Never before 90 minutes passed so fast in life. People say time flies when you are having fun, and fun I had. It was a humbling experience to share an online panel with such experienced team of Facility Management experts in Brazil.
I am very grateful to Irimar Palombo, Head of Infrastructure and president of ABRAFAC; Samuel Teixeira, Facility Management Renault; Juliana Fiasqui, Facility Manager and vice president of ULTRA and Thiago Santana, Hard Services and Facility manager AC Camargo. Having Luiz Adolfo Gruppi Afonso (LAGA), senior advisor at Taking, as the host of the FM Talk Show was the cherry on the cake. LAGA skilfully extracted years of experience from each panellist, leaving me hungry for more.
In case you have missed it, please REGISTER and watch the recording.
Clockwise, from top left. Cristiano Mazza, Grupo Discabos. Samual Teixeira, Renault. Wilmar Silvino, Trio Arquitetura e Engenharia. Irimar Palombo, ABRAFAC. Luiz Adolfo Gruppi Afonso (LAGA), Taking. Thiago Santana, AC Camargo. Nica Faustino, New Wave Workspace. Juliana Fiasqui, ULTRA.
Top 5 Lessons Learned
1. Perception is reality
Employees need to ‘see’ the invisible when feeling safe to return to the office. Visual signage, existence of sanitisers at key locations of the employee journey back to the office, post meeting room and desk utilisation sanitisation and thorough cleaning procedures are essential activities to ensure employees feel save at the workplace. Technology can help to inform, automate and track such activities, thus ensuring everyone involved knows that the company cares for the well-being of the employees.
2. When the home-office is not fit for working
It is important to understand employees’ home-office setup, being their workspace, their equipment, their family situation before attempting to define who can work from home, who should be back to the office. In general, employees without a home office space, equipment, peace of mind will not be productive at home and will crave returning to the office. If companies fail to identify such needs, they risk losing talent employees who will seek a new employer to work for. Employees deserve a working environment sponsored by their employers being at the office, or at home. Anecdotal cases of corporate employers not paying for the employees’ home-office desk, chair, fast and reliable internet access are appalling and should not happen but unfortunately, they still occur nowadays, globally.
3. The role of Facility Management at the home-office
One theme that came up twice was about the role of FM for the home-office. Although still unknown, it was nice to see the panel and the YouTube audience were concerned about what FM can do to assist those working from home. Still unanswered but certainly a topic to be evolved for the benefit of employees who can be productive, have access to similar help and support from FM and feel part of one team when working from home.
4. The value of technology for a successful return to the office
It became extremely clear that technology can play a key role not only for the return to the office but also post-pandemic, where the old and reliable Microsoft Excel is simply not the solution for employers and employees seeking to evolve, if not to revolutionise, the value of the office to employers and employees. Technology can help with employee surveys, desk and meeting room reservations, enablement of the digital twin and help with social distancing, contact tracing, checklists, business intelligence and analytics and much more!
5. The hybrid meetings and distributed workforce
Under a distributed workforce, when team members work from several different locations - headquarters, satellite office or the home-office - people start to question whether the employee workplace location has an impact on how employees are valued. Distributed workforce is nothing new, but it caught the employers’ attention for being a viable compromise where employees can work near home at a satellite office, co-work space while still having a company office to work from. The covid-19 pandemic pushed this setup to a new level, thus the dilemma ahead of us. Would employees be considered equals when time for promotion, collaboration comes up?
Concerns about diversity, equality and inclusion were highlighted when living through daily meetings where employees are in hybrid meetings, where some people are present in the office and others attend meetings remotely. Would home-office employees attending meeting with office-based employees have the same presence an opportunity to participate on meetings? Would home-office employees feel as valued as those present daily? Would they feel their voices heard in meetings, when attending meetings remotely?
Technology from Crestron Flex, Poly, Cisco Webex, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, RingCentral and many others can play a key role in establishing equality for hybrid meetings, when supported by meeting culture that values the meeting presence being physical or virtual of its workforce.
