All across the globe, companies are changing the way they think about how work gets done. COVID-19 has uprooted long-established routines and habits instantly placing us in the middle of a global experiment of sorts. The results weren't what many expected. Lots of employees have spoken out about their opinions on working from home, saying it's made them happier and more productive. They've also said that when we return to the workplace, things cannot remain the same.
Are hybrid workplaces the solution? Hybrid workspaces are quickly rising in popularity, but will the trend last? Is the workplace of the future going to be based on the hybrid design model? These questions are being raised by many companies today and their answers will change the course of workplace design for decades to come.
In the past, hybrid working was seen with suspicion. It was thought that if employees could pick when and where they worked, they would simply choose to do less work. But this is not true for the majority. In fact, the opposite appears to be true. Research by Microsoft was done on the impact of the pandemic on the performance of companies across Europe. The paper revealed that 82% of leaders said their businesses were at least as productive as they were before the pandemic.
This isn't terribly surprising though. In a hybrid workplace, flexible workers have the chance to utilize their time better. They can choose to avoid commuting at busy times. They divert 100% of their focus on tasks without the noises and interruptions of the traditional office environment. They can choose to work when they’re feeling most productive, whether that’s in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning. When employees are happier, better rested, and less stressed, they do better work.
Giving your employees the freedom to work however they work best will have a strong, positive impact on their satisfaction while working. And these days, people claim to work best from home. Why is that? There are many reasons, from the mental benefits of taking full control of their schedules to simply being able to hang out with their dog while they work. Other reasons include being able to dress casually, cook more, and spending time with loved ones all contribute to this boost in mood.
But for many others, working from home is isolating and distracting. So where's the balance here? A hybrid workplace can mitigate many of the downsides of pure remote working, and create a professional space outside the home for employees to collaborate and socialize with colleagues.
In a hybrid office, you won't need a sea of cubicles. Nor will you need rows of assigned desks. Rather, a truly successful hybrid work environment will facilitate a combination of diverse spaces designed to aid employees in completing all kinds of tasks. This could mean standing desks where people can log in with their laptops, relaxed lounges for cleaning out their inbox, sound isolating booths for Zoom calls, and coffee stations for informal conversations.
Once your company has an idea of how many employees will be in the office at any one time, you can begin to plan around new occupancy levels to cut down on the cost of rent, office supplies, and other business expenses.
What do you think? Is hybrid work here to stay?