Evolving a Workplace App from ‘Required’ to ‘Desired’

Modo Labs’ Daniela Axinte shares how a global pharmaceutical company evolved its workplace app from a return-to-office tool to an engagement engine.

Gartner’s research shows that almost 50% of employees will work remotely at least some of the time in the post-pandemic world. The workplace digital infrastructure has had to evolve to keep pace. In the radical ramp-up to support fully remote work, companies beefed up on tools for video meetings and project management to keep people productive. As offices re-opened, they added more apps like desk reservations and health checks required to enable a safe return.

For many companies, those basics are now covered. With hybrid work the way forward, new studies show that the question is no longer, ‘how can we make hybrid work happen,’ but ‘how can we make hybrid work more engaging?’ This question is critical given that employees who are not engaged cost the world $7.8 trillion in lost productivity.

Looking at the app journeys of Modo customers like Goldman Sachs, Okta, and Schneider Electric, we’re seeing that companies succeeding in hybrid work are delivering a unified digital experience, focused on both productivity and engagement.

Here’s what that journey looks like at one Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company.

PHASE 1: Enable a safe return-to-office with an accelerated timeline

The company began its mobile app initiative in 2020 as a way to guide employees in the return to offices. The first step was gathering employee input. Next, they categorized the different types of experiences the mobile app could enable, then prioritized them based on importance and determined integrations and content requirements for each. Lastly, they prioritized the list by essentials and nice-to-haves. The result was delivery of a digital experience, limited in scope and focused on out-of-the-box features, in an accelerated timeline. The app centered on five must-haves.

1. Location awareness

With offices around the world, it was critical that the app would deliver notifications and alerts relevant to each location while supporting the ability to quickly adapt to changing circumstances. Employees receive notifications as they drive to or enter the office based on their geofence. For example, “Today the 15th floor is in use all day so avoid going there.”

The app also alerts employees entering a building to fill out an in-app health assessment form and/or remind them to ensure they have reserved a workspace. By calling on the app’s ability to detect a person’s location, the organization localizes the app experience to ensure everyone followed the new guidelines and protocols for safe work.

2. Workspace reservations

Through the app, employees can reserve the right to be in certain areas of the building and on certain floors, even before they arrive at the office. This helped enforce social distancing at the time, ensuring a limited number of people in the office, on each floor, and in every section of each building.

When requesting spaces, employees can check real-time density and availability, along with indoor maps showing seating and conference room options. Based on geofencing, employees are prompted to check in via the app upon arrival to an office so the organization can keep track of trends in real time. Seats can be released automatically if employees don’t  confirm their reservations via the app.   

3. Proximity-based wellness check-ins

To preserve a safe work environment and comply with government regulations and corporate policy, the organization enabled wellness reporting in the app. Using their local language, employees can self-assess and report any symptoms, and are cleared for entering if their health is up to par. Collecting this information daily, the company kept tabs on the wellness of its in-office people and could react quickly if needed.                                                         

4. Current guidance on a changing workplace

While the organization’s offices looked the same when employees first returned, the in-office experience was completely different. By providing employees with a guide to the new work world, the organization helped them feel comfortable about returning. To ensure it evolved its app to meet people’s needs, a Quick Poll on the app’s home screen asked people their biggest concern about returning to the office.                                                        

5. Access to health and wellness resources

The app ensured all employees knew where to locate and how to request everything from masks to hand sanitizer and gloves. They were also able to request sanitization of equipment and spaces.

PHASE 2: Engage employees wherever they are

 As the company settles into hybrid work, they are evolving the app to meet new needs; to simplify the complexity of working between many different apps and tools, and to help people engage, collaborate, and progress in their careers. The organization revisited its initial priority list and launched a second round of internal polling to gauge employee priorities. Here are some of the capabilities phase II is adding.

  • Collaboration opportunities – The organization is implementing Modo’s MyCircle capabilities that enable people to sync schedules and seating with colleagues to make the most of time in the office. They can also leverage virtual spaces for scheduled or ‘drop-by’ online meetups.
  • Socializing and engagement – People can set up robust personal profiles and engage with interest groups and social sharing, gamification and challenges, with opt-in/opt-out flexibility.
  • Events – The organization recently used the app to facilitate a leadership event on site, publishing an Event feature with the agenda, orientation info and logistics for participants.
  • Integrations to remove friction – While the company’s app includes links to a wealth of services just a click away, the ‘code switching’ required to jump in and out of different apps can be frustrating. To simplify the experience, the company is exploring bringing commonly used features from popular apps directly into the workplace app by integrating company systems for facility requests, food ordering and menus, and accessibility.

Continued Evolution

The workplace is wherever employees are. This pharmaceutical company is continually evolving its digital experience to meet them there – as the workplace continues to change. The Modo platform has enabled them to flex with the times and rise to meet their employees’ new needs.

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