In a survey by global design and architecture firm, Gensler, only 12% of U.S. workers want to work from home full-time. Most want to return to their offices and workplaces – but only with changes that protect them from Covid-19.
An abundance of floor graphics reinforcing safe distancing, corridors with one-way foot traffic, and mask-wearing co-workers are likely to be among the differences we see at work. It won’t just be the look of our offices that will be different, how we do what we do in those spaces will change as well.
Please don’t touch
A key to safety is limiting touchpoints. That’s generating some intriguing ideas of what you could expect in the new touchless workplace. The ubiquitous restroom messaging requiring all employees to wash hands before returning to work will likely resonate deeper and wider in most workplaces. MarketWatch makes a similar prediction that “consumers will make contactless experiences and sanitizing a part of daily life.”
We only need to look at Hong Kong to get a sense of what that could be. After the SARS epidemic in 2003, major public health changes were put in place, including more automatic doors and no-touch payment methods.
The future may already be in our hands
Personal devices will play a much larger role at work. Their Bluetooth, Wi-fi, and LTE capabilities provide easy-to-use and well-established access technology for just about any kind of touchless solution.
It’s not hard to envision gaining entry to a building using Bluetooth to open an automatic door, eliminating an ID card swipe or fingerprint scan. Apps could also find their way into ordering food from company cafeterias or providing touchless operation of vending machines andoffice water dispensers.
Wave it on, wave it off
Even simpler than using our phones will be using our hands. While hands-free bathroom fixtures were gaining popularity well before the pandemic, more advanced gesture control technology is already being implemented in some buildings. Lakeside Center, an office and retail center under construction in Columbia, MD, will include touchless controls that allow people to ride elevators and open doors with a hand wave.
Meet your new co-workers, Siri and Alexa
Voice-activated virtual assistants, like those we use at home and in our cars, could also be joining us at work. Their track record of integrating voice control with a variety of devices could make them useful in instances where apps or gestures might be too clunky or responsive to work. In offices and conference rooms, your voice could dim lights, turn on projectors, and adjust the temperature. Gensler envisions expanding voice-control to also handle both touch- and non-touch-related tasks, “Combine these two elements in a workplace setting and the potential is immediately appealing: “unlock my office,” “order my usual lunch in 10 minutes,” or even “setup a meeting for me with John tomorrow at 3 p.m. in a conference room for two.”
While much of the Touchless Workplace has come about in response to the coronavirus, it could provide benefits well into the future. Limiting the need to touch surfaces and objects will reduce germ-spread in general, keeping us all healthier. It can also make the time we spend at work more enjoyable and efficient. For example, the same technology that monitors occupancy to support social distancing could also be used for something as routine – but essential – as finding an open conference room. So, while our first day back in our old workplace may feel more like the first day in a new one, we may find that many of the touchless changes we encounter may be well worth embracing (although not literally).
It’s no secret: as an office manager and administrative assistant, you play a critical role in your office. From ensuring employees have the resources and supplies they need, to scheduling interviews, meetings, and celebrations, you are the gears (and the grease!) that keep day-to-day operations running smoothly. When you’re set up for success, the entire organization will thrive.
Help you and your organization flourish in 2020, and check out these must-attend conferences for office managers in 2020. Explore the latest business trends, learn operational and organizational strategies, and hone your administrative skills in the company of experienced admin pros.
This spring, join OfficeNinjas and admins from across the globe in celebrating ‘The Era of the Office Ninja.’ Back in full force with online flash raffles, giveaways, and awards, OfficeNinjas’s Admin Week will run from April 20-24.
For those able to make it to San Francisco, grab a ticket (sooner rather than later, they typically sell out) for Office Ninja Con, a two-day adventure jam-packed with interactive instruction, thought-provoking discussions, and practical exercises. Make connections with admin pros from across the globe, learn about game-changing products and services, and plunge head-first into actionable best practices for everyday success as an admin.
On the night of April 22, Office Ninjas Con ends with the ultimate admin party: Admin Bash. With budget-friendly tickets, Admin Bash ensures Ninjas from all over have the opportunity to get the gratitude they deserve. So grow your network, indulge in tasty treats, and leave with a legendary swag bag: Admin Bash is your party!
Can’t make the trek to San Francisco? Explore OfficeNinjas’ line-up of Admingling events (smaller, after-work events that blend networking, hands-on activities, and partying) here to meet up with all-star ninjas in a city near you.
And don’t forget to subscribe to OfficeNinjas’ newsletter or follow them on social media to enter all of their Admin Week flash raffles and participate in the digital celebration!
2. Culture Summit
When: July 14-16, 2020
Location: San Francisco, CA
Organizer: Culture Summit
Get ready for a whirlwind of speakers, workshops, and effective, no-fluff strategies to transform your workplace.
In July of 2020, founders, culture champions, HR professionals and admins will gather at Culture Summit with a collective goal in mind: build the culture you want to work in.
