Working remotely has grown in popularity over the last decade. Companies are learning more about how to make remote work effective, and one of the most popular solutions is designing a hybrid office environment that blends the benefits of both remote work and collaborative space all in one. It’s not just an idea anymore—it’s happening everywhere.
What is Behind the Rise?
With the advent of Covid-19, people in the workforce have had time to reflect on what kind of job environment they want. The quit rate is higher than it’s ever been too, which is a strong indicator that many people aren’t satisfied with the work they’re doing. This problem is exacerbated by “always-on” technology, which makes it difficult to separate your personal life from your professional one.
The result of this has been a rise in remote working opportunities because companies are recognizing how much more productive their employees can be outside of the office. Of course, working remotely isn’t the only way to have this kind of impact on productivity—companies can also implement a hybrid model. Let’s take a look at how it works…
What is A Hybrid Office?
Working remotely during Covid has taught companies a lot about the most effective ways to work, proving that they’re not the same for everyone. As a result, one of the most popular solutions to make the workplace work again is designing one that blends the benefits of remote work and collaborative space all in one: The hybrid office.
The concept of the hybrid office is simple: It creates a physical location for employees where they can “commute” from their home offices, complete with whiteboard walls, video conference rooms, couches for impromptu meetings, or even nap pods so you can recharge during your day.
The Future of Office Workplaces
The graph below shows the ways companies say the workplace locations will be allocated this fall, and the hybrid model is a part of the mix in a big way (Source: PWC US Pulse Survey, 2021). Almost a third of companies (33%) will be made up of a mixed workforce model, with some fully remote, some hybrid and some in-person.
The Challenges of Returning to Work
The challenges leaders say they are facing now is in bringing out the best parts of a face-to-face scenario for all employees on their team, whether they are in the office or not. The struggle is real for all workplace models, and executives are experimenting with ways to make them work.
When it comes to the hybrid model, businesses say corporate culture is the biggest hurdle to clear before hybrid workplaces become successful, with 36% of them citing it as a major challenge and 36% of them citing it as a moderate challenge.
Additionally, organizations everywhere are experiencing record-high higher turnover rates as employees seek incentives such as flexibility, expanded benefits and better compensation.
How to Make a Hybrid Office Environment Successful
To execute a plan for creating a hybrid office environment and making it successful, you’ll need to configure your hybrid work model floor plan, make changes to processes and operations and rethink and revamp strategies.
However, it won’t mean much if you have all that and you are still losing employees. It’s going to be important to figure out ways to attract and keep top talent that craves the flexibility they’ve grown accustomed to during covid times.
What businesses can do now to make the hybrid work environment more successful includes:
- Incorporating ergonomics and better design
- Combining social distancing and collaboration
- Designing for privacy in the hybrid workplace model
- Utilizing modern hybrid furniture
- Implementing new technology
We’ll discuss more about these improvements in the next sections.
Ergonomics and Better Workplace Design
Everyone wants their work environment to be comfortable and inviting, but that can often go by the wayside when people are trying to save money or are more concerned with the bottom line. When comfort is waylaid, it leads to a lack of ergonomics and better design in the office space, resulting in higher rates of injury from workplace stress.
However, it’s important to remember that investing in ergonomics and design is actually an investment. For one thing, it can save you money by reducing turnover rates among employees who are unsatisfied with their work environment.
Therefore, some actions companies can take is to buy ergonomic mice, ergonomic chairs and sit/stand desks for their workers to use at their home and for when they commute to the company office. This is a great way to guarantee that workers have access to ergonomic equipment at all times, especially if they are thinking of working from home for the day.
Companies can buy the equipment outright and have it delivered to the locations or provide petty cash, home office fund, or some other reimbursement system if the employee wants to purchase the furniture.
Social Distancing and Collaboration Spaces
It seems counterintuitive to design with social distancing and collaboration in mind since one involves maintaining a distance, and the other is typically fostered by being closer to one another.
On the other hand, it’s an important distinction when thinking about how much space is needed for social distancing when you have employees who are working in the office that need to interact but also need safety when they commute to the corporate office.
The best-designed hybrid office workspaces for commercial industries include a configuration for social distancing best practices, as well as a collaborative environment that increases employee engagement, promotes safety and creativity, while also simultaneously reminding staff what it’s like to work among their peers once again.
By designing the hybrid workplace this way, you can help promote growth, anticipate uncertainty and create a dream workplace that has top talent clamoring to join.
Thoughtful Pieces and Collaborative Design
Post-covid office hybrid workspaces should be prepared with thoughtful pieces that are easy to install and suitable for large and small floor plans, equipped with cleanable surfaces, customized with safety screens, and ergonomically sound for continued wellness.
Also, an unstructured collaboration that takes place outside a formal meeting environment is key to a successful business, according to Harvard Business Review.
Therefore, rather than long lines of desks, hybrid offices should adopt a design that favors collaboration spaces. The collaborative spaces should also be an environment that provides training, learning and mentoring
That said, companies are now converting individual spaces into collaborative spaces and social environments where workers can get together.
So, companies wanting to take advantage of this trend should design workspaces that encourage creativeness more than a rigid structure. Doing so will transform offices into a destination vs. an obligatory place where someone just goes to work every day.
Design for Privacy
Open offices are often favored by the tech industry, but for workers that need to really concentrate on what they are doing, private offices work the best. Remember, some employees have worked in tranquil spots by design. This means while they are at the office, they may need more privacy than a workstation designed for open offices can provide.
To achieve this private office environment at the workplace, they can: A) provide more privacy screens, B) create an open office environment with private offices that are tucked away or C) give employees the ability to make their workspace as private as they need it to be at any given moment and D) provide social distancing cubicles that feature higher walls for better shielding and division.
Option D minimizes the spread of pathogens, keeps employees healthy, and provides security, but let’s expand on that a bit. To make workstations more cocoon-like and safe, you can add personal partition screens to the technical console or work desk’s front or sides. The screens provide privacy and safety, while the material it’s made of still lets in natural light.
Modern Hybrid Furniture
A recent survey conducted by Indeed discovered that 45% of remote workers missed in-person conferences with their colleagues. Their findings indicate that the value of collaborative meetings has never been greater.
Likewise, anything from people working in the trading & finance industry to the transportation sector felt the vacuum left behind from the absence of face-to-face brainstorming. As such, it will feel refreshing to the returning workers when they get together and innovate.
Employers can meet this need by providing workers safe hybrid workplace collaboration furniture that drives fresh and innovative ideas.
Digital meetings are now the new normal for much of the business world. This form of communication will also be essential to the hybrid workplace, so it’s important to make sure your company is ready. You can add secure video conferencing, instant messaging and web-based ID tools like Duo Security to the list of needed updates for a new digital workspace.
Businesses will also be incorporating more screens and power sources to their consoles, so they will need technical furniture that has a place for everything and won’t take up too much space. Employees would rather not sit down all day, and smart furniture like standing desks is a good solution for supporting this aspect of collaboration.
Saraval Industries Can Help You Prepare for Hybrid Office Environments
Saraval Industries is proud to share our expertise in helping to implement hybrid work environments. We feature a large inventory of new and pre-owned commercial office furniture that can help workplaces implement social distancing best practices into post-covid workspaces while adapting to the changing workplace. We are known for offering customers adaptable furniture solutions, which allow the user to select the most appropriate elements for their specific needs.
Saraval Industries is located in West Nyack, NY. You can contact us today at (516)768-9033 for a free quote, and we will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have about hybrid office furniture solutions or our wide range of other commercial office furniture options.