With the easing of lockdown restrictions and colleagues considering their return to the workplace, businesses must adapt their premises to recover quickly, according to Mitie’s new guide - Bouncing Back: Building the future workplace.
While traditionally workspaces were thought of as places to perform set work tasks, increasingly businesses are using these spaces to facilitate collaboration, learning, and networking among colleagues. Though this trend was emerging prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been accelerated by lockdown restrictions and the mass move to home working. With the widespread adoption of hybrid and remote working fuelled by lockdown, workspace design increasingly needs to adapt to current and future ways of working.
As businesses grapple with how to ensure their spaces are still fit for purpose, both now and in the future, Mitie has identified four pillars of activity that need to be considered to ensure premises provide the most effective working environment for colleagues and visitors.
Investment in colleague confidence: After more than a year of working from home for some, many employees will be apprehensive about returning to their workplace. Investing in solutions that focus on safety and security, particularly those that are easy to spot around the building, will provide peace of mind. However, for it to be most effective, this investment must be coupled with strong communications so that employees are aware and reassured by the measures put in place by their employer.
Design for success: Putting colleague-experience at the centre of workplace design is essential, with the environment built around the needs of the employees that are using the space. Understanding how colleagues perform their tasks and processes will ensure the move to agile or hybrid working, is effective, as it will focus on creating spaces employees actually need. This will drive both productivity and wellbeing.
Data and fact driven change: As with any key business decision, making changes to the workplace shouldn’t be based on a hunch. Where colleagues work has a significant impact on how they feel about their role and employer, so facts and data must drive any changes that are made. Understanding and tracking how the workplace is performing from the colleagues’ perspective will ensure these spaces can adapt to organisational culture, remain inclusive, and are empathetic to wellbeing.
Technology enabled: Technology has a role in every part of modern life and the workplace experience should be no different. User-friendly and intuitive technologies, such as desk-booking or food ordering apps, improve colleague experience, foster a sense of safety and security, and deliver productivity benefits. Technology can also share data on how spaces could be used for other purposes or costs reduced.
The guide has been launched as Mitie reopens its own Head Office at The Shard in London, following an extensive site review and the roll-out of a broad range of solutions to support a safe, secure and productive return to the office. This includes the installation of a cutting-edge Luxibel UV air disinfection system, which uses ultraviolet light to help eradicate harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi and mould, throughout the office’s ventilation system and meeting rooms. Every surface on site has been treated with Mitie’s natural and safe cleaning solution, Citrox Protect, which creates a three-dimensional microbiota barrier coating to provide a clean environment. Mitie has also rolled-out its workplace app, Aria, so that employees can book desks and check office capacity in real-time, giving them all the information they need to decide whether they’ll work that day from home or the office.
All these solutions are in addition to the one-way system, thermal imaging ‘fever-screening’ cameras on entry to the office and ‘sparkle zones’ – high touch point areas where employees are asked to use hand sanitiser after use – which were introduced last year.
Carlo Alloni, Managing Director, Technical Services and Integrated Facilities Management, Mitie, said:
“How we work has changed unimaginably over the past year and so our workplaces must change too. While many of us have realised the benefits of working from home, effective workspaces will continue to play a key role in keeping colleagues productive and providing a space for collaboration that can’t be replicated online. Businesses that best understand, and harness, the relationship between their workplace, people, and technology will be the ones who bounce back from lockdown the quickest.”
Bouncing Back: Building the future workplace is available to download here.
Notes to editors
Founded in 1987, Mitie is one of the UK’s leading facilities management (FM) and professional services companies. We offer a range of services to Central Government and Defence, Communities (Healthcare, Education and Local Authorities); and Technical Services (Engineering Services, Energy, Water and Real Estate Services) and Business Services (Security, Cleaning and Office Services) to Private Sector clients in Financial Services, Manufacturing, Transport, Retail and Telecoms; and Specialist Services (Care & Custody, Landscapes and Waste Management).
Mitie, which acquired Interserve’s FM business in December 2020, employs 77,500 people and is the champion of the ‘Front-Line Heroes’ who have kept Britain running during the COVID-19 pandemic. We take care of our customers’ people and buildings, by delivering essential services and deploying industry leading technology to create safe and effective workspaces.
The business continues to execute its technology-led strategy and in the past six months has received multiple awards.
Find out more at www.mitie.com.