Appspace assures safe return to the office
Ensuring well-being and belonging is key to implementing a hybrid workplace; it’s the future office, redesigned. Even when the pandemic is over, the office of pre-covid days is gone. Individual and business priorities have changed — remote working is here to stay, and companies are looking at their spaces differently. All with the same intention in mind: making sure employees stay productive while also staying safe, comfortable and connected.
A survey in a Forrester report found that 61% of employees favour a hybrid workplace. They want to work anywhere, while still keeping the option open to come into the office on some days. A KPMG report identified talent risk as the greatest risk to company growth post-pandemic. Retaining employees and attracting new talent now take more than just an office with all the usual bells and whistles. Keeping people safe is paramount, as is making them feel a part of the work community wherever they are. Remote workers are not a lesser member of staff for working away on occasion, and there is always a space for them at the office.
A redesigned office contains elements of caring for its members’ well-being and also creates a cohesive community that transcends physical location. It adheres to health and safety measures, fosters creativity and collaboration, and has seamless communication to keep everyone on the same page. There are desks for remote workers, part-timers and for gig workers if and when they come into the office. It is not an ordinary desk that happens to be empty somewhere in the building, away from others, but a desk that welcomes and is intended for their use.
The average spending on a desk is about $11,000 per employee per year, the Forrester report noted. That is costly real estate, especially when desks are left empty. Appspace, a leading provider of workplace experience software, has long envisioned a hybrid office and was already adding enhancements to its products before the pandemic.
“Our five-year vision happened in about five months, which was that if you really want to save money, you’re going to have to shrink your office footprint. You’re not going to cut technology investments that are helping you save those dollars, and that’s just what we found from every one of our enterprise customers,” Appspace CEO Brandon Miles told the Dallas Business Journal in October last year.
“They’re kind of enabling this hybrid work environment, so a lot of the stuff that we had been planning for – and it was almost a nice-to-have for our big customers – suddenly became a must-have in this new reality.” Appspace serves nearly 3,000 customers and has offices in the US, UK, UAE, Australia and Malaysia with experts in a dozen other countries.
Forrester listed three key concepts for an office + anywhere hybrid workplace:
- Hot-desking: shared desks that employees can claim on a first-come-first-serve basis.
- Hoteling: hot desks with more planning and purpose. Desks can be reserved in advance via an app. Employees then check in to the desk.
- Fitting the space to the activities: matching desks and providing physical collaboration spaces to suit the work tasks on any given day.
Appspace enables all those concepts within its one easy-to-use team communications and space management platform. Users can see the building occupancy and relevant information to plan their day’s trip to the office through the app. They can book a meeting room, reserve workspaces with the right resources and see who is in the building.
The app is accessible on mobile and desktop and is integrated with users’ standard office technology from Cisco, with Microsoft Teams, SharePoint and comms apps like Slack. When Appspace is combined with Cisco Webex Devices, users can get real-time insights and alerts when the office environment is deemed unsafe, such as when the space has exceeded its maximum occupant capacity, or there is an issue with air quality and circulation.
Safe return to the office doesn’t have to wait for COVID-19 to disappear completely. Living and working alongside the virus is the reality now and probably for some time in the future. Appspace empowers companies and their employees to be proactive in cultivating and maintaining a workplace experience that takes good care of their members and fosters a sense of community. It is not that employees don’t want to come to the office; they want to work in a safe, convenient and useful office.
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