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Times are a-changing, and the future workplace is going to have to keep up. Technology today is shaping and driving trends all around us. As business cycles move at accelerating speeds, the global community is coming together into a constantly connected, vibrant network.
The global COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the shift towards a mixed workplace in addition to the rapid digital transformation of most organisations. But what is a hybrid workplace, and who will work in the office?
There’s an unspoken rule that the work environment often reflects the minds of the workers. A cramped, unkempt space doesn’t leave much room for that feeling of freedom that bolsters creativity. And a real-world, open office environment leaves people feeling as if they’re trapped in a glass fishbowl and aimlessly wasting their days away. But the future hybrid workplace doesn’t have to feel that way.
Taking the existing layout of an open office and turning it into a functional workspace is about (re)discovering functionality in design, above anything else. It is about converting the depressing grid of offices and hierarchy into organic layouts, and furniture systems focused on the individual and integrating communications technology as a natural feature.
The modern workforce’s office landscape is not about conformity, enforcement, and interchangeability but comfort, freedom, and well-being.
A hybrid workplace extends far beyond real estate. Traditional offices are becoming a thing of the past. With remote working now the new norm, asynchronous communication is becoming more critical than ever.
Employees may feel they are “hybrid” – they change place, state, mode more than ever before. For those who can work independently of their workplace, work is no longer binary – either entirely at the office or altogether remote – but most hybrid work will be across the office, the home, co-working spaces, and more.
Above everything else, a hybrid environment starts with a mindset, not a room. One of the main goals is overcoming the barriers of location, different time zones, and individual needs. It should be a unique blend of activities, requiring a unique mix of spaces and creating a responsive environment that meets an organic layout and atmosphere.
Since the pandemic, companies have reconsidered how to make the best use of their office spaces. While many companies will likely still retain physical offices, there will be a change in how we work in them and how physical structures and office layouts will foster collaboration.
Many companies are now planning to reduce office space or work hours, or have already, as they expect a significant number of their staff to continue to work remotely in 2021-2022. Organisations worldwide are considering alternative hybrid models to support the future of work, which includes in-person communications, work from home and remote operations.
One strategy might be to have specific days for in-person meetings and collaboration with team members, with other days allocated for remote work. In-person meetings might be reserved for brainstorming sessions, introducing new projects, or team-building exercises, while remote days would be for individual focused work.
The office will most likely be redesigned and reorganised by getting rid of stuffy cubicles and creating more vibrant and collaborative meeting spaces.
The combination of office work and remote employees lies at the core of hybrid workplaces. This hybrid workplace model allows businesses to keep up with health regulations for social distancing and increase employees’ freedom and autonomy.
It will enable employees the opportunity to fit work arrangements around their lives, rather than structuring workaround fixed hours logged into an office. It’s an ideal scenario for many employees (and employers) as it combines autonomy with sociability and structure. And many are discovering the benefits of that.
A study by Boston Consulting Group revealed that 75 percent of employees who have transitioned to being remote workers during COVID-19 are at least as productive in performing their tasks as they were before the pandemic struck. And about half report that they are at least as effective on collaborative tasks that typically happen in conference rooms.
This performance consistency is possible thanks to many tools and online platforms like Asana, Slack and Jira, enabling collaboration and project management.
Another survey revealed that 55 percent of US workers would prefer a mixture of home and office working. And according to a recent study of Google employees, sixty-two percent want to return to their offices at some point, but not every day. For this reason, the company is working on hybrid models for future work.
Finally, a hybrid workplace is also a more economical workplace. With less reliance on large scale offices, organisations can save thousands of dollars in real estate and office maintenance costs while still having hybrid teams and IT systems.
A simple overview of the future workplace shows a much more dynamic, fluid and digitalised environment – one that can answer multiple requirements with single, one-stop solutions. Becoming more employee-centred is the first step that businesses need to take to get on track with the changes that are reshaping the global workplace.
For sure, gone are the days of office employees working face-to-face 100% of the time.
If you’d like to know more about how Generation Digital can support you with the tools to enhance hybrid working, please book a consultation using the form below.