MRI Software Simplifies Hybrid Return to Work for Aussie Companies

Image credit: iStockphoto/Prostock-Studio

You never know when COVID-19 will create another challenge. Just ask Australia, which had successfully contained multiple outbreaks and thought it was reaching business as usual.

So how do you plan for a return-to-work while making it flexible to meet unplanned contingencies? MRI Software has an answer.

The company is launching MRI Workplace Central, an "urgent and timely" solution to hybrid workspace planning as commercial property and facility managers work to optimize their existing sites once Australia's major states emerge from lockdown and vaccination rates increase.

It is essentially a cloud-based PropTech solution that combines two recent MRI acquisitions - WhosOnLocation, and Manhattan. The new solution simplifies hybrid workforce planning for facility managers, HR, operations, business leaders, and commercial property owners.

The launch follows a recent worldwide survey by MRI Software with international real estate professional association CoreNet Global that revealed that close to 90% of businesses expect to allow remote working after the pandemic – a third more than before the crisis. Notably, only 20% are keeping assigned workstations – meaning the uptake of hot-desking is expected to boom, a trend MRI Software believes is consistent with local commercial customer conversations.

"Most of our commercial real estate customers ask about desk booking capabilities now, which is certainly new since the pandemic. Amid so much uncertainty, MRI Workplace Central is an urgent and timely solution during very pressing, stressful times: while most of us are in lockdown working from home, Facility Managers, COOs, and commercial property owners are moving pieces of the puzzle around again to offer a safe and flexible return to work options to their employees once the Government gives the green light to do so," said David Bowie, senior vice president and managing director for Asia Pacific at MRI Software.

Key components of the new MRI WorkPlace Central solution in Australia include:

  • Health and safety – touch-less sign-in, contact tracing, wellness checks, and more are built-in mobile-ready features in WorkPlace Central, making it easier to keep on and off-site employees, visitors, and contractors safe and secure, and businesses' compliant.
  • Space planning – a visual planning tool that uses the dimensions of existing desks, furnishings, and fittings to re-imagine COVID-19-compliant shared workspaces that maximize any floorplan. 71% of commercial occupiers in MRI's global research by CoreNet say the shift to remote working has fundamentally altered their long-term approach to space usage.
  • Scheduling/room and hot-desk booking – Employees can book a desk before leaving home to ensure COVID-compliant space is available. MRI data indicates hot-desking will be the new normal: only 20% of CoreNet global research respondents are keeping assigned workstations. MRI Workplace Central has the option of physical 'pucks' to sit on desks, programmed to show booking status at a glance with different colors: such as green for "clean and ready," yellow for "booked," red for "non-compliant proximity," for example.
  • Space usage – over 70% of CoreNet survey respondents say the pandemic fundamentally changed their long-term approach to space usage; MRI Workplace Central produces usage data in real-time, allowing for strategic and timely adjustments as space needs change.
  • Presence management – mobile-ready tools provide a complete view of who is on-site and who is working remotely to make complying with Australian Government health and safety standards around people per square meter easier.

"We know employees and employers are still getting on the same page about the future of work. Once Australia's vaccination rates hit critical mass, we believe the shared office space will re-emerge as the heart of workplace culture, collaboration, and engagement. Realizing those benefits in a new COVID-safe world requires using the right technologies to balance hybrid work schedules and confidently adapt to changing regulations and health requirements over time,” said Bowie.

Image credit: iStockphoto/Prostock-Studio