Workplace week: thinking about innovation

November 2013 played host to Workplace Week which aims to showcase workplace and workforce innovation. Innovating the workplace to boost both employee satisfaction and productivity is of growing importance for all businesses. Tim Clapham, marketing director at Planon Software, looks at what organisations can do to adapt.

166966925_b69dfc3e9f_oWhat can a company do to innovate its workplace?

Flexible working is becoming a key strategy for forward thinking companies, and businesses are starting to understand that forcing employees to work in an office does not guarantee productivity. Earlier in 2013, mobile operator 02 published research revealing that three-quarters of employees admit they are most productive when they can change when and where they work.

In light of this, rather than making employees work from the same desk in the same office everyday, employers would be better off utilising the latest technology to enable flexible working to boost productivity and employee satisfaction and, at the same time, cutting costs.

How technology can facilitate flexible working

To capitalise on the benefits of flexible working, organisations should look to analyse their workplace occupancy – there is little point in having a scheme that allows employees to work flexibly if businesses aren’t going to maximise on the potential cost savings and energy reductions that such schemes can bring. By monitoring which workstations are being used at what time, and by how many people, organisations may be surprised to see the changes that can be made.

These days, businesses have access to technology that can determine how much office space is being used effectively at any given time. Companies therefore have a huge opportunity to decrease their property portfolio and reduce operational costs.

As an example, companies that encourage home-working could introduce a hot-desk environment which enables different workers to use a single work station at different times of the day or week. Using this system, employees could arrange to come into their physical office at times to suit them and, for the rest of the time, work remotely. This could substantially reduce the space required for a company’s office – and again, reduce costs significantly.

The evolution of technology means that forward thinking companies can align their resources accordingly when it comes to the changing supply and demand within a workplace. Even if a business doesn’t allow its employees to work remotely then they can still provide greater flexibility in other ways. For example, smartphone enabled business-to-employee apps can be provided to help improve the efficiency of an employee’s day-to-day work routine and make sure the organisation is utilising its own resources effectively. When using these apps, employees can reserve a hot-desk, log a maintenance request and to book meeting rooms – all at the touch of a button on their phone.

Ultimately, companies are starting to understand that providing employees with a single location to work from is becoming outdated and is also not effective in meeting the demands of today’s workforce. The UK’s growing population, as well as the overcrowding of transport systems and the social demand for flexible working, are all driving this new way of working.

The traditional 9-5 work pattern is no longer a reality so businesses should be looking to capitalise on the new opportunities available to them to make crucial cost savings, as well as boost staff morale and productivity.

Tim Clapham.Oct.2013

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Categories: Comment, Technology, Trends

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