5 Things to Consider When Developing a Return-to-the-Office Strategy

As more people are vaccinated, organizations are starting to develop plans for bringing employees back into the office. While the shift to remote work was a mad scramble, the return can be more methodical. Business leaders have an opportunity to consider lessons learned and take advantage of new tools and skillsets that arose in the work-from-home environment.

Employers overwhelmingly agree that remote work has been successful, but few are willing to abandon the office entirely. In a recent PwC survey, 68 percent of employers said that employees should come to the office three or more days per week to maintain the company’s culture. Additionally, employers believe that the office environment helps to increase productivity, provides a place to meet with clients, and enables staff to collaborate more effectively.

However, few employers want a return to the pre-pandemic workplace. The majority (87 percent) of executives are reassessing their real estate strategies with an eye toward a hybrid work environment. Organizations are looking to reduce the number of assigned work areas while also enabling greater social distancing and creating more space for teamwork and collaboration.

Here are five things to consider when developing a return-to-the-office strategy.

Lessons learned. What worked well and what didn’t in the transition to remote work? A careful assessment of successes and failures can help make the return to the office less stressful for staff.

Operational changes. Many workflows and operational processes had to be modified for remote work — sometimes on the fly. Managers and team leaders should ensure that procedures are documented, and analyze whether the hybrid environment will require further changes.

Technology tools. Most organizations adopted new technologies to facilitate remote work, including collaboration apps and cloud services. Some of these will be essential moving forward, while others may no longer be needed. Additionally, employees may have adopted tools on an ad hoc basis. By surveying users and conducting an inventory, organizations can eliminate redundancies and right-size the environment.

Training gaps. Changes in processes and tools may have created training gaps. As employees return to the office, they should have opportunities to upgrade their skills to maximize efficiency.

Continued evolution. The new hybrid environment won’t be the same as the pre-pandemic workplace or the remote work paradigm. Organizations should continue to fine-tune their operations to meet evolving requirements and take advantage of new opportunities.

How Rahi Can Help

Rahi’s ELEVATE framework can help you optimize the transition back to the office. It starts with a thorough assessment of your environment and in-depth discussions of your needs and challenges. We’ll sit down with you to whiteboard processes and identify technologies that can enhance your operations and support a hybrid workplace. We will focus on key areas such as collaboration tools, cloud solutions and networking.

Our experienced engineers can work with your team to implement the new technologies, or you can take advantage of our ELEVATE Subscription Services (ESS). With ESS, you can get the latest wired and wireless networking, security, and audio-visual technologies as a service on your premises. ESS provides low upfront costs, easy deployment and end-to-end managed services to streamline support.

Employees are starting to return to the office at least part of the time. Most organizations plan on combining remote and in-office work in a hybrid workplace strategy. It shouldn’t be business as usual — organizations should take this opportunity to reassess their business processes and technologies to enhance the employee experience. Rahi’s ELEVATE framework and subscription services can help you take your work environment to the next level.