A study conducted in the United States by the Hamilton Place Strategies and Replica consultancies found that today 50% of people feel less connected to their coworkers, 45% feel less productive and 36% feel less positive about their careers and increase
The “new normal” in offices will force companies and their workers to adapt to new space conditions, but it could also bring changes in many paradigms, such as paydays or dress codes, in addition to the fact that resources can be used as the Artificial intelligence to create safer environments.
Although the home office showed some of its advantages during confinement, there are many workers who miss returning to their workplace. According to the study “Labor Thermometer” of the online job bank, OCCMundial, 38% of Mexican professionals mentioned not having an exclusive place to dedicate their work, having to occupy the living room, the dining room or some other place from your home, which could be linked to 28% of companies that think that their employees maintain low performance.
Sandeep Mathrani, CEO of the company specialized in shared work spaces, WeWork, recently stated that, after the health contingency, workspaces are obliged to offer additional value, since human connections and teamwork flow better when done in person.
A study conducted in the United States by the Hamilton Place Strategies and Replica consultancies found that today 50% of people feel less connected to their coworkers, 45% feel less productive and 36% feel less positive about their careers and increase.
Another American consultant, Gensler, found that only 12% of workers in the United States want to work every day from home, while 70% of people miss their workplaces for reasons like meeting with colleagues, socializing, solving faces. Face work issues, be part of a community and have access to technology.
Against this background, in Mexico, the company WeWork He has worked closely with cleaning and security consultants to generate new distributions in their spaces, place adequate signage and create disinfection protocols for areas, all so that the work teams return to work in safe conditions and, above all, with the necessary interaction characteristics to be more productive.
“We are a global company and there are many of our regions that have already returned to activity, like our colleagues in China who have already been operating 100 buildings for two months, and that gives us a very good starting point based on their experience,” he assured. Álvaro Villar, general manager of WeWork Mexico and Central America, in conversation with López-Dóriga Digital.
Thus, with a heavy investment, in addition to implementing sanitary filters, this company dedicated to developing and renting conditioned offices has recalculated the densities in common areas, meeting rooms and other areas, placing signs so that users know how to distribute themselves in the facilities, in addition to training the staff and clients of the more than 1,300 companies that contract their services in Mexico.
We want to continue promoting interaction, because we believe that networking is an important part of business success, but we have to do it in a safe way, “he reiterated.
The executive indicated that the companies with which they work are already considering new flexibility models, such as having multiple locations so as not to concentrate all their employees in the same space or that each of their areas work only on specific days.
“The home office has come to solve a space during the pandemic, but it has many limitations, and that is where the workspaces that adapt best to the new reality will be successful,” he assured.
What the authorities mark
That company, like those that operate their offices on their own, have had to align themselves with criteria established by federal and local authorities. For example, the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) prepared a “Checklist before COVID-19 / Return to work for medium-sized companies”, with which a “situational diagnosis” of conditions, equipment, resources should be prepared and necessary materials that must be considered to ensure the safe return of workers to essential activities in the workplace.
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In this way, companies must detect and apply preventive measures that are viable to prevent and mitigate the risk of contagion.
It is very important that companies are aware that any economic activity that takes place in this reactivation will necessarily be related to the pandemic and its behavior, so it is necessary that they have data and information about the disease that helps them make better decisions. and improve its economic reactivation strategy, ”said Juan Manuel Wong Urrea, general director of the data platform on the coronavirus in Mexico, Luppa (Geospatial Information Platform for the Well-being of Mexico), through a statement.
In this way, companies should have guidelines to protect the health of their workers, suppliers, visitors and contractors, as well as infrastructure such as signs that remind workers to wash their hands frequently, keep a healthy distance or clean and disinfect surfaces and objects. in common use, reported the platform.
In the case of those who cannot return to their work due to health, age or special conditions, they must be provided with the home office or create a system of staggered hours to avoid concentrations in the facilities.
