The widespread return to the workplace after 15 months of working from home is fraught with many challenges. High on the agenda is confidence in returning to a safe environment. Workplace consultants are not cleaning professionals, but we often work very closely with our facilities management colleagues and know that all the Orangebox pods and living walls in the world will not entice people back to the workplace unless there is confidence in it being a clean, clutter-free and well-ventilated environment. We can amplify concerns where solutions are required and challenge individuals to take responsibility for playing a part in maintaining the “day one” look long after the doors have reopened.
Workplace Consultancy: A stepping stone on the return to the workplace
“That’s a really good question” is exactly the type of response workplace consultants love to hear.
Not because of our frail egos, but because we know that we’ve either asked something that is a bit left-field (but still very relevant) or the question has been asked before internally (and this is especially the case in a group workshop) but there has not been a satisfactory resolution.
Who comes back into the workplace, on what days and who works where are questions that continue to evolve. Some organisations have taken a punt at answering these but are aware that regular reviews will be required to ensure optimum effectiveness. We are dealing with people, their emotions, preferences, personal circumstances, and individual and collective operational responsibilities.
Technology exists to make life easier when it comes to scheduling teams, but before any data is input in an app, you need to ask the right questions and be aware of the range of issues and opportunities. Every solution is likely to be somewhat of a compromise and it is the job of the workplace consultant to discuss the potential advantages and disadvantages and to share how other organisations are tackling these questions.
Client representatives who engage with workplace consultants during any project also have their day job to do. Part of our responsibility is to make this engagement as pain-free, and as time-efficient, as possible – reduce the industry jargon, use relevant precedents, and filter their input (often a combination of needs and wants) so that the solutions presented to the client are feasible, affordable and deliverable. Now more than ever, it is important that flexibility is built into every solution – to cope with current and potential future change.
This blog is the first in a series supporting our Strategic Workplace Review, a bespoke offering that brings together four core services to help you get the most out of your return to the workplace.