Imagine making a reservation for the company gym, arranging for a dry-cleaning pickup from the office, and booking a conference room for tomorrow’s brainstorming session — all from the comfort of a mobile app. While this scenario may have been unheard of just a short time ago, the reservable workplace is becoming a must-have for hybrid workers, says Leon Papkoff, EVP of The CXApp Division/Workplace Experience at Inpixon, an indoor intelligence platform provider.
“The employee experience is influenced by a variety of factors, including the work environment, tools and technologies, and the employer’s commitment to employee health, safety and success,” said Papkoff. “Providing a great experience is all about laying the groundwork for a more connected workplace that can handle bumps and bruises along the way like we’ve seen in the past year.”
Palo Alto, Calif.-based Inpixon is a sponsor of Simpler Media Group's virtual Fall Digital Workplace Experience (DWX) Conference, taking place Oct. 14 and Oct. 15. Papkoff will present the session “Creating a Reservable Workplace for the Hybrid Workforce Using Desks, Spaces and Things.” We spoke with Papkoff about what it means to create a reservable workplace and how it can help employers deliver a better employee experience.
Sizing Up the Hybrid Workforce
SMG: How well are employers managing hybrid workforces as employees get back to the office?
Leon Papkoff: We’re seeing trends that are all over the place. Different types of companies have different rules around whether they need employees to come in. For example, hardware and services employees must be in the office, whereas software companies are more capable of accommodating ongoing work-from-home expectations.
These are some of the trends we’re seeing across some of the Fortune 500:
- Rolling out phased re-entry schedules by location, building, floors, and even at the team or department level.
- Reduced capacities for onsite workers. Many organizations started at 25%. We’re now seeing a push toward 50%, and within the next year, we’ll likely see offices running at 75% capacities.
- Adoption of technologies to keep workers connected and productive.
SMG: What are some of the biggest obstacles organizations face as they navigate this workforce transition?
Papkoff: Because of the changing dynamic, it’s been a challenge for most companies to keep up with localized guidelines and even emerging employee demands. In August, a Gartner survey of executive leaders showed that 66% of organizations — including tech giants like Apple, Google and Facebook — were delaying office reopenings due to COVID-19 variants.
The most successful rollout strategies we’ve seen come from companies that are committing to a connected workplace solution that’s agile, flexible and allows them to pivot depending on what’s going on across their organization. In addition, the ability to expand and contract the office footprint as needed — also known as elasticity — will be important to future-proof worker safety.
SMG: What about employees? What are you seeing out there regarding the employee experience?
Papkoff: It’s important to remember that people want to be together. We’re inherently tribal. But employees want to do it on their own terms. So, the path forward is setting expectations across policies, processes, and technology to build a smarter, safer experience for everyone. To do this, successful companies will prioritize the following:
- Connecting distributed teams.
- Enabling reservable workspaces.
- Providing real-time alerts and communications.
- Sharing relevant content and company news.
- Supporting a hybrid work model.
Need Shuttles, Parking or Pet Sitting? Just Book It
SMG: Beyond booking meeting and workspaces, what are some other services employers can make reservable for their employees?
Papkoff: Desks are very important — maybe one of the most demanded features right now. You’ll need to make it very easy for an employee to reserve a desk. At the same time, it has to be easy to manage from the workplace experience/operations side across floors, buildings and locations. Each of these offer different capacities.
Beyond where employees sit and when, you also have to consider what employees are doing. That means thinking about your workplace amenities. What do you offer to your employees as a perk? Dry cleaning, meal services, pet sitting, daycare, shuttles, yoga classes, massages? All of these things are essentially ‘bookable.’ Just like reserving a ticket to go see a movie, you can also reserve a spot at daycare, set aside a parking space, or even book the 10th and final spot in tomorrow’s hot yoga session.
This is especially important when you're managing onsite capacities and occupancy ratios. You’ll need to filter that through how many employees can use the onsite gym at a given time, or which employees can board the timed shuttles. You'll likely need to be looking at ways to manage all of this, too.
In addition to desk booking and conference room reservations, the top three reservable scenarios our customers have deployed are: digital lockers and storage, parking spaces, and leisure spaces like café tables or game rooms.
SMG: Before getting started with reservable workspaces, what are some of the most important things organizations should consider?
Papkoff: Because we’re still operating in a somewhat fractured and sensitive timeline, I’d recommend companies look internally at their own processes and address issues from the outside in. My top considerations would be to:
- Instill a sense of safety across all employees and teams.
- Provide channels and opportunities for transparent communications.
- Deliver support for increased mobility around the workplace and beyond.
As many companies are at different stages of planning and rolling out their return-to-work strategies, each decision needs to be carefully considered and analyzed regarding short- and long-term impact on the changing workplace.
The Workplace of Tomorrow
SMG: What’s your vision for the workplace of tomorrow?
Papkoff: I believe it’s all about supporting the distributed workforce with smart office app technology where interactions are connected, contextual and automated. Employees will be working from a variety of locations ranging from at-home or in-transit to in the office or working on the edge. That’s why it will become vitally important to the success of every company to keep engagement high across these different work environments without sacrificing company culture and employee value propositions.
The workplace of tomorrow will be driven by interactive, location-aware technologies that bring together digital systems and deliver exceptional customer and employee experiences. The best solutions will implement mobile-first strategies across the workplace to provide a seamless, dynamic experience across the full employee journey lifecycle. This could include: desk booking, conference room reservations, accessing perks and amenities, receiving contextual and meaningful alerts and notifications, sharing news, accessing education and training, participating in events and so on. But most importantly, serving these things up on-demand from anywhere at any time.