Whether you are a new employee, a team member, or manager, COVID-19 has dramatically changed the way Americans work and what business success and communication look like. From office redesigns to telework, the pandemic has forced the adoption of many new ways of thinking when it comes to how and where Americans work. 

In fact, about 1 in 4 people employed in August 2020 worked remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although this was down from the 35% of people who did so in May, it does seem like a remote workforce is here to stay1.

By examining some of the trends in the workplace, businesses can reimagine their office space and overall protocols to create a safer, more productive and enjoyable work environment for their team members as America continues to grapple with COVID-19.

Creating a Safer Work Environment

From HVAC air filters to plexiglass and desks spaced out 6-feet apart, there are going to be some major revamps of the modern open office space just like job responsibilities and performance expectations

Businesses and organizations should be prepared to offer employees personal hygiene items around the office, including hand sanitizer, disposable masks, gloves, and handwashing stations to help decrease the spread of COVID-19. 

Additionally, employers may want to place social distancing, handwashing, and COVID symptoms checklist reminders or decals throughout the office to encourage a safer work environment. Some companies are even using sneeze guards and plexiglass to help limit the spread of germs.

And when it comes to ventilation, companies should explore the option of opening windows to increase the volume of outside air that enters their building. This may help to decrease the concentration of infectious particles in the air. Another option is to install airflow systems that filter and reduce the amount of exhaled air from other people that employees inhale2.

Experts also suggest doing away with shared surfaces and touch points by installing technology that allows for doors to open and lights to switch on via sensors.

A positive attitude, corporate culture, and open communication are all important now more than ever to continue to meet the high expectations of company culture. At the end of the day, creating a safe work environment for your employees should be your number one priority so don’t be afraid to ask for employee feedback as you continue to navigate this new normal.

Rethinking Office Space

Companies should also consider taking a fresh look at how much and where space is required and how those spaces foster desired outcomes for collaboration, productivity, culture, and the work experience.

Employers may want to consider spacing out desks within the office to allow for the CDC recommended 6 feet of social distancing between people. Additionally, the company may opt to only require a small percentage of staffers to return to work in the office while others continue to work from home to allow for a healthier work environment. There are some companies that are looking into a hybrid model of working remotely and working from the office so there are many options to consider.

And when it comes to conference rooms, some companies are doing away with them altogether while others are opting to leverage them for socially distanced brainstorms and meetings with doors and windows open.

Remote Work is Here to Stay

COVID-19 has completely transformed the typical 9 to 5 work hours that we’re used to. 

Prior to the pandemic, a whopping 26 million Americans—approximately 16% of the US workforce— worked remotely in some fashion each week3. This number will continue to grow as more and more employees opt to work from home instead of going into the office. In fact, 16% of the American workforce says they plan to work from home permanently4

Meanwhile, major companies like Twitter have already declared that employees can work from home for the duration of their career and tech giant Facebook has been investing $1,000 per employee to help them set up home offices5.

The transition to a remote work environment isn’t surprising seeing as many employees are worried about being exposed to COVID-19 in a crowded and confined work environment. After all, keeping employees happy on the job is very important to an employer and their bottom line. According to the 2019 Retention Report, the average cost to lose a US worker is $15,0006

Additionally, the 2018 Workplace Happiness Survey reports that approximately 39% of workers say they are more productive if they are happy and The Gallup State of the American Workplace report says that organizations with high employee engagement see absenteeism reduced by 41% and productivity increased by 17%7

Smart, Contactless Lockers Benefit Employees & Employers

In order to adhere to social distancing guidelines, many organizations will have to make adjustments to their shared space and employee interactions, including package management. Right now, packages and deliveries are at holiday-like volume and Parcel Pending by Quadient anticipates that this trend will continue. In fact, FedEx Ground’s average daily package volume skyrocketed from 8.8 million the year-before quarter to 11.6 million this quarter, an increase of 31%8.

Receiving, logging, sorting, and distributing employee packages requires a lot of space and significant staff time, but can also require close interaction. That is why it is more important than ever for commercial property owners and managers to invest in tech-forward, contact-free solutions like smart lockers to help with parcel management.

Automated lockers can help commercial properties reduce costs and promote savings while also providing a contact-less way for tenants to retrieve their packages.

Corporate mailrooms can receive an average of up to 1,000 packages every day, and this number is expected to continue growing. Many commercial office spaces lack the time and space needed to properly manage both personal and work-related deliveries. This can result in disorganized and cluttered mailrooms, overloaded mailroom staff members, lost packages, and stressed-out office staff and employees. 

