Return to Office — Innovations at work

The pandemic challenged businesses to adapt and do things differently. See how companies are navigating the complexities of new office demands.

The pandemic challenged businesses to adapt and do things differently. COVID-19 changed the way we live and the way we work. Especially where we work. Today, many people have an “office” at the dining room table, a spare bedroom, the basement or someplace near a coffee pot. But that may be changing soon.

With an effective vaccine, hope is on the horizon for a return to a more “normal-looking” work environment. But, what will that look like and how can organizations bring that vision to life right now? One thing is certain: the rules have changed.

90% of companies expect a “hybrid” workforce that combines in-office and remote employees.1

It’s a digital working world.

Virtual employees are now comfortable in a digital workplace. Our Enterprise clients are responding by re-evaluating their physical office places and reinventing their business models by launching new solutions and additional options. With the "real" office comeback still unknown, the physical space will have to evolve for greater convenience, safety and security.

So, how—and where—will we work? Based on industry reports as well as our client discussions, two models are rising above the rest:
Hot-desking or hoteling. Employees are assigned a workstation, desk or comfy chair. Each person is socially distanced in a spot designated by the employer.
The hybrid workplace. A new flexible mix of in-office and remote work is gaining favor with both employers and employees. Alternating groups of employees on dedicated days might also be part of a hybrid plan.

Smart bars and safe zones: the new-look office.

Many organizations have assembled “Return to Office” task forces to assure employees will thrive in their “new” office spaces. To assure a smooth transition, employers are bolstering employee communication to ensure they’ll feel comfortable and confident in their work surroundings.

Employees want assurances of safety, connectivity, connection and convenience. Employers are delivering. We’re seeing our customers develop smart bars, virtual cafes and community “centers of gravity” to enhance the workplace experience and offer greater peace of mind with flexible, open floor spaces.

Deliver more like never before.

When they return from a post-COVID world, employees will expect a modernized workplace featuring updated processes and extensible solutions. We’re seeing employers investing in greater cleaning protocols and physical social-distancing “measures” as well as upgraded facilities and technology. This also includes a new approach to receiving and tracking packages and physical company assets to reflect the modern worker’s expectation around convenience, safety, trackability and transparency.

Ever-increasing shipping volume means more packages handled by central mail operations. To accommodate employee preferences, some organizations are encouraging employees to send and receive personal packages at the workplace.

Many of the conversations we’re having with our customers involve innovations that improve delivery and handling efficiency, offer real-time chain of custody as well as adhere to contactless mandates

Fewer than one in five employers say they want to return to the office as it was pre-pandemic. 2

Safer is smarter.

Companies and organizations must embrace and deploy solutions that are efficient, streamlined, safe and contactless. In addition to revised seating arrangements, safer building and plentiful sanitizer stands, touchless common spaces and new ways to send and receive packages offer opportunities to ensure safety and security for all. Facility configurations that feature collaborative hubs that permit contactless parcel delivery and shipment are already gaining favor.

Touchless technology like smart parcel lockers are solving many of these challenges. Lockers are a simple solution to managing evolving package and mail delivery demands while providing safe, secure and convenient pickup options for employees. Plus, employers gain visibility into complete chain-of-custody, mitigating the risk of lost or misplaced parcels or assets with monitored drop-offs and collections. Better still, lockers are a flexible solution that can evolve with your needs including new workflows such as personal shipping, returns, asset management or a growing footprint.

For companies planning on returning to the office, the increased necessity for touchless technologies will reduce close contact in workplace environments as well as accommodate the needs of a dispersed workforce.

3Pitney Bowes Market Intelligence USA Enterprise Quick Pulse Survey