With cross-functional, cross-industry speakers from renowned brands such as Twitter, Stitch Fix, and Patagonia, this three-day summit in San Francisco is not meant to sell you perks. Instead, you’ll leave with the tools, data, and frameworks to reframe and revamp your workplace culture.
When: May 15, 2020 | 8:30 AM – 8:00 PM
Location: San Francisco, CA
Known for their extensive resources and active online network of admins, OrgOrg is gearing up for their second-ever conference, Camp OrgOrg.
This one-day conference is specifically designed for ‘Organization Organizers,’ or the people behind the scenes, like you, that make sure everything at work works. With a diverse line-up of panels, workshops, breakout discussions, and social activities, Camp OrgOrg empowers attendees to develop their skills, harness their creativity, and leverage their peers in order to do their best work at work.
In an effort to make Camp OrgOrg as accessible as possible, the organizers offer scholarships and discounts for those in need. And if you simply can’t make it to San Francisco this May, be sure to join their online community of office managers, executive and administrative assistants, people ops pros, and HR professionals. Gain exclusive access to resources, groups, and event announcements, and chat with like-minded peers from around the country.
4. Perks convention
SF: August 20, 2020
NYC: September 2, 2020
LA: September 17, 2020
Boston: September 29, 2020
Chicago: October 8, 2020
Toronto: October 29, 2020
The Perks Convention is more than just flashy products and Employee Appreciation Day inspiration: it’s an employee experience expo. With 100+ vendors, interactive lounges, and curated workshops, Perks Convention strives to connect office managers with relevant, research-backed, and affordable solutions for all kinds of organizations.
Better yet, it might be hosted right in your backyard! With six conventions in major cities across the US planned for 2020, Perks provides the opportunity to share stories and network with office managers from your region. Keep an eye out for their giveaways, health and wellness initiative ideas, and of course, groundbreaking perk ideas for your office.
5. Administrative Professional Conference
When: September 13-16, 2020
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Organizer: ASAP (American Society of Administrative Professionals)
With over two thousand attendees at last year’s conference, the Administrative Professionals Conference raises the bar for dynamic, professional development for administrative professionals and executive assistants.
The conference focuses on ‘real world’ admin education, offering 75+ training sessions that participants can pick and choose from according to their specific needs and goals. Boost your communication skills, learn new technologies, or refresh your finance knowledge: the choice is yours! The conference’s primary goal? Help you recognize your brilliance.
Beyond its extensive list of training sessions, the conference also includes a diverse line-up of keynote speakers that will tackle creative approaches to productivity, organization, and leadership. Achieve your professional goals, and be inspired at the Administrative Professionals Conference happening this September in Las Vegas.
6. IAAP Summit
When: July 17-21, 2020
Location: Orlando, FL
Join IAAP this year in sunny Orlando, Florida for their annual four-day summit. A morning until night immersive experience, the IAAP Summit creates space for all types of learning. Attend a deep dive education workshop with an industry expert, connect and learn from peers during an informal lunch, participate in interactive, think-tank style challenges with a group: everyone grows in their own way.
Registration also includes a first-time attendee orientation, cocktail reception, and awards gala, personalized consultations at the wellness bar, a marketplace expo of innovative vendors, and a closing keynote by Ted Ma. Get ready to brush up on your skills and renew your passion for administrative work at the 2020 IAAP Summit.
7. Conference for Administrative Excellence
When: October 27- 30, 2020
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Organizer: Office Dynamics
Catapult your career into the future of administrative excellence at The Conference for Administrative Executives happening this fall in Las Vegas, Nevada.
This year, the conference will take a journey to ‘2020 and Beyond,’ providing a suite of classes, talks, and company spotlights to help participants cultivate the necessary skills and perspective to excel in the administrative landscapes of tomorrow. From global perspectives to digital IQ deep dives, themed galas to a successful store of career-enhancing products, The Conference for Administrative Executives is the right blend of work and play to keep you engaged.
Invest in your career and your future: register today!
These conferences, summits, conventions are more than just educational experiences: they’re opportunities to connect with a national, sometimes global, community of passionate administrators like you. They’re also a great way to check out innovative vendors changing the face of the modern workplace; be sure to stop by the Bevi booth to learn how you can bring customized beverages to your office!
Mark your calendar, get ready to pitch your boss, and don’t miss out on these seven must-attend conferences for office managers and administrative professionals in 2020.
Not all company growth requires a brand new office; often times, a few adjustments to the current office layout can make a big impact, ultimately helping your space become both more productive as well as accommodating of future growth.
For quickly growing startups like Bevi, each round of hiring presents a challenge to the delicate balance of the current floor plan. Teams begin to outgrow their original areas, and suddenly 7 people are sitting in a space that was designed for 2. And since many startups have an accelerated hiring timeline, this puts a lot of pressure on Office Managers, HR, or Facilities Managers to change the office layout quickly and seamlessly. No matter what the occasion, rearranging an office space can be stressful — especially when current employees are not 100% on board.
