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The Best Workplace Resources and Conversations of the Year

by Erin Sevitz on December 31, 2021
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After adjusting to new ways of working following a global pandemic, we’re all looking ahead to a new year full of promise. There are new opportunities to rethink the role of the office, make smarter decisions about real estate and facilities management, and reinvent the overall employee experience.

To help you plan, we’ve compiled a list of workplace resources to get you started.

Our favorite workplace resources this year

Employee engagement resources

From keeping the spirit of team culture alive while working remotely to staving off the Great Resignation, keeping employees engaged, focused, and feeling accomplished in their roles requires extra focus right now. With only 36% of employees engaged — or expressing an emotional connection where they feel valued and believe they play an active role in their company’s success — there’s a lot of room for improvement.

Gartner offers a look at five actions you can take to humanize your employee value proposition (EVP), leading to more active, engaged, and productive employees, and stronger business outcomes. This resource says that making even small changes in your employee engagement management can lead to an increase in employees who are likely to recommend your business due to their deeper connections; an increase in performance by increasing more flexibility; and an increase in employees’ physical, financial, and mental wellness by offering growth opportunities in whole-person well-being. 

Work Design Magazine also offers an array of workplace resources full of insight on how managers can approach employee engagement, including what factors shape the employee experience and how to use office design to bring employees together.

A common thread across these workplace resources is the “employee first” mentality. 

Initiatives to keep employees first, such as implementing new schedules with increased flexibility, or adding amenities such as in-office coffee shops that transition to wine bars for happy hour, can help re-engage employees and keep burnout at bay.

Our own workplace resource, New Rules for Creating Workplace Happiness, shares more proactive steps you can take to move employees from burnout to bliss. 

We recently discussed the difference in engagement among different generations of employees. The iOFFICE + SpaceIQ resource, Employee Experience Defines Business Success in the Hybrid Workplace Era, looks at improving workplace management with a distributed workforce.

While many managers only focus on employees’ geographical differences, it’s important to also look at generational distributions and how different ages and experience levels may present different expectations in terms of engagement, technology, and workplace management styles. Sensor company VergeSense offers a great workplace resource called How to Develop a Workplace Strategy for Generation Z, a guide that helps workplace managers take a more open-minded approach to managing a younger generation and developing an office environment that encourages creativity and productivity. 

A recent episode of the iOFFICE Workplace Innovator Podcast recently featured a discussion with Kate Vitasek, an author, educator, and architect of the Vested® business model, on how global companies are revamping their process to better manage risk and create value for their contracted and outsourced partnerships. Listen to A Flexible Framework for Outsourcing and Contracting to hear insights on how to keep outsourcing and contracting approaches fresh in a changing economy while still protecting your company.

Technology for smarter workplace management

Smart workplace technology plays an important role in optimizing the employee experience and also improving overall efficiency.

In The Ultimate Workplace Technology Buyer’s Guide, iOFFICE + Teem offers insights on what to consider as you evaluate workplace tech to connect and empower your most valuable resource – your people. A companion resource is the Teem e-book, 5 Workplace Technology Trends for a New Era. This e-book specifically offers IT leaders insight into technology that allows employees to work anywhere, empowering them and giving them confidence. 

Facilities and asset managers have more and more working pieces to keep organized and functional. SpaceIQ’s Archibus offers guides specifically regarding enterprise asset management (EAM), especially for companies that have a rudimentary system in place or no system at all. The Archibus guide, Making the Transition to Enterprise Asset Management, offers insight on how to introduce the idea of EAM to your team, how to develop a strategic plan for maximizing the effectiveness of your new system, and thoughts on best implementation.

Hybrid workplace resources

Navigating the change toward hybrid workspaces is an ongoing challenge for leadership and workplace managers. NELSON Worldwide took a look at how designers and architects are changing how they approach the physical aspect of building and design to fit what they call the phygital landscape. Check out their guide, 100 Ways to Maximize Your Physical, Digital, and Human Assets.

Using their 2021 Workplace Impact Report as a base, VergeSense also offers Hybrid Office Design Strategies for 2022 and Beyond. These strategies include creating a variety of workspace layouts, making sure to include smart office technology, and using occupancy data to drive space allocations (see the next section on space management resources). 

If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to developing a hybrid workplace,  Global Workplace Analytics released a forecasting guide to help. They estimate that 56% of the U.S. workforce holds a job that is at least partially compatible with remote work. This report gathers data that will help workplace managers get a better idea for the global landscape of remote work and what to expect moving forward, so they can make more informed decisions.

Learning what space our companies need, how that space is being occupied, and how occupants are using space becomes even more challenging as we navigate new norms – especially if we receive pushback on those changes from employees. Adding agility to our workspaces is a top priority for facilities managers and an ongoing challenge.

The IFMA Foundation released a comprehensive guide to help those leaders focused on space functionality and productivity understand current trends regarding building design and its impact on human behavior. Co-sponsored by iOFFICE + SpaceIQ and authored by Dr. Sally Augustin, Applying What Scientists Know About WHERE And HOW People Work Best provides insights and examples culled from extensive research. This guide presents scientific insights in accessible, readable language for quick, streamlined implementation.

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Employee health and wellness resources

While most of us are focused on reimagining the workplace for the future, we’re still grappling with lingering concerns about COVID-19 in the present.

There are very real challenges to consider, including reconfiguring the workplace for social distancing, navigating employee wellness screening, and implementing contact tracing without compromising employee privacy.

Watch this webinar recording to get tips on how to design a safer workplace with social distancing guidelines, find out how to use touchless wayfinding, and check out this workplace resources page for a full library of solutions and guidelines to help you navigate the return to the office.

The pandemic has also brought employee mental health to the forefront, calling attention to a crisis driven by isolation, stress, and burnout.

To hear practical strategies for improving employee wellbeing from industry experts, listen to this roundtable discussion, one of our most popular conversations of the past year.

Get more great workplace resources all year

Give yourself the gift of inspiration all year long! Subscribe to the Workplace Innovator Podcast to get more great content delivered right to your inbox.

The podcast features some of the most innovative leaders who share their expertise in corporate real estate, workplace design, facilities management, employee engagement, technology, and much more.

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