Throughout the years on this blog, we have discussed the challenges that flexible working creates for unseen workers and the organisations that employ them. Although the practice improves staff productivity, morale and engagement in the right environment, a blasé approachis likely to frustrate and alienate employees. According to Deloitte's 2019 survey, more than three in four flexible workers believe their status has diminished [PDF].

So, what are the workplace solutions that employers can put in place to ensure unseen workers continue to feel happy, valued and even 'seen' when they begin to work flexibly? Let's put on our invisibility cloak and take a look...


What Workplace Solutions Can Support Unseen Workers?

workplace solution for unseen people
  • Communication tools. The popularity of flexible working has been enhanced by increasingly capable technology. Smartphones, laptops and fast wireless internet connections allow most knowledge workers to do their jobs from wherever they are – the office, the home, coffee shops or on the move.

    But technology can also play a central role in keeping workers connected. Business messaging apps and video conferencing tools such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Google Hangouts should be part and parcel of any flexible working set up. These digital tools make sure people still have instant access to colleagues and managers so that they can continue to share ideas and knowledge, no matter where they may be.
  • The right leadership. Despite the distance between remote or flexible workers, leaders can still make a huge difference. To ensure unseen workers don't feel undervalued, managers should determine what individuals need and what they respond to. Help employees set goals, encourage openness and build trust – but be careful not to encroachor micromanage. Employees working away from the office are likely to fear the worst if communication is poor and messages aren't clear.

    It's also wise to monitor progress to establish how employees are coping and what adjustments might need to be made. Creating open channels of communication as part of your workplace solutions will mean staff can express their concerns in a safe and supportive environment.
workplace solutions
  • Space at work. Sometimes coming to the office is unavoidable. Organisations need to be prepared for when employees need office space to do their work. Flexible workers need different things from the workplace than those who spend all their time there. The office becomes a place where they can catch up with colleagues, socialise and have meetings that require more than virtual communication.

    A dedicated desk would be a huge waste of money and space, yet flexible workers do need to design a certain amount of variety into their office to accommodate these different needs and tasks. There's nothing worse for a flexible worker than going into the office and finding nowhere to sit and no meeting space free. To make sure this doesn't happen, employers should invest in workplace solutions that utilise room booking systems and integrate them with messaging apps and employees' online diaries. That way flexible workers can book and plan their visits in advance.

    Once they're in, employees should be able to choose between different spaces depending on what they need. Don't just build traditional meeting rooms with a monitor, central desks and chairs. Instead, create more informal breakout zones– sometimes a comfortable casual space is exactly what employees will need.

    Finally, provide the services and amenities that flexible workers might need and expect. Many people take up flexible working to balance their parental duties. Think about providing a crèche space or daycare facilities – if you don't have the money or space to do that, agree on discounts with local daycare providers.

Put simply, flexible working is changing the dynamics of the workplace and the relationship between employer and employee. Fresh workplace solutions are needed if employers are to support unseen workers now, and in the future.


Take 'An Active Approach' To The Design of Your Office Interiors

For the last 20 years, the expert office design team here at Active have been designing and building workplaces for a wide variety of businesses. No matter their industry or personal requirements, we have built up a strong portfolio of office design, relocation, furniture procurement and storage solutions – why not take a look for yourself to see how they align with your own ambitions?

To learn more about how our workplace solutions can create your ideal office interiors, feel free to get in touch with us – give us a call on 0845 130 9066 or send an e-mail to info@activeworkplacesolutions.co.uk and we'll be in touch as soon as we can.

Where to find us

Active Workplace Solutions, a trading name of Active Facilities Management Ltd

Unit 4 Headley Park 10 Headley Road East Woodley, Reading Berkshire RG5 4SW

+44 (0)845 130 9066

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