Hybrid working post Covid: Reengineering the office

Updated: Feb 25

Hybrid working is a hot topic this year; with article after article coming out each week on the topic, it's pretty clear that organisations will need to adopt a form of hybrid working once we are begin to ease restrictions in the era of post Covid. We will cover:


What will Hybrid working post Covid be like?


Spotify recently announced their new "work from anywhere" policy, with a clear message that employees don't need to work in an office to complete the work they do. They are the latest of a string of companies to announce similar initiatives within their organisation.


The Times reported this week that half of staff would quit their jobs if denied flexible working. Meanwhile, a survey by the British Council for Offices (BCO) recently revealed that only 30% of respondents were considering returning to the office 5 days per week. Hybrid working is a concept that is here to stay and Facilities Managers need to adapt quickly if they want their offices to stay open.


Hybrid working post Covid certainly supports employees to produce their best work in an environment which suits them, but where does it leave the office? Could hybrid working post Covid include a review of the visitor? Facilities Managers may need to revise their visitor management policy to include a new visitor.


Are employees the new visitor?


Traditionally, we have viewed an office visitor as an individual or group who will temporarily spend time at your building; perhaps for a meeting or to conduct some work for you. A visitor is usually given a different experience to an employee or full time building occupant; or example, security access that allows them into one area of the building only.


Some examples of office visitors include customers, partners, contractors, deliveries and suppliers. Each type of visitor may require a different experience; for instance, you may want to provide a VIP service to your customers, and regular contractors may need permanent access to one area of your building.


The introduction of hybrid working will change the way that employees view and use the office, as well as the frequency that they go there. Employees are likely to come to the office for specific reasons, spending set amounts of time there.


In addition to infrequent access, Facilities Managers will need to have a much better overview of who is in the building and when; Covid-19 compliance will dictate how many people can use the building at any given time.


What is the purpose of your office?


Now that employees are being given the freedom to work wherever suits them best and enables them to produce great work, the purpose of the office is likely to change. No longer will we see droves of office workers heading into the office for 9am, and see them all leave at 5pm. A range of flexibility around working hours and location will force many employers to explore the need for an office.


FMJ recently reported that offices will become a space for employees to get social interaction and collaborate in a way which isn't possible online in the era of post Covid. Based on the outcome of a survey conducted by property consultancy company JLL, offices will become a space that allows employees to come to for teamwork based activities, such as team building days, project work, collaboration and to do work which cannot be completed at home. In addition, offices will become a place to meet customers and partners, creating and maintaining those relationships.


Companies will have to redefine their real estate footprint incorporating the best locations such as home-offices, coworking places, satellite offices with the company HQ.

- JLL (Source: FMJ magazine)


With this, companies will need to look at their property portfolios and understand the purpose of each site; will there be satellite offices for remote workers to check into once in a while? Or will you close these offices and have one HQ only? These decisions can only be made if a purpose is defined for each site.


Employees and Visitor Management Policy


Taking into account office purpose, Covid-19 restrictions, hybrid working and flexible hours, we at Vpod believe that employees will become an additional visitor type, with a specific persona that will be processed in the same way as other visitors.

If you have a robust visitor management policy in place, you are likely to have visitor personas that are given different levels of building access and may have a slightly different experience. We believe employee visitor persona should be built into your existing visitor management policy with the following in place:

  • The option to book an office "visit" for when they need to come in, similar to a meeting booking

  • Pre-registration allows them to sign track and trace or self certify, for Covid-19 compliance

  • QR code touchless building access

  • Facial recognition that classes them as an employee, meaning they register as a visitor once

  • Access to certain areas of the building, for example their departmental floor, in order to control Covid-19 contamination

  • Access to office facilities such as tea rooms, canteens and toilets

  • The ability to book a desk or working space safely

The employee experience should be as safe, seamless and secure as possible. Without this, employees will feel safer at home and will not want to return to your office.


What is a visitor management policy?


A visitor management policy is the combination of compliance methods, processes and rules that a Facilities Manager has created in order to process visitors in and out of a building. The aim of a visitor management policy is to give every visitor a safe and secure experience that they will remember and enjoy.


Visitor management policies usually cover a wide range of topics, from Covid-19 compliance, to security badge printing and floor access.



How to write visitor management policy for hybrid working post Covid

As we mentioned in our previous blog, a clear updated visitor management policy in the post pandemic workplace can protect your visitors, staff, and workplace. Any company-specific visitor management policy needs to be accessible with regards to GDPR. Here's a short summary:


Visitor access restrictions


A clear visitor management policy should be in place to state your visitors' access to certain areas of your building.


Use a visitor management system that integrated with your building's access control can managing your visitor's entry easily.


The purpose of Visitor Record


According to GDPR, visitor's need be aware of how you are using their data. For example, Vgreet visitor management system keeps a digital visitor log to help track of visitors. Facilities managers are aware of visitors's activities in case of an emergency.


Visitor Identification


Workplace's visitor management policy template listed different types of visitor entering your building:

  • VIP

  • Contractor

  • Supplier

  • Deliveries

Now, employees will become the new type of visitors in the post pandemic workplace. Each type of visitors has different purposes to come to your building which should be included in your visitor management policy.

  • The option for employees to book an office "visit" for when they need to come in, similar to a meeting booking

  • Pre-registration allows them to sign track and trace or self certify, for Covid-19 compliance

  • Access to office facilities such as tea rooms, canteens and toilets

  • The ability to book a desk or working space safely

  • Employees you might enable their QR code to work with the Access Barriers

  • Contractors you might restrict to certain floors

  • Suppliers access to floors like Catering to one floor

  • Cleaners to all floors but only out of hours

Visitor management policies for wi-fi, non-disclosure, or any other information

Visitor management policy includes visitor use of wi-fi, restriction on photography/recording, or anything you need them to know before visiting your building. With Vgreet, your visitors are able to read visitor management policy through the meeting invite and pre-registration progress.


Read more about techniques of writting visitor management policy here.


How to process visitors


The hybrid working post Covid requires There are a number of procedures that facilities managers can follow if they are looking to process visitors seamlessly. A Vgreet visitor management system is a solution that creates a connected workplace and can benefit your organisation in several ways:

  • The visitor management process becomes automated

  • WOW first impressions - every time

  • Frustration-free journeys delight visitors

  • Workplaces become more efficient

  • Receptionist costs are saved

  • Productivity rockets

Worried about queues? Find out how to return to work safely.


Summary


It's time to adapt or die. If Facilities Managers want to keep their offices open they must:

  1. Define their purpose

  2. Make them safe

  3. Create an enjoyable experience for both visitors and employees.

  4. Reengineer your workplaces to keep them open permanently.

Read more about reengineering the office.

Access our ultimate Hybrid Working Guide


Want to know more about how your office can adapt to hybrid working post Covid? Contact Us

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