We’ve got your back. We interviewed our own all-star Office Manager, Claire, to put together this list of 11 things to do before, during, and after a change to the office layout. We can’t promise that the office won’t mutiny, but at least you’ll have a contingency plan if they do (see #3 for some of Claire’s tips).
1. Get key stakeholders on board
Regardless of your company’s size, getting key stakeholders on board is the first step towards getting the entire office to buy into the changes. Key stakeholders are more likely to recognize how space adjustments will benefit the company as a whole and can communicate this directly with their respective teams. Especially if you work for a larger company and don’t know everyone by name, employees are more likely to cooperate with someone they know and trust.
2. Use the layout change as an excuse to check in and ask what each team needs
Another strategy for getting each team excited about the change-up is to actively incorporate their goals and needs into the new office schematic. Whether informally in the hallway or at an all-hands meeting, check in with each team to see what they like about their current format and what they would change. By proactively discussing their needs and concerns, you are helping deflect any dissent in the long term.
3. Establish a trial period and streamlined feedback system
No matter how much you plan, there will always be something to work out after the rearranging is done. For this reason, it’s good to establish a trial period, so that in one or two weeks time you can reassess whether the new layout is working out.
During the trial period, have your employees send feedback to a designated Slack channel or survey. This way, folks have a space to express their concerns and you have the ability to mute their reactions until the trial period comes to a close.
If you’re really getting bombarded with comments or requests, ask your own manager to openly address (and shut down) any opposition. It’s always nice to have someone on your side to help deflect any whining — it really gets old after awhile.
4. Keep open positions in the hiring pipeline in mind
If you have the opportunity to make a change, think big! Chances are there are several open positions at your company, so think about how your desks will be populated once new employees arrive. Consider syncing-up with HR or senior management to find out the teams the company is looking to expand over the next quarter (or year) so you minimize the amount of times you’ll have to reorganize the office.
5. Put yourselves in a visitor’s shoes
Whether they’re investors or user testing groups, visitors expect to see people hard at work upon entering your office. Put your company’s best foot forward by making sure the teams closest to your front door (or visitor entrance, if you have a larger company) are typically in the office.
Here at Bevi HQ, we have a stellar hardware team that spends a good portion of their time in our engineering lab a few floors down. Our Office Manager Claire had the foresight to situate the hardware team in the back corner of our office, so our visitors would never be greeted by empty desks.
6. Constant communication before, during, and after
Similar to #2 and #3, constant communication is key. Between Slack messages and email updates, be sure to remind your employees to pack up their belongs 1 week and 1 day before the move as well as on the day of.
Once the layout has been changed, it’s a good idea to send an early morning reminder with the new seating chart and instructions on how to inquire about any missing belongings. Our Office Manager Claire made sure everyone stayed in the loop by giving email and in-person reminders in the days leading up to the reshuffling.
7. Sketches, diagrams, and maps, oh my!
X marks the spot. Before moving anything in your office, sketch out a few options for a new office set-up. Pro-tip: always make sure they are to scale!
Office Manager Claire breaks down Bevi HQ’s most recent layout change.
If you consider yourself visually or spatially inept, ask a designer or engineer to help you realize your vision. They might even have some handy software that can help make testing different layouts much more efficient than using a ruler and graphing paper. For example, Eliza, one of Bevi’s co-founders, helped Claire model different versions of the office without moving a single desk.
8. Strategically pick a time when the office will be nearly empty
While you will need an extra set of hands to make the rearrangement happen, less is more when it comes to having people in the office during all of the shuffling.
Aside from staying late on an arbitrary weekday, the day before a long weekend or holiday is often the perfect time to make your move. Back in November, our superstar Office Manager Claire planned to change things around in the office on the day before Thanksgiving. It worked out well as there were a few folks in the office to lend a hand and enough room to reposition the furniture without disturbing anyone. Within a few hours, everything was readjusted and ready for the new hires starting the following Tuesday — myself included!
Plus, let’s be honest: when the majority of people are out of the office, those who do come into work often look for fun side projects to work on. These people are your biggest asset on the day of the move.
9. Set aside time for furniture assembly
A new layout often means new furniture. But don’t be fooled: you’re going to need a screwdriver and hammer before your furniture looks as shiny and perfect as it did on Ikea’s website.
10. Four hands are better than two
Even the office hero needs a little help once in a while. Rather than trying to rough it by yourself, enlist a few helpers to move or assemble desks and chairs while you double check the diagram of the new set-up. For medium-sized or large companies, you’re better off hiring movers to help you get the job done quickly and efficiently.
11. Label like your life depends on it
With just over 30 people working in Bevi HQ, the office is certainly on the smaller side. Nevertheless, a few things did get lost in our most recent round of office rearrangements. Take it from us: labeling is everything.
Whether with masking tape, printed labels, sharpies, or cute cat stickers, make sure everyone clearly labels the box containing their belongings before anything gets touched. You’ll thank yourself later.
Looking for more ways to keep your office happy and healthy? Meet Bevi, the smart water cooler designed to make your life as office manager that much easier.
Request a free flavor tasting for your office here.
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