interacting with coworkers or the ease of collaborating on projects when the other party is just across the office, rather than somewhere across the city.

Isolation has also been a substantial problem throughout the pandemic. Some people, while working from home, have had little to no human contact over the course of their days. Others have struggled with a feeling of being disconnected from friends and colleagues. Putting the right safety measures in place can make it easier to get those employees back in the office and return to some semblance of normal. 

Real-time Space Occupancy Tracking is Becoming Critical

1. Understand how the spaces are utilized

While CEOs are planning a return to normal, "normal" may look very different now than it did pre-COVID. 91% of employees note that they would like to continue working from home at least part of the time, and around 39% of employees want to work from home 3-4 days per week. 

For many businesses, that means significantly changing space requirements throughout the company as a whole. Many employers, for example, are finding that they no longer need as many individual offices or workstations for their workers. Others are finding that meeting room capacity needs have diminished immensely in light of changing employee and consumer needs. As a result, many employers are considering downsizing.

Occupancy tracking technology can help keep up with how many employees are actually using business facilities, which can make it easier for CEOs and facilities managers alike to make decisions about downsizing. 

2. Improve overall employee confidence and security

Even as companies are looking to the government to let them know when it's safe to have their employees return to work (around 76% of CEOs are waiting for government encouragement to signal that it's time to move toward business as usual), many employees are reluctant to return to a traditional work environment--especially employees who are concerned with potential safety factors. Those employees will be relieved to learn that occupancy tracking and contact tracing can help keep up with the movement of employees throughout the office, letting them know about potential exposures and taking appropriate safety measures when needed. 

The Space Occupancy Solutions are Within Your Reach

As you think ahead to bringing employees back to your building, make sure you have the right technology solutions in place to meet the needs of your employees and your business alike. Kontakt.io offers a variety of technological options that can help enhance the overall experience of your employees and keep them safer. Portal Beam & Kio Cloud make it easy to track exactly how many employees are in a given space (without infringing on privacy), helping you understand how the spaces are utilized. As part of your plan to move employees back to the office, make sure you consider these key technologies and their overall advantages.

Aneta Ciurkot

Director, Product Marketing

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    [Updated for 2020]
    [Updated for 2020]