The employee experience has become a top priority for businesses across the globe as they reimagine the way work is done post-pandemic. It has become clear that this testing period will serve as an inflection point in the world of work.
The way business was conducted in all industries changed almost overnight in March 2020 when much of the worldwide workforce was shifted to a remote modality. Many employees remained working remotely for more than a year, and for some still do, which has resulted in a paradigm shift of the traditional pre-pandemic model of working at an office Monday through Friday for eight hours per day.
What does the employee experience really mean?
For starters, employee experience involves taking a people-first approach. When it comes to permanently adjusting work modality and scheduling to account for the changes brought on by the pandemic, for the most part, companies will need to change their business models to incorporate their employee’s desire to maintain the flexibility. Because the pandemic upended the traditional work model, companies are adopting a new normal by transitioning to hybrid, flexible and agile work experiences.
Why is it important for employers to consider what the employee experience means for their company? Research done during the pandemic showed that workers crave flexibility and that the vast majority of workers did not want to return to the office full-time once the pandemic subsided. Instead, workers now want to pick and choose when and where they work.
The employee experience is changing with the Time
In order to manage a workplace where people are operating from different locations at the same time – some from home, others from the office and any combination in between - adopting certain technology has become imperative for business continuity. For example, to help make a hybrid office more efficient, workplace scheduling tools are absolutely necessary. When employees working a hybrid schedule, meaning they split their time between home and the office, decide to come into work it is important that adequate space and resources are available.
The worst-case scenario of a hybrid modality is too many employees come into the office on the same day so not enough workstations are available, or very few employees show up on a given day so too many workstations are vacant.
Enter workplace scheduling software, which allows employees to reserve space and resources in advance to prevent a situation where too many or too few employees are in the office on the same day.
Smartway2’s Workplace Scheduling is built for the hybrid workplace, offering the ability to book a desk or conference room, managing the new complexity of a hybrid schedule, while also managing health and safety measures like cleaning and social distancing when require through its powerful rules engine.
“Our top focus is user experience right now,” says Huw Davies, the product director at Smartway2.
“The more we can get people to engage with that, the better use of space for our customers. We want the users to have a great experience and personally, that is my driving force. If they have a good experience and you get better adoption, then the company wins because we start utilizing the space better.”
Huw is known around Smartway2 as the “brain behind the product.” He explains,
“We’re trying to build a view based on the user’s status. Whether they are in the office, working from home, or they have the day off, but they still have a meeting for some reason. We’re going to use that information to really give some clear view of their working day within the system.”
Return to Office: a Safe and Seamless Employee Experience
At the start of the pandemic, when much of the global workforce needed time adjusting to a sudden shift to remote work, Smartway2 were able to pivot quickly and jump into action by implementing a solution in a matter of weeks because of the configuration ability of the layers that already existed within the software.
People first mindset
The workplace has shifted to be more about people and spaces, whereas before the pandemic space was the primary focus. This is a different set of problems.
“The smart experience is about people,” says Huw. “It’s more than just about offices. That’s why we’re thinking about working on a hybrid working solution and the fact that it isn’t just about booking the space and showing whether space is available or not. We’re thinking about the people aspect by trying to give them something that is relevant even when they are not in the office and have no need for the space.”
With that in mind, technology can really make all the difference when it comes to enhancing people’s happiness with their jobs.
“What I strive to do is to be helpful to the user without being overbearing,” says Huw. “It’s very easy when writing software to think that I’ve come up with a brilliant way of working and now I’m going to force everyone to do this because I think that it’s great. The reality is that everyone likes to work in a completely different way. In the smart experience, we give the end-user smart suggestions and reduce complexity in decision making.”
Making the right choice of technology
“We offer some very different alternative ways of implementing functionality with the real intention of being simpler to implement,” says Huw. “Outlook integration is something where the way we’ve implemented it means we get more reach. We can reach more customers because we can reach more platforms.”
Speaking of more platforms, Smartway2 is the only company that provides Microsoft Outlook integration that can run on a Windows platform, a Mac and on the web. The integration is done in the backend which makes everything work better and less chances of double booking than other integrations. This is a key differentiator from the other workplace scheduling providers available in the market.
In terms of other unique qualities about the Smartway2 product, Huw emphasizes the configurability that the product has to offer,
“We want all that configurability and customizability that we love and that all our previous clients love, but we want it to be controlled in a manner which means you can implement to way you want it, fast. It’s a big USP of the product.”
Much of configurability functionality is down to Smartway2’s unique rule engine.
“When we started, we had the luxury of having a blank canvas, but a huge amount of experience in workplace technology and scheduling,” says Huw. So, we built the rules engine to address all of those issues immediately, so not after you’ve filled in your reservation details and pressed save, which is the better way round for business rules to be written. It’s also important we can fully integrate into the workplace technology ecosystem, so we have an open API that’s fully accessible and documented meaning we can just about integrate with any other workplace technology.”
If you would like to understand more about how Smartway2 can help with hybrid working in your organization, why not request a chat or a demo here.