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3 ways software can manage employees when they return to the workplace

From attendance to resources, software will be taking the load off managers once staff can return to the office.

3 ways software can manage employees when they return to the workplace
[Photo: Damir Kopezhanov/Unsplash]

Companies all over the world are now declaring they are remote-first—forever.

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According to Fast Company, Twitter, Facebook, Shopify, Upwork, and dozens more have all publicly stated that “office centricity” is over. In a matter of months, working remotely has gone from being a perk of a company to being a foundational part of the modern-day workforce. By the time the coronavirus pandemic is fully behind us, it’s safe to say “working from home” will be a standard in the global economy.

Still, and especially for businesses that do not have the luxury of being fully remote, there will need to be a process for bringing employees back into the physical working environment safely and effectively. Many companies will keep their physical offices, even if they use them less frequently.

The solution that seems to be floating around right now is taking a “phased approach,” where certain departments and certain team members are allowed to return to the office, and/or alternating days and times with other team members to continue practicing social distancing. Companies will be responsible for supplying sanitization products, face masks, and even reconstructing office layouts to ensure dozens of employees aren’t scrunched together.

Returning to the workplace is going to be an adjustment, to say the least.

But software is going to play a crucial role in helping employees and companies find some sense of normalcy in the near term.

Here’s how:

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1. Facilities management software will be used to track employee attendance

Facilities management is the effective delivery of support services for an organization.

For example, when customers use our facilities management software here at Cherwell, they use it to automate day-to-day work orders, maintenance tasks, room scheduling, etc. These are the types of tools companies are going to be using to integrate employees back into the workplace, especially if employees are coming back in phases and are only allowed inside the building at different times of the day or week. Department heads aren’t just going to write people’s names down on a sheet of paper and manage the process manually.

There’s going to be a method to the madness.

2. Service management tools will be used to catalog items for coming back to work

Alongside facilities management, companies will also use service management tools to adhere to the safety precautions being recommended by the CDC.

At the beginning of shelter-in-place orders, employees who had been using hardware at work suddenly needed to take certain items home: computers, monitors, work phones, etc. As employees begin to bring these items back into the workplace (and continue to take them to and from the office, home, and back again), processes will need to be put in place to ensure items are not only safely returned but sanitized. Assets will need to be tracked within an asset repository, and organizations will want more transparency around the types of devices leaving and returning to the office at any given time.

None of this will (or should be) be done manually.

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3. Request-management applications will be used to juggle the unforeseen needs of employees moving forward

We are in a time of change.

The way companies coordinated their employees and their everyday tasks was very different at the end of 2019 as it will be by the end of 2020. We aren’t fully aware of all the different issues that will be presented as the world continues to navigate the coronavirus pandemic.

With that in mind, flexible request management tools are going to be an essential part of maintaining an effective workforce. Companies will rely more heavily on their intranets and portals to manage requests to return to work, for example, or provide employees with the information that a specific location is already at maximum capacity.

What this pandemic is revealing is there is much more internal information team members are going to need in order to be effective employees—and the only way to provide that information in a scalable way is to leverage software and automated workflows.


Laurence Tindall is product manager at Cherwell.

This article originally appeared on Minutes Magazine and is reprinted with permission.

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