Smart lockers are a great package management amenity for corporate campuses and office spaces. These package locker systems offer a number of important benefits for commercial spaces, including saving valuable mailroom staff time, improving operational efficiency and the overall employee experience, as well as helping employers save on operational costs.

As employees return to work, many will continue to shop online and opt to have their packages delivered to their workplaces to avoid package theft. However, expect to see employees demand a contact-free way to retrieve their packages while at work. Recent data shows that 87% of consumers prefer contact-free check-out options, such as Buy Online, Pick Up at Curb (BOPAC)9; this trend is likely to carry over into the workplace as well.

Commercial property owners and managers should consider investing in a contact-free package management solution that will give their tenants a quick, easy and safe way to retrieve their packages, while also saving valuable staff time and resources.

Contact-Free Package Delivery with Parcel Pending by Quadient

Parcel Pending by Quadient’s commercial smart locker solutions alleviate the stress of parcel management for commercial property owners and managers by assuming all customer service responsibilities for package delivery, notification, and retrieval. In fact, it is estimated that our automated smart locker solutions can help save up to 24 hours of staff time each week. This is valuable time that could be better spent on handling tenant requests and managing the property or office space. 

Operational benefits of automated locker systems include:

  • Eliminating the lengthy process of accepting, logging, sorting, and distributing employee packages, saving up to 24 hours of staff time each week
  • Reducing delivery time by up to 78%
  • Eliminating package liability for missed deliveries and theft
  • Removing the need for employee support with automatic software updates and self-service package pick-up
  • Boosting overall security for deliveries to the building

Employees don’t like to wait for what they want. Not when today’s technology and industry advancements have paved the way for them to get what they want, where they want, as soon as they want it. Now, employees are going to expect an even higher level of security both for their essential deliveries and their health – something that can only be guaranteed with a contact-free work environment. 

Automated parcel lockers help to improve the employee experience by making it quick, safe, and easy for them to retrieve their packages at their convenience. Employees no longer need to rush home or rearrange their work schedules to make sure they are available to receive their packages. Instead, they can continue to work knowing that their packages are nearby and safe, ready to retrieve when they head home for the day. 

Other employee benefits include:

  • Faster, easier parcel delivery and interoffice deliveries
  • Providing instant notifications that alert recipients when a package arrives
  • Securing deliveries with the “signature required” feature
  • Accepting packages from all couriers and delivery services
  • Providing friendly and helpful U.S. based, 24/7, 100% Always-On Customer Service

With Parcel Pending by Quadient’s intelligent parcel locker system, recipients are instantly notified when they have a delivery via text or email. The recipient can then pick up their package using the unique code provided in the notification, or by using our free mobile app. Building staff do not need to sign for, sort, or distribute packages to recipients – our commercial smart locker solutions handle it all. All automated locker systems include a built-in camera to capture each package retrieval; automated parcel lockers can also be placed in locations with video security cameras, allowing building managers to have further accountability as to who is delivering and picking up the packages.

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The workplace environment will continue to evolve as we continue to learn more about COVID-19. Don’t let package management problems add more stress to your plate. Save time and money by streamlining your package management process with a Parcel Pending by Quadient locker solution. Find a solution that is best for your workplace here.

Sources:

  1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Available at: https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2020/one-quarter-of-the-employed-teleworked-in-august-2020-because-of-covid-19-pandemic.htm
  2. NPR “Redesigning The Office For The Next 100-Year Flu (Yes, It’s Coming).” Available at: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/09/14/909805060/redesigning-the-office-to-maximize-health
  3. American Psychological Association. Available at: https://www.apa.org/monitor/2019/10/cover-remote-work
  4. Entrepreneur, “With Working from Home Here to Stay, Expect These 5 Things to Change.” Available at: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/356222
  5. New York Times. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/05/technology/parents-time-off-backlash.html
  6. 2019 Retention Report. Available at: https://info.workinstitute.com/hubfs/2019%20Retention%20Report/Work%20Institute%202019%20Retention%20Report%20final-1.pdf
  7. Gallup State of the Workplace. Available at: https://www.gallup.com/workplace/238085/state-american-workplace-report-2017.aspx
  8. Commercial Appeal. Available at: https://www.commercialappeal.com/story/money/industries/logistics/2020/09/15/fedex-first-quarter-2020-earnings-strong-results-delivery-while-demand-continues-surge/5802177002/
  9. Shekel. (2020, April 7). 87% of Shoppers Prefer to Shop in Stores With Touchless or Robust Self-Checkout Options During COVID-19 Pandemic [Press release]. Retrieved from: https://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/news/