What workplace management looks like in the hybrid work era

Workplace management teams are responsible for maintaining the operational excellence of all aspects of the office, from facilities maintenance to real estate portfolio development. Every choice a workplace manager makes affects the overall work environment.

To ensure they make the right decisions, workplace teams use a variety of tools, from employee surveys to state-of-the-art workplace management software, to collect feedback and data to inform their office designs, employee policies, and asset management.

What is workplace management?

Workplace management is a comprehensive strategy used to regulate a company’s office environment. The strategy is governed by a workplace manager or team. Their goal is to optimize the office to ensure employees have a positive workplace experience and the company gets as much value as possible from its investments in employees, real estate, and workplace technology. 

Wondering what that looks like in action? Here are some workplace management examples:

What are the benefits of workplace management?

As a general rule, all the benefits of workplace management involve reducing expenses, making workplace optimizations seamless, and increasing employee satisfaction and productivity.

Below are some specific examples of how workplace management can benefit your business.

Reduce operating expenses

Many companies don’t realize how inefficiently their workspaces are utilized. You may think that you need additional square footage to accommodate a period of rapid growth and hiring, but there’s a strong possibility you already have the space you need. It just needs to be utilized better. 

When you have building data such as traffic patterns and occupancy rates, you can pinpoint underperforming areas and find creative ways to optimize them. Workplace management teams can collect this data the old-fashioned way by visually monitoring spaces over time, or they can employ workplace technologies that track utilization trends in real-time. 

Once an office’s problem areas are identified, there are many possibilities for reducing overhead costs.

  • Maintain your real estate footprint by repurposing underutilized spaces rather than expanding into additional office space
  • Reduce utility expenses by managing light and HVAC systems for empty areas of the building
  • Avoid expensive repairs or replacements by automating maintenance visits to maintain the facility

Enable flexible collaboration

Much of the focus of workplace management is on the physical office space, but employee productivity is also an essential aspect. With hybrid work becoming the norm, the physical workplace is increasingly a place for employees to come in to collaborate. Workplace teams can create seamless collaboration experiences for workers in many areas, from room reservation systems to guidelines for how to have an equitable meeting between in-office and remote workers. 

These solutions and policies reduce friction that can cause employees unnecessary stress and frustration and hinder their productivity. The goal for workplace management teams is to make it as efficient as possible for workers to locate and reserve resources and streamline their collaborations.

Improve employee morale

Employee morale is directly tied to employee performance. Satisfied employees are going to be more engaged and attentive to their work, and they are more likely to invest personal interest in your company’s success. A workplace that operates smoothly, is comfortable, and provides the resources workers need to do their jobs goes a long way toward improving employee morale. 

Workplace teams can also improve or maintain morale by offering amenities employees have expressed interest in. “Have expressed interest in” is a key phrase here. Employee surveys can provide workplace managers with valuable insights into how they can meet the wants and needs of workers.

Adding a ping pong table in the lounge area isn’t going to have a positive effect if what employees actually want is a commuter program to offset their expenses. 

What the future of workplace management looks like

The workplace is in a state of flux and will likely remain fluid for the foreseeable future. Employee expectations are changing, competition for talent is increasing thanks to the rise of remote work, and everything is becoming more expensive due to inflation. These three factors have an enormous impact on the world of work and make it more difficult to predict your workplace needs. 

Below are three workplace management strategies to help you reduce expenses while creating a more comfortable and productive work environment.

1. Focus on the employee experience

Remote work has opened up a world of possibilities for job seekers, allowing workers to be picky about the office environments they like best and increasing the competition for recruitment. It’s more important now than ever before to create a satisfying employee experience.

Rethink workplace management choices from the employee’s perspective. Before making changes, understand how they will affect workers. Consider inviting feedback and allowing employees to voice any questions or concerns about proposed changes, such as switching from 1:1 seating to hoteling. You may be surprised at how amenable workers are once they understand the intent behind changes, especially if your workplace management plans stem from the desire to improve the employee experience. 

2. Automate with workplace management technology 

Workplace management and the technologies that support it can help your company make smarter, data-backed decisions about space planning, overhead costs, employee satisfaction, and more. It’s an effective way to ensure your business has the insights necessary to stay flexible and adapt to the changing work environment.

Technology such as occupancy sensors provide workplace managers with accurate utilization data that can be used for various workplace optimizations, from making informed decisions about real estate portfolios to providing real-time information about which conference rooms are available. 

Integrated workplace management systems (IWMS) are another technology solution that can profoundly impact operational excellence. With IWMS software, you can provide self-service options for employees such as reserving a desk or scheduling a meeting with colleagues. It can also help workplace teams monitor security, automate facilities management, track asset lifecycles, and manage suppliers, to name just a few examples.  

3. Repurpose the space and resources you have

The most economical way to update your office environment is by using what you already have. Workplace teams can identify areas with low optimization and find creative ways to repurpose them. For example, let’s say you have one conference room that is rarely used. A workplace manager could turn this into an employee experience asset by making it a comfortable lounge area where workers can take a break and recharge.

Financial resources are precious, especially as inflation continues to rise, and office space with little or no utilization is wasted money. To optimize the workplace, now and in the future, workplace managers must be able to identify these underutilized spaces and find innovative ways to turn them into usable assets. 

Reshaping the workplace

The modern workplace is being reshaped by events such as the pandemic, new employee demands, rising inflation rates, and digital transformations. As businesses continue to look for the “new normal,” they must embrace workplace management strategies and technology integrations to stay informed and agile.

Done correctly, workplace management can help keep employees engaged, reduce expenses, and keep companies operating smoothly no matter what the future holds.