The Hybrid Office
As companies transition back to the office many are still unsure exactly what the future looks like. The expectations of staff and clients have changed dramatically over recent months. Many companies and workforces look entirely different to what they were 2 short years ago.
The fact is, however, that very few significant workspace trends to emerge post-pandemic are actually new. Many were niche topics that have been catapulted into the limelight by social isolation, remote working, and the quantity of change we have all experienced over the last 18 months.
Hybrid working is now becoming accepted as the new way of working for companies across the globe - combining working from home with working from the office. With the pandemic having forced employees across the country to reconsider their work-life balance and values, the companies that cater to these the best will attract and retain the best employees.
Here are the 7 key workspace trends that have been accelerated over the last 18 months and are now driving the future of workspace:
Over the last 18 months, Employers and employees alike have a newfound appreciation of how different work is best done in different environments. With 62% of staff wanting a hybrid approach to work, and 35% looking to return to the office for collaborative work, there is a clear shift in how people perceive their working location options. No longer is the office even default – all options are open, and what matters is output, rather than physical presence.
Hybrid workers have been shown to feel greater job satisfaction and engagement, while also being more innovative and productive. With this in mind, offering your people the ability to work across multiple locations will have significant benefits for their productivity and your profitability.
Offering location flexibility has a massive side-effect: the way your people use your workspace completely changes. Those long rows of desks will now be almost unused, as staff sit in peace at a desk all day at home. Meanwhile, collaborative areas become overcrowded creating a noisy and unwelcoming environment, to say nothing of a serious health hazard.
In order to create as many opportunities as possible for collaboration and innovation, your workspace design needs to have a variety of zones designed for specific types of activities, encouraging your people to move around throughout the day, meet new colleagues and remain mentally refreshed.
Another side effect of part-time remote working is the rise of “hot” or unassigned desking. A huge majority of workers prefer their own desk in the office, but this is becoming less practical as staff are rotated through the office through the week. Despite employee concerns about hygiene and privacy, unassigned desking is set to become far more common.
Companies who adopt hot desking policies will need to do so with clear communication and effective systems. The use of space utilisation and reservation technology will also be crucial to manage staff density and health considerations.
The risk of remote workers feeling excluded and becoming disengaged during collaborative activities is very high. This can have serious equality and inclusion issues for your business. The effective use of technology and workspace design is essential to ensure all your people feel connected and inspired, wherever they are.
Ensuring that the experience of remote workers matches the experience of those working in the office will have significant benefits for your teams. In an age where distributed workforces are an inevitability, making sure your people have all the tools to communicate effectively will be essential to ensuring a bright future for your business.
In today’s extraordinarily competitive environment, levels of worker stress have never been so high. From the pressure of ever-shorter deadlines to concerns about the pandemic and mixing with colleagues, work is a big contributor to this serious issue. Extensive research has shown that a focus on wellbeing can have benefits including reduced absenteeism, improved staff retention and increased productivity.
By strategically designing your space to maximise the wellbeing of your people, they will feel valued, supported, and be in the best possible position to deliver the results you need. Investing in workplace wellbeing is not only for companies who think they can afford to – the returns of investing in staff wellbeing are so great, every company can’t afford not to.
In recent years, the open-plan office has become the most popular office layout, and this is set to continue despite the pandemic. However, while the open-plan office enables quick and informal collaboration, the very nature of the layout reduces focus due to increased distractions for staff. On average, employees lose nearly 20% of each day at a workspace due to distractions around them in their environment.
By allowing and encouraging privacy in your workspace, you are showing your people that you trust them. This will go a long way toward increasing engagement and integrity toward your company. By giving them the time and space to focus alone, distractions will be reduced, and more work will get done.
There are countless studies detailing the close correlation between collaboration and productivity. Without meaningful collaboration, companies aren’t able to maximize their potential and achieve their vision. Your workspace has a crucial role to play in enabling and increasing collaboration in your company.
As the element of your workplace that your people interact with more than any other, furniture has an essential role in increasing collaboration. Through skilful use of collaboration and social furniture, you can create an adaptable and flexible modern workspace that fulfils the needs of you and your people.
Creating Your Hybrid Office
In a time of such change, you have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform the way you and your people work. As you consider the future of your workspace and the way your people work in the months and years ahead, an understanding of the trends shaping the next generation of the office will be crucial to help you plan for the future.
With many organisations unsure of how their real estate portfolios will look in 12-24 months' time, FluidSpace™ is an ideal way to ensure you have the flexibility and confidence to create exceptional workspaces for your company and your people. FluidSpace™ does exactly what it says – it creates agile, flexible workspaces that can be reconfigured to meet the changing demands of teams and organisations.
Exceptional workspace plays an integral role in both attracting and creating exceptional employees, which in turn create exceptional results - and companies. Through FluidSpace™, you can create your own workspace that meets the current needs of your business and can adapt to an uncertain future.