The tech workplace manager’s guide to hybrid happiness
The tech industry is more familiar with hybrid work than most. But none of us have experienced it at this scale. In 2020, 77% of IT and technology employees worked remotely. Flexibility has become a core part of companies’ workplace experience strategies—not just a recruiting tool. While every company has a slightly different approach, 90% plan to adopt a hybrid work model moving forward.
As the workplace manager, you’re on the frontlines of that transition. You must adapt the workplace to fit employees’ needs. But providing flexibility and structure, while maintaining your own sanity, is tough. The good news? You don’t have to do it alone. In this guide, we’ll show you how workplace managers at tech companies have transitioned to hybrid work with the help of a workplace platform.
Make employees feel safe and welcome
Reopening the workplace is one thing. Getting people to come back is another thing. The vast majority of technology employees want their employers to mandate vaccines for anyone entering the workplace. Even if that isn’t feasible for your company, you can take steps to make employees feel heard, understood, and protected. For example, you can:
- Add touchless sign-in and health screening to your visitor check-in process
- Enable socially distanced desk reservations
- Keep track of workplace capacity to avoid overcrowding
Communicate any new measures to your employees. Show them you care about their safety. Take Samsara as an example. This industrial IoT company was at the forefront of the tech industry’s return-to-work. Samsara relied on its workplace platform to provide its employees peace of mind and encourage them to return to the workplace with confidence.
Of course, you’re already busy managing every person, place, and package within the workplace. There aren’t enough hours in the day to roll out new protocols. How can you be a hybrid hero when you’re drowning in tedious admin tasks? Hint: automation.
Automate tasks throughout the entire workplace
It’s hard to transform how people work and still get your own work done.
This is the dilemma Alex Pezzulo, Senior Office and Facilities Manager at Conductor, faced when her company went hybrid last year. So many changes had to roll out at once, each equally critical. Rather than attempting the superhuman, Pezzulo offloaded the menial tasks to the company’s workplace platform.
“[With our platform,] we can automatically set capacity limits, allocate desks to people who need one, screen employees, and activate their access badge for the day. It saves me a lot of time and gives me space to be productive in other ways for the company.”
– Alex Pezzulo, Senior Office and Facilities Manager at Conductor
Putting administrative tasks on autopilot gives her the bandwidth to monitor what’s happening in the workplace. Your workplace platform should feel like a contributor on your team, not some extraneous tool. Just take it from Kyle de Golia, First Impressions Coordinator at Xero. This is how he describes his workplace platform: [It’s] this digital friend I get to hang out with every day. It’s one thing to have a teammate, it’s another thing to have a reliable teammate.”
Leverage tools that are easy to use and access
All this talk of new software might sound unappealing. If you’re like most workplace managers, you’re juggling an array of disjointed tools. Each one promised to resolve a problem but instead presented more.
Your workplace tools should connect with each other and be easy to use without training. That’s hard to find, so workplace managers like Peluzzo assessed several options. In the end, she chose a workplace platform that was both user-friendly and integration-friendly.
“[Our workplace platform] allows us to make sure our employees have the resources they need to do their job, that our space is functional, and that everyone who walks into our office feels welcome.”
– Alana Smith, Head of Workplace and Real Estate at Zoom
The best platforms let employees continue business as usual, with some added functionality. For example, many tech companies communicate on Slack. So Slack is where their workplace platform should send notifications. Meet employees where they already are, with the capabilities they need.
Create great experiences for everyone
People know technology companies for their bold, often quirky, corporate cultures. As a workplace manager, how do you maintain the culture everyone wants while providing the safety and flexibility they expect?
From a brand perspective, it’s about communication. Say a client comes on-site for a meeting. Upon arrival, she’s forced through an intense health questionnaire, then confronted with an NDA. Sure, you’re checking the boxes with regards to security. But what about brand perception?
Mailchimp uses a workplace platform to email people once their visit is scheduled. This pre-registration step equips visitors with information like directions and parking details. It also lets Mailchimp’s reception staff know who to expect, since walk-ins aren’t permitted.
“It’s a good balance between the high level of security we need and the open personality we’ve worked hard to create.”
– Sharon Teng, Operations Admin Manager at Mailchimp
Experience is also crucial from the employee standpoint. Sure, you have to monitor capacity and allocate resources. But employees shouldn’t feel like nameless data points.
To make hybrid work work, you need to arrange your space with collaboration in mind. Is it easy to find a quiet place for a call? Consider a meeting room booking system or designated conference call areas. Many tech companies use hot desking to maximize their real estate investment and employee productivity. People can reserve desks, share schedules, and invite co-workers on-site. Some tools even let you automate lunch delivery based on who’s reserved a desk.
The future of work is in your hands. With a workplace platform by your side, nothing can stop you from achieving hybrid happiness.