How to Support Workplace Change Management in the Post-Covid Era

18 November 2021

For many people, the return to the office-based work will be a challenge.

Be it sacrificing some of the work-life balance gains made during a prolonged period of remote working, or anxiety around health in light of the events of the past 18 months, it is the job of employers to make their workspaces safe and appealing to their recruits once again.

Indeed, the dynamics are changing. Research reveals a belief among leading commercial real estate companies that individual workspaces could take up as little as 30% of future workplaces. Moreover, further insight shows that less than 40% of businesses expect three quarters of their workforce to be at their normal place of work at any one time going forwards.

A drastic change to space-use, this trend could transform the way the workplace is used and its return on investment. But it will only be a successful transition if companies are able to make it work for every employee.

This means developing and implementing carefully thought-out change management systems that appreciate the turbulence and stresses caused since the pandemic period began in March 2020.

Further tweaks, therefore, must be carried out with empathy to ensure everyone is on board.

The role of Front of House

So, how can front of house experts support workplace management in this period of transition?

Ultimately, change management is about making people feel comfortable, and that is what we are here to do for our clients’ employees. Our role, whatever the scale of change being implemented, and size of team, is to communicate the ‘what and why’ of the changes in order to obtain maximum buy-in from those using the workspace.

The key to this, albeit simple, is to have guest experience professionals placed on the ground to offer clarity, navigation and provide a reassuring voice in the form of floor captains, helpdesk staff and other dedicated personnel on site.

These individuals are ambassadors for the change that is taking place and are able to offer reorientation to client employees, taking them through new technology such as desk booking and signing in software, as well as any changes to layouts and new spaces which may benefit them. Having a clear point of call and a friendly face to field enquiries, feedback and concerns is critical.

It is important to make sure employees are making the most of new systems and spaces, and enjoy and commit to new ways of working, not only for themselves but also for their peers too. It’s the floor captain’s role to politely reinforce the need for client employees to fulfil their responsibilities. Portico teams are trained to engage in these conversations in a way that is not patronising, outlining the benefits and encouraging that all important buy-in.

Success of new working practices can only be realised through collaboration, community building and the reinforcement of social responsibility. It is the floor captain’s role to nurture this. Their presence, support and gentle guidance plays a fundamental part in creating a new chapter in the world of work.

On top of the basics outlined, guest experience teams should be prepared to go the extra mile to make workplace change management policies successful – something that is built into our DNA at Portico.

This could be by deploying floor hosts – special coordinators who have started to rebuild relationships in the post-pandemic era. From our experience to date, such personnel are extremely popular additions to workplaces and can play a key role in any transition project.