Companies around the world are gradually beginning to return to the offices and workplaces they left at the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The nature, extent, and timeline for returning vary from location to location and company to company. But for organizations everywhere, some form of return to the office is either being planned or already underway.
Businesses of all sizes must prepare for the return, which includes both organizing the physical space they use for social distancing, and also adapting their workplace processes to the new workplace normal. New data from 451 Research indicates that one-fifth of organizations are expecting altered conditions at work to remain in place until 2021 or beyond. That’s a long haul, and you need a plan for this new era of working.
So what should that plan look like? We’ve highlighted four key steps of a successful back-to-the-office plan and why they’re so important to making the change.
1. Accept and adapt
Before creating your back to the office plan, it’s important to accept that the workplace has changed, and be resolute in making remote working and digital processes fundamental to your business moving forward.
When the pandemic first struck, the National Gallery Singapore, like many organizations, had to quickly and effectively digitize their key processes. Processes like visitor registration, incident reporting, reviews, and approvals were sluggish, bureaucratic, and prone to inaccuracy. These paper-based, legacy modes of operation needed to be revamped and revitalized for the low-contact demands of a socially distanced world.
With Nintex, National Gallery Singapore was able to get a new digital visitor registration form up and running in only three days. Visitors can now quickly and seamlessly sign-in on arrival, using their mobile devices, so management and security have full visibility over risks and requirements. The data recorded can also be provided to relevant authorities to support contact tracing—which means that workflow automation can not only help with the gallery’s pandemic response efforts, but the whole of Singapore’s.
National Gallery Singapore quickly realized the reality of the situation and what needed to be done, then did it. It may seem simple, but it’s incredibly vital. And without this step, nothing that comes after it will succeed.
2. Prepare a new foundation
Is your technology infrastructure ready to support both remote and on-premises workers? Even if your eventual plan is for all employees to go back to the workplace, you’ll still need to handle temporary or rotational remote workers in the meantime.
Nintex Workflow Cloud connects all your users and systems, both on-premises and in the cloud, so your personnel can fulfill their responsibilities, whether they return to the office or continue working remotely. When your crucial business processes are accessible anywhere, anytime, you’ve got business continuity covered in every eventuality.
3. Build safety into everything
As well as ensuring your employees’ transition back to the office is productive, it is of course even more important that it’s safe and complies with internal directives and external regulations. You should have systems in place that can manage and monitor each individual staff members’ return to the office, their rotation cycles, and personal health and risk requirements.
BNBuilders achieved this with Nintex, using mobile apps, electronic forms, and workflows to check if employees were eligible to go back on site and record and monitor visits. Like Singapore National Gallery, the measures they put in place not only enable BNBuilders to safeguard their people and productivity, but also to assist in wider contact tracing efforts if needed.
Because Nintex Workflow Cloud brings together all your systems and data, you can quickly build and implement solutions that use your existing HR records, line of business applications, and more. With a no-code, drag-and-drop interface, you can go from planning to prototype to build without delay. It took BNBuilders just a single day to prepare and roll out their solution—because when it comes to your people’s safety, there’s no time to lose.
4. Expand and enhance
Once you’ve implemented what you view as the basics for a safe and productive return to the office, it’s no time to rest on your laurels. No matter how rigorous your investigation and planning, it’s all too easy to forget something that will later prove vital.
A back-to-the-office business transformation is like any other; a journey, not a destination. That means constantly analyzing and improving your processes. If you can find a new chance to implement workflows and automation and make operations run smoother and safer in these unprecedented times, then you should seize the opportunity.
Aim to expand and enhance the measures you put in place whenever possible. To help you, we’ve provided a wide range of resources to assist with your return to the office. These include workflow templates and process maps for employee assessments, visitor tracking and notifications, hiring and onboarding, and more. We hope they’re useful as you explore your organization’s requirements for this new era for work, as well as the possibilities to make lasting changes for the better.
Ready to plan your return to the office?
Going back to the office may be daunting. The sense of upheaval and risk, after all the disruption of going remote, may put many off taking those first steps back to the office.
That’s why it’s so vital to have a proper plan—providing invaluable direction and reassurance, as well as enabling transparency and keeping employees in the loop. And the back-to-the-office measures you put in place fulfill the same function. When your people can see that you’re doing everything possible to facilitate their safe and effective return and see the difference in their working lives every day, they’ll feel happier moving forward with you in these uncertain times.
If you’d like to explore how Nintex can help ensure your return to the office is planned and actioned as best as possible, just get in touch. We’re glad to offer our assistance in any way we can.