Designing for the Hybrid Workplace
Hybrid working has become the typical working pattern, post-pandemic. The Office of National Statistics found that 84% of UK workers expect to shift permanently to a hybrid work model.
While employees enjoy the flexibility that working remotely offers, many have found it has contributed to loneliness and they are suffering in work-based relationships. While these are challenges, designing a workplace based around hybrid working can alleviate them and have employees eager to spend more time in the office.
For hybrid working to be successful, the fundamentals of the traditional office need to change. Companies should design with encouraging connections in mind to reclaim the social connection lost through remote working. Social zones are one key area where companies can re-energise the space. Providing coffee stations, break-out zones, and refreshment stations can help people reconnect and strengthen the sense of community within the organisation. These areas also increase the chance of impromptu encounters, which can spark new ideas and collaborations that are not possible in a remote setting.
The office’s new role of offering a social setting also benefits a company by developing a solid connection to the culture. Staff should be encouraged to use these spaces throughout the day. Factoring social events into the company’s calendar ensures that those in the office take a break from their desks and enjoy the facilities.
Those who have already adapted their spaces to the hybrid work model have found that ‘neighbourhood-based planning’ has been beneficial in making a more dynamic and flexible work environment with collaboration at its core. With neighbourhood planning, seating is organised so that people who need to work with each other or have similar needs sit together. Seating a department together ensures they’ve got access to the people and amenities they need to get the most out of their time in the office.
It has been proven to increase productivity and collaboration. A key benefit is that it is adaptable; seating is not fixed, other departments can join the area dependent on which project they are working on. This fluid environment is vital for the future of hybrid working.
Invest in Technology
With the mix of employees in the office and at home, offices must invest in the relevant technology to ensure teams can stay connected. Video conferencing technology is essential, but consideration also must be given to where the technology is available. Regular online meetings or calls can be a distraction for others if the office is open plan. Creating specific zones, such as huddle rooms or soundproof booths, offers a solution to allow for private conversations.
One of the most challenging aspects of hybrid working is planning for the fluctuation in numbers within the office on a given day. Incorporating booking system technology will allow hot desks to be booked beforehand. This removes the issue of those travelling to the office being left without a desk, and facilities can have the guidance of daily numbers in advance.
Many who have worked from home have enjoyed the comfort that came with it. They may not necessarily have worked at a desk all the time. When designing the workplace, consideration should be given to offering areas with comfortable furniture, ambient lighting and home comforts, like plants. These additions can encourage productivity and innovation and would be welcomed by those within the workplace.
Hybrid working is now the standard for the modern workforce. As a result, companies need to re-evaluate their current office space and ensure it will meet the needs of the future workforce. At Grant, we work closely with our clients to create tailored solutions for their specific environment and requirements. The finished result will reflect the brand and culture employees experience from the moment they enter.
If you would like to discuss how Grant can transform your office space, contact us below.
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