As folks steadily return to the office, leaders have been managing workplace changes through incredible amounts of uncertainty. Now, as workplace traffic picks up, we have some data, but some questions remain. What is the office going to look like now that working patterns have changed? How do we help people choose the office and mitigate anxiety?
Sprinklr’s Head of Global Workplace, Tony Vargas, sat down with Envoy’s Senior Manager of Customer Success, Rawee Gobena, to answer these questions and more in a recent webinar. Spoiler alert: Vargas says a workplace with purpose is one of the most important elements to plan for to get employees excited about working on-site. Read on for some of the highlights of their conversation.
Be intentional about your operating cadence
One of the first topics that Tony dove into was working patterns and how they will impact when employees choose to work on-site. Now that employees have more flexibility in when and where they work, companies need to adapt. The old working patterns of all-day meetings, Monday through Friday, just aren’t going to cut it anymore.
“Workplace flexibility is the key,” Vargas shares, “and [workplace] usage is really going to come from the operational cadence that you establish for your team.” Operational cadence is the rhythm and pace at which work is done and organized. So establishing an intentional operating cadence could mean on-site days that are meant for in-person meetings and collaboration.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Vargas recommends that you “see what people are doing and be intentional about why you’re bringing people together.” He emphasizes the importance of providing a productive, efficient experience at the workplace so that employees know what they’re doing while on-site.
Create a purposeful workplace
Establishing an intentional operating cadence is important, but it’s mainly about logistics. Vargas goes on to talk about the difference between logistics and purpose in the workplace. Obviously, logistics like COVID compliance, hybrid scheduling, and desk and meeting room management are essential to operating your workplace. But those are not the things that encourage employees to gather in person. “You have to focus on purpose,” shares Vargas.
Meaningful interactions with colleagues are one of the biggest benefits to an employee’s time in the workplace. Vargas urged workplace leaders to go out of their way to create purpose and value for people on-site. Start by asking yourself, “what value are you creating for people to come into the office? Career growth? Interactional with leaders? Knowledge [sharing]?” Those are the things that employees want and need.
Many companies are resorting to incentivizing their employees to come back to the office with perks like snacks, drinks, happy hours, and the like. “I think that incentives are great, they’re necessary, and they do work,” shares Vargas, “but if we focus only on incentives, we forget the main thing with it, which is purpose and value.”
Establish rules of engagement for hybrid work
Once you tackle on-site logistics and create a purposeful workplace, it’s time to turn to the rules of engagement for hybrid work. When part of your team is remote and part are together in person, how do you ensure everyone has equal opportunities in meetings? Vargas talks about establishing clear rules of engagement at the workplace when building your return to office plan. Even the things that may seem very obvious, like when to have your camera on during hybrid interactions or how far in advance it’s acceptable to cancel a meeting.
The more that you can streamline the rules of engagement for hybrid employees, the happier they will be. Work with your employees to determine what works for them while both on-site and remote. The rules of engagement may differ by team, remember, “flexibility is key.”
Want to catch the full webinar? Watch the replay to hear more from Sprinklr’s Head of Global Workplace, Tony Vargas.