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10 Keys to Managing the Flexible Workplace with Remote Work Capabilities

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Today’s emerging office leasing trend includes reducing the amount of offices space square footage by reducing unutilized desk space and meeting rooms into office hoteling spaces where employees reserve a workspace, a meeting space or a quiet space when needed. This is the one way managing a flexible workspace and remote workers can reduce operating costs, cut overhead and allow your company to recruit and keep the best and brightest.

An office hoteling system, with effective hardware and software technology, combined with the best training and deployment, can be more easily managed by embracing the following 10 keys:

  1. Investigate, Plan and Train Managers: As you begin preparing for a truly flexible workspace you will want to investigate the latest in technology; especially the office hoteling reservation system you wish to implement. Measure and plan how to change the workspace layout to facilitate hoteling. Then provide effective training for your management team. For some baby boomer managers, the concept may seem alien since they have spent their careers where being IN the office frequently was expected and demanded. Management at every level need to understand their changing responsibilities in the new environment and the ways in which the new philosophies will benefit them as well as their employees.
  2. Manage the Flexible Workspace Change Deployment as Part of Changing Company Goals: Employee want and need more than just an “oh, we can telework now.” introduction to the benefits the company will gain from this new working style and exactly how the change will also benefit the employee and their families. The company will become more eco-responsible and employees can enjoy mobility, increased productivity without more work. Goals that have direct positive impact on employees will help acceptance of the office hoteling and flexibility. For example, you could tie pay to performance with periodic bonuses based on sharing out some of the money saved on real estate footprint or another carefully thought out place of your choice.
  3. Use Office Resources Flexibly: Rather than increasing office real estate footprint for those situations where there are peak office hoteling situations, use resources in multiple ways. Provide some mobile workstations and network connectivity so that a meeting room can instantly become additional productive areas.  Yh These resources also can be used as quiet spaces when an employee who needs to work  in in a quiet area finds all the quiet workstations reserved.
  4. Prepare for  “Short Visit” Workspaces: Short visits are those where an employee needs to be accommodated for where the length of expected visit is less than the possible variance. This is considered generally to be a situation where an employee needs office workspace for, let’s say, 10 minutes sometime in the next 45 minutes. Usually this sort of office hoteling need is made by an employee running into the office to do necessary work between clients. Create some space that has a small work surface, computer with network access, phone, power, pens and note paper, and task lighting. By taking so little space, more workstations are available and it also makes the employee unavailable for drop-ins.
  5. Regularly Perform Cost / Benefit Analyses Assessments: In order to know how and how much hoteling is saving or costing your organization, regular cost/benefit analysis is a must. Effective management teams know and live by the adage:”If you aren’t measuring it, you aren’t managing it”, and apply this concept to office hotels. At first, you may spend a significant amount upgrading employee computers, tablets, networks, and smartphones but you will also be able to reduce the size of your leased office space. Employee recruiting, training, satisfaction, retention, productivity, as well as internal and external customer satisfaction, should be compared to past patterns to indicate how effective your office hoteling system is impacting your profits. Wherever an aspect of the hoteling is identified as an area for improvement, fully buy into and support the effort to implement corrective measures.
  6. Manage Worker Effectiveness Through Achievement-Oriented Tracking: Employees in a flexible, effective office hoteling organization can’t be managed by face-time any longer. Instead, establish ways to track the achievements accomplished. Whether you choose to do this through action item tracking, input of progress into a schedule, or another method, you want to be able to assess the progress on project or tasks completed so that your office flexibility is not abused.
  7. Manage by Walking Around: Each day, stroll through the office workplace at random times at least twice per day. These walkabouts provide a refreshing break from your busy day, but that is not the only benefit. This time-proven management technique allows you to see that the hotel workspaces are being used effectively. Don’t just touch base with those workers in the office at the moment but look for safety issues, traffic bottlenecks, under- or never-utilized spaces.  Be sure that office hoteling reservations are being made realistically rather than on the “in case I need it” frequently.  Worker satisfaction levels may be revealed to you through repeated use of negative body language and facial expressions. not everyone is outspoken about their happiness with the office hoteling and happy employees Adjust your initial plan as you identify improvements.
  8. Encourage Communication at All Levels: Develop policies and procedures so that you have accurate, easy to use ways to reach your staff as well as how and when an employee should or must contact you. Prevent feelings of worker disconnection with co-workers by making sure your team knows how to reach each other. Hold staff meetings with flexibility and technology in mind; include those working off-site through video teleconferencing, ensuring team members feel connected and respected by other members of the team.
  9. Keep Employee Work / Life Balance in Focus: Flexible workplaces, at least in most areas of business, means that the old strict 9-5 schedule must flex as well. Empower your team to schedule meetings at the convenience of their customer wherever possible. Communicate policies that allow responsible workers to accomplish tasks at times and in ways that allow that person to most productive. Because employees using flexible schedules allow them to establish and communicate those hours when they can best be contacted for voice or video communications. For example, those staff members with infants or caring for parents in their homes may request no phone calls before or after certain hours except in dire emergency situations. If you must make contact outside those hours, do so in a less intrusive way such as text or email.
  10. Remember Flexibility Means Changes to Your Own Work Methods: Many times business owners forget that they can be work flexibly, too. For example, using today’s technology electronic devices can coordinate when you and all the other required participants in a critical meeting can be available. You’ll be able to save time and money by performing allowing assistants freedom from such tasks that in the past have eaten up their productive time.

The workplace flexibility emerging from the office hoteling systems can provide that competitive edge your organization wants. Leased office space is a huge percentage of your company’s overhead expenses, so reduce expenses while increasing workers’ feelings of job satisfaction, value, trust and loyalty and simultaneously lower turnover rates and everyone, from your customers to vendors, top level executives to workers far down the organization flow chart, will benefit.

A properly planned office hoteling reservation system can save money and increase productivity. Contact us so we can get you started finding out how Office Hoteling might work for your company.

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By: James Osgood

Agile Workplace , Flexible Workspace , Office Hoteling , Office Rental , Office Space , Office Space Design

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