What motivates people to return to the office? 

Many reasons factor into why employees may or may not choose to work from a central office. However, employee experience is one key motivation why many would rather work in the HQ. Seamless use of cutting-edge technology seems to be a robust part of this experience!


Three years after the COVID-19 pandemic began, many grew comfortable with work-from-home life. Even with things like missing in-person collaboration, communication gaps between in-person and remote workers, and redundant technology at home, it is not easy to bring employees back to the office. 


Experts agree that offices have to offer things a home cannot, like a seamless employee experience and the latest technology implemented in the office. Smart integration of technology can support a workplace strategy that accommodates many different working styles and personality types, ultimately helping draw people back to the office.


Avoid the nr.1 frustration

“People need to know that when they make the journey into the office, they’ll have seamless access to robust technology. The number one frustration people have when they come into an office is the inability to connect with technology”- Regan Donoghue, senior principal of strategy for Unispace tells Buildings.com.


Technology can enhance workplace culture. By implementing the latest technological solutions employers let people know they are investing in the future of work, they are committed. Donoghue believes that now companies are not fighting other companies, they’re fighting the status quo of staying home, and the strong bias to not change.


Make it cool!

To present a clear alternative to employees’ homes, offices should evolve their offerings. “People have technology at home that works for certain things, but they don’t have the cool collaborative tech tools. Think about some of the really cool technologies out there that are more toward the future of work and that people are excited to engage with”- Donoghue points out.


Technology evolves so quickly that futureproofing may seem impossible. Good, strategic design can accommodate both today’s and tomorrow’s tech without requiring drastic changes in the future. 


“Put yourself in the employees’ shoes when you are looking at putting in new tech, whether it’s hardware or software. Pretend you’re an employee going in for the first time, the IT person is gone for the day, and you have to present. See if it works, and you can see if it makes sense for your company” – Donoghue advises employers. Above all, connecting in your office and staying connected should be easy, seamless, and issue-free.


The experience matters

Regardless of the model, all organizations must provide their employees with the right digital tools to increase employee engagement and connection to the company. To succeed at bringing people back to the office, keeping them engaged, and helping them be successful, companies need to design around an authentic employee experience. – writes Serenity Gibbons on Forbes.com.


This experience should include the employees’ daily tasks, the tools needed to do their jobs effectively, how they communicate and collaborate with colleagues virtually and across geographies, and how they balance their work life with their personal one.


How workplace Apps can help

A workplace app can provide all the tools and systems employees need daily. According to Gibbons, an application should include features to ease collaboration in-person and virtually, book meeting rooms and desk space, help with wayfinding and access office entry or services with a digital ID. Also accessing personal information like payroll, vacation time, tracking goals progress, creating IT and/or facilities tickets should be included. Submitting expense reports, organizing travel, commuting and parking arrangements are also attractive features just like scheduling gym classes and ordering food.


These features on a unified platform allow employees to personalize their experience based on their job, physical location, and personal preferences. 

“Providing a seamless and personalized digital workplace experience through a workplace app can be a game changer for organizations looking to bring people back to the office”- says Diane Carlson, chief marketing officer of ModoLabs, a workplace engagement platform.

More social, more fun

A workplace app can also be used as a platform for employees to interact socially, in person or virtually. Companies can employ gamification to incentivize people to come to the office more often, engage with colleagues, and make the app fun and interactive.


Photo sharing, affinity and interest groups, social events, treasure hunts, professional knowledge games, in-app discounts, and even free food are additional ways to make the workplace more appealing and enjoyable, as Gibbons writes. 


In the end, the success of any company is largely dependent on its employees. And as we move toward a new era of work, companies that prioritize the employee experience will undoubtedly have a competitive advantage, and workplace apps will be a key component of this experience.


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