Measures such as implementing permanent training programs for staff at all levels so that everyone knows how to take care of themselves at their workplace, as well as monitoring the emotional health of employees, are some of the new protocols that must be followed, he said. Luppa.
Thus, the workers will have the right to receive –and the bosses the obligation to guarantee– different supports to carry out their tasks safely, according to the authorities.
The end of the fortnight?
In this environment, companies should have more flexible models, which could serve to modify processes that had not changed in decades, including one of the most important for all its collaborators: payday.
A few days ago, the head of government of Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum, and the president of the Association of Banks of Mexico, Luis Niño de Rivera, announced that they will invite the members of the Business Coordinating Council (CCE), associations, unions , markets and tianguis to distribute the payment of wages so that it is dispersed throughout the month in order to avoid the crowds on the 15th and 30th of each month.
It would be, in practical terms, the end of the fortnight. But making a change of this size requires modifying very important processes within organizations.
Nima Pourshasb, founder and CEO of “minu”, a Mexican startup, has the solution to that, since his company offers access via an app to the salary already worked when workers need it.
In the world, the trend is for all employees to have access to their worked salary whenever they want, and thus crowds are avoided, ”he assured in a talk with López-Dóriga Digital.
“Today you choose music, order food and request a taxi whenever you want, so in a world where everything is on demand, the salary we have worked for and is already legally ours should also be on demand,” he stressed.
Pourshasb assured that, in the United States, half of the 200 most important companies already have this model, and that they in Mexico already work with companies such as Total Play, Mabe or Grupo Brisas.
“In Mexico, a model like this would solve a very deep problem of illiquidity that exists, because 3 out of 4 Mexicans have no savings and live from fortnight to fortnight,” he revealed.
For that reason, when there are unforeseen events, they get into debt and that makes the level of debt in the country alarming, because 1 in 3 Mexicans borrows to pay recurring expenses at very high rates. ”
Pourshasb pointed out that the concepts of the new normality must be aligned with changes like this, since they must include empowerment, self-management and flexibility.
Towards new dress codes
Another modification that can come to the offices as a result of what was experienced in the world during the confinement is the change of the dress code.
“We have lived through a certain ‘consumption quarantine’ where, for example, people have been able to see and experience that they wear their clothes very differently,” said Annabelle Sulmont, representative in Mexico of the United Nations Development Program ( UNDP).
So we have to ask ourselves what is behind the dress code that exists in offices, which is generally related to a question of power, branding and associating with a brand or a company, ”he explained when participating in the panel discussion. virtual “Proposals to redirect the effects of COVID-19. Towards a fairer and more sustainable fashion industry ”.
Sulmont said it is a good time to push more vigorously into the sustainability initiatives of the fashion industry, and at work it could be an important area to implement them.
“Perhaps the criteria of companies (for the dress code) can already be more focused on sustainability and responsible consumption, there are no other criteria to think or sustain clothing (which is used today) at work,” he stressed. .
How Artificial Intelligence helps
And in addition to changing paradigms, during the new normality many of the companies will have to invest in technology that helps them to have healthier environments.
In this field, the technology company IBM developed its service “Watson Works”, which is an integration of products that use Artificial Intelligence models and applications to manage, based on data, issues such as the allocation of office space for employees, identify prohibited areas and control the movement of people, as well as monitoring social distancing and the use of masks.
Furthermore, with this tool, data such as local infection rates and trends, employee symptoms and test results can be analyzed in real time on a voluntary basis to decide when is the best time to restart activities.
And when an employee reports a positive test result COVID-19This tool may serve – with the employee’s prior consent – to trace recent contacts, conduct interviews, and use information from multiple sources to help identify individuals who should be notified of possible exposure.
So the “new normal” should definitely change the places where people work to keep them healthy, which will undoubtedly be reflected in the productivity of employees.
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With information from Carlos Tomasinii