I was interested and not altogether unsurprised to see that one of the outcomes of the Feb 2021 RICS Facilities Management Survey was “perceptions shift towards a larger share of workers returning to the workplace post-Covid than previously anticipated”.
I say unsurprised because most conversations have at least one mention of “I can’t wait to get out of the house and actually talk to people again”. There are so many articles and posts about “Hybrid Working”, it’s becoming as popular as Hybrid Cars. Long before COVID, everyone at ECAT had decided the office was no longer needed. For us, it made sense as pre-COVID we would always visit clients on-site. It helped us to understand them more, gain a better insight and ultimately deliver a better solution. Team catch-ups conducted in a local hotel achieved much more because of the focused time together. As well as that, it usually allowed for social time over a meal or coffee. As we know, COVID changed all that, and like everyone else, we adapted.
As the restrictions begin to lift and businesses look forward, it is clear to me that progressive companies who chose to put their people first will offer a hybrid working solution. I believe transit times, sustainability and climate change, aligned with communications tech, flexitime, and broadband improvement, was always going to lean towards some form of home working options. Depending on where a company has its office, the full cost of providing a desk can exceed €20,000 a year. COVID has brought incredible focus to the home working or hybrid option. However, asking people to work from home to simply save money should not be the core driver for hybrid solutions. You only have to read Pilita Clark’s article, “The hidden hell of hot-desking is much worse than you think” in the Irish Times, to really begin to question what are the motivations behind hot-desking?
However, if we assume that there will be a hybrid solution of some sort, then it is the job of facilities management teams to provide confidence. Any company wants its people to feel safe and confident when they come into the office. To really do that, there needs to be communication about the great work that the facility teams have done and continue to do. It should be displayed for people to see, but better yet, allow people to ask when? where? and how? Allow the conversation to be two way. That way, everyone is contributing to the overall well-being of the office.
That’s our next project… watch this space!
The team at ECAT
The brilliant team at ECAT have worked tirelessly with our customers to continue to develop and deliver solutions for them throughout the disruption.
We want to help you, so if there is something we can do, please get in touch with us today.
Stay safe and well all.