The worldwide pandemic has altered the way we continue to do business, and what follows this phase is neither a return to the status quo nor the extinction of the office. Instead, we may expect our new working reality to be hybrid, which is associating with individuals who work remotely and those who work in the exact physical location at the same time. A hybrid workspace is a flexible working arrangement that can manage a diffused hybrid workforce of both remote and in-office staff. The benefit of this hybrid work style is that it allows people to work anywhere they are most comfy and efficient. This could be in a workplace made flexible as well or in a remote workspace.
Although this concept appears to be a good one, it is a complex one to put into application in theory. Let's go over some of the drawbacks and benefits of a hybrid workplace:
It might be challenging to develop or sustain relationships with coworkers in a hybrid workplace. This gap in employee experience becomes even more apparent when certain employees continue to work in the office, forming perceived in-groups that can leave remote workers feeling excluded, undervalued, and isolated. A clever manager can mitigate this by modifying the company's team-building programs to ensure that they are inclusive of all employees and planning frequent social gatherings accessible to everyone, regardless of location.
When operating and communicating from different locations, cyber-attacks and other connected hazards like data leakage are more prevalent. Companies must secure their digital trail with regular software upgrades, strong password handling, and multi-factor verification since they are more vulnerable to data breaches. Employers now have the added responsibility of retraining employees on securely accessing business infrastructure, storing up data, and developing recovery plans. It is critical to developing contingency plans and reaction procedures in the event of an outage—all of this raises cybersecurity costs.
Remote employees may work more hours and take fewer breaks than their colleagues in the office. They are concerned that their in-office colleagues will regard them as slacking off since they are out of visibility, so they tend to compensate by staying late or making themselves available outside of typical work hours. When a flexible worker takes time out in the afternoon to exercise o walk their dog, it can lead to feelings of regret, which leads to more work and, eventually, burnout. Managers must carefully build a workplace culture focused on the job directly than just being logged in.
Because of the surge in remote working, it is no longer required to have a large office capacity to house employees who do most of their work remotely. Businesses find themselves in need of less office space as the number of people in the office decreases. A hybrid approach not only saves money on rent but also requires fewer office supplies. Refilling snacks and the water dispenser, for example, is no longer a "typical" need.
Costs benefiting employees
The concept of a hybrid workplace approach contributes to this by allowing employees to work remotely. You will save money on not commuting to a physical office each day. Moreover, employers might provide these employees with specific allowances to assist them in setting up a home workstation. This also helps to raise morale because employees feel valued by the company.
Employees can become more able to take responsibility in a hybridized workplace. Employees feel confident and competent about doing their duties when they are less likely to be micromanaged. This can assist them in doing their best and make them more conscious of their responsibilities. As a result, your team will be more transparent, productive, and committed. As a result, they are increasing staff engagement and performance levels.
Such workplaces allow employees to cross-collaborate with members to enhance an organization's effectiveness while maintaining the highest level of work quality. Additionally, the presence of in-office and remote working provides flexibility, which contributes to improving overall results. It's critical to understand that communication routes might get strained while working with distant teams. Nonetheless, you can quickly remedy these deficiencies with the correct tools and mechanisms.
Improving office layout
Businesses must invest in reconfiguring their present office space to fit the needs of flexible workers to complete the shift to a hybrid workplace. This includes providing a range of spaces for employees to accomplish their absolute best, such as common areas for breakout sessions, quiet spaces for concentration, and modular conference rooms that they can swiftly transform for activity-based work. A hybrid office needs additional functionality, such as power outlets near chairs for charging, conferencing displays to effortlessly connect with remote colleagues, and excellent Wi-Fi in any space where people might try to work. Businesses should plan for this transformation and invest in solutions that meet the demands of their specific company.
Understanding the requirements of a flexible workspace will aid in determining which tools should be included. This ensures that the hybrid workplace concept is maximized and that firms may reap the rewards of hybridity while minimizing the risks associated with faulty channels of communication and interaction.
There are countless ways to create your workspace. However, regardless of layout, designs must satisfy the needs of the modern employee. As a result, most modern offices have flexible workspaces.
Prioritize flexible, mobile design that allows you to move them around the workplace fast and conveniently. Except for electric standing desks, most office equipment available for an ergonomic workplace meets these characteristics. These desks are still suitable for usage in corners or implementing another flexible working design trend, such as hot desks. Furniture that allows you to make the most of a flexible workspace includes ergonomic office chairs, mobile storage solutions, partition walls, and adjustable tables that readily slot together for conference meetings. Working away from the office necessitates management's adaptability and confidence. Some companies have also provided portable or customized work furnishings such as standing desks and ergonomic furniture to employees to disrupt the routine and pattern at home.
- Coworking spaces
Coworking spaces provide a collaborative workspace where employees from various organizations may go and accomplish their tasks. These offer critical workplace equipment and other amenities like social areas.
- Activity-based working
Employees in an activity-based workplace have access to various places tailored to suit the type of job they are performing. While activity-based working has grown in favor in recent years as a more organized alternate to an utterly open workplace, companies are likely to be more hesitant to implement this model in light of COVID-19. The flexibility to move freely across the office during the day, which is at the heart of activity-based working, may make it increasingly challenging to keep track of which areas have been occupied and if they have been adequately cleaned. Soft sitting, which was common in many huddle places, appears to be less desirable today.
- Open lounges and spaces
These areas provide employees with a comfortable environment in which to collaborate. The design of collaborative spaces can vary from small rooms with movable furniture to open spaces with customized seating configurations and portable whiteboards. The open office floor plan provides structure and familiarity while rapidly adapting to the demands of everyday work. It encourages collaboration in whatever shape it may take.
- Hot desks
Individual workers can use hot desks as needed. They are strategically located across the office to assist in-house staff, remote workers, temps, and visitors who do not have permanent workplaces. Hot desking optimizes the employee-to-desk ratio, enhancing space usage. While it makes optimal use of the little office space, some employees dislike the idea until practical constraints are imposed. If your organization has multiple departments, your employees may be seated next to persons they have no interaction with. While the ideal scenario may result in a new work engagement, if their jobs are significantly different, there is some possibility for friction.
Ensure that flexible workspaces include power and data—accessible sockets, ethernet cable, PCs, chargers, AV carts, or whatever else employees may require.
Design influences workplace flexibility. Architecture should accommodate space that is easy to access, has enough light and depth, and is created for comfort, whether it is a tiny area for a few workers or a collaborative place for bigger workforces.
Control workspace user check-ins. Make rules for keeping the space clean. Make it simple to access flex spaces. Processes that have been established ensure flexibility.
Desks and chairs are necessary, but they must be designed to support how people work. Standing desks and rolling chairs with lumbar support are popular furniture alternatives in flexible spaces since they are ergonomic and mobile.
In the future, the hybrid workplace model may become an unavoidable setup for many businesses. Now that you understand some of the advantages and disadvantages consider what will work best for your organization's specific situations and workforce. Flexible workplaces let an organization adjust to the inevitable challenges it faces. Because a flexible workspace can be whatever it needs to be for whoever uses it, it becomes a benefit almost immediately.