Above all, the greatest learning for me is that technology by itself is not the solution to the challenge, but when used to enable the well-being of people, can be a must-have piece of the puzzle in our quest to return to the office post covid-19 pandemic.
As the world gets vaccinated and people and employers further define the Hybrid Workplace and the Digital Office, I am intrigued and equally excited to be on this journey and play our part with new Wave Workspace to transform technology in value to our partners and customers in order to help them to achieve value in 4 pillars.
Value Proposition: 4 Pillars.
After 1 ½ year of covid-19, companies started to adopt a hybrid workplace | digital office stance and are in search of rightsizing, where the correct amount of space is available to a hybrid workforce that can work from home, work from the office, work from anywhere. Architecture companies are being brought in to help companies to re-think the value of the workplace to the hybrid workforce post-pandemic. When combined, Architecture and Technology can foster employee productivity, well-being at optimum real-estate cost to companies. With New Wave Workspace policies, Facility Managers, Human Resources, Corporate Real Estate can define and help the teams to get back to the office at the best dates to collaborate, network and leverage the office space to its maximum.
Return to Office Safely
Facility Managers, business managers and Human Resources can team up, create bubbles, or active based workgroups, therefore limiting the number of people who can come to the office, enforcing workplace capacity and social distancing. Employees will understand that the workplace while at the office is safe to return. Customers can use New Wave Workspace to create post-booking, post-usage cleaning policies that communicate the need for cleaning of the workspace.
Increase on Productivity
Understanding that different people are more productivity in different environments, being working from home, from the office or from anywhere; business managers can leverage New Wave Workspace intelligent workplace policies and put the right team together back to the office in waves, therefore leveraging the office for the most productive work, while delaying the return of others who are more comfortable and productive while working from home. A rare Win/Win outcome searched by many companies can indeed be accomplished with the right workplace policy supported by the digital twin of the physical building. Intelligent Business Intelligence and Analytics can be leveraged to understand office occupancy, meeting room and desk utilisation, social distancing, contact tracing, energy consumption. Such insights can feed data-driven decisions to increase productivity.
Positive Impact on ESG
The Environmental, Social and Governance impact of the hybrid workplace | digital office shall not be ignored! Facility Managers, Human Resources and business leaders can re-think the way the office is organised, and which groups of people can and should be back on the same dates in order to maximise productivity and greatly reduce office occupancy. As only the people who need to be in the office are there, the company can then realise significant savings in energy, water and building maintenance costs by grouping those in the office at less space than required previously. Employees can also save on travel cost, including petrol, lunch and commute by staying at home. The hybrid workplace | digital office is a catalyst of change and impact on ESG. Done properly, the world will be better off by a properly planned and executed back-to-office workplace strategy.
Download New Wave Workspace Hybrid Workplace | Digital Office Insights for more details
I would be grateful to connect on Linkedin and to meet and share our global experience in how we are partnering with Facility Managers, Human Resources and Corporate Real Estate globally and helping them to plan and execute their workplace and workforce strategies.
To conclude, I want to thank our co-sponsors Cristiano Mazza, Grupo Discabos and Wilmar Sivino, Trio Arquitetura for their trust , partnership and key contribution to the FM Talk Show and the audience for attending live and for their comments, which we extracted a few below.
“Aprendi muito com as experiências de grandes gestores que estão fazendo na pratica. Parabens pelo evento!!!”
“Parabens a todos os palestrantes pelas informações e insights, nos aprendemos todos os dias com as dificuldades.” Juntos somos mais fortes” – FM sempre!!
Paulo Sergio Fontebasso
“Evento Sensacional! Parabens a todos os envolvidos. Equipe de Facilities trocando experiências soman para todos! Parabens!!”
Rodrigo de Souza (Arteris)
Thank you for reading.
Commercial Director New Wave Workspace