Directly target return-to-office concerns and prepare the workplace for the future

Employees aren’t interested in abandoning the office entirely, but they aren’t ready to let go of their flexibility, either. According to a Best Practice Institute survey of more than 3,000 employees, 64% prefer would prefer to return to a workplace that allows them to seamlessly move between the office and remote work according to their schedules and preferences.

How are workplace, IT, HR, and corporate real estate professionals building the solutions that facilitate an attractive digital and physical working environment? This was one of the main topics of our recent webinar, “Workplace experience apps deliver value well beyond the return-to-office.”

During the webinar, attendees responded to a poll about the hurdles they anticipate will discourage their employees from returning to their desks. A significant 56% expect employees will want to come into the office based on the schedules of fellow colleagues—while another 29% anticipate that employees will have concerns about their safety and wellness in the workplace.

“It’s more than keeping employees safe,” said JLL Digital CIO Edward Wagoner, who moderated the event. “The goal in mind is to keep them safe and incentivize them to go back into the office.”

The panelists provided deeper insights into how decision-makers can proactively address these employee concerns, as well as how a workplace experience app can help turn those strategies into reality. They also discussed the results of the recent Verdantix Global Corporate Survey focused on smart building technology.

Prioritize health investments to build trust today and tomorrow

Implementing safety procedures and health screenings are now foundational goals that businesses realize must be achieved before they can expect their workers to enthusiastically return to the office. This may mean making significant changes to how companies budget their real estate spending.

“There was a time when reducing real estate costs were priorities number one, number two, and number three. Now, health and safety are rising close to the top of that list,” added Wagoner.

Panelists also noted how the same effective communication strategies employed to share health information during the pandemic could also be used to provide employees with guidance and assurance during the next big season of uncertainty.

Simplify collaboration to generate organic, in-person engagement

There’s just one question on employees’ minds more than their health when it comes to return-to-office. Who else is going to show up?

“Collaboration is the primary focus of the office going forward,” said Joy Trinquet, smart buildings industry analyst at Verdantix.

The office is still the best environment for building team culture, growth, learning, and collaboration. However, none of these is likely to occur unless the relevant members of each team are available for in-person collaboration.

“No one wants to drive in traffic only to find that their teammates are all at home,” said panelist Michael Levine, director of JLL Jet product marketing at JLL Technologies.

Levine provided a short demonstration of how the scheduling features built in to the employee experience app JLL Jet provide users with reliable visibility into the hybrid work schedules of their favorite team members and collaborators. It’s just one way that the technology can be used to directly assuage employee concerns about the return-to-office.

Respond to multiple concerns with a single, vendor-agnostic solution

Panelists agreed that a vendor-agnostic solution allows organizations to make better use of their existing technology and better connect those systems. They also don’t have to be a JLL customer to use JLL Jet. They can implement it alongside or integrate it with other services or products they already have.

Additionally, panelists emphasized that any technology solution to employee concerns about returning must be implemented in a way that’s as user-friendly as possible.

“You’re not going to open five different apps for five different workflows,” said Trinquet. “It’s going to help to use an agnostic workplace experience app to make it as simple for employees as possible.”

Want to learn more about JLL Jet, a mobile-first workplace experience app designed to put return-to-office concerns to rest? Start by scheduling a demo or click below to watch an informative webinar.