As businesses begin to emerge from the pandemic, many are rethinking how to optimize office space. Workers have experienced the benefits of remote work and want to retain some flexibility. At the same time, innovation works best when employees connect. Hybrid workspace provides strategic opportunities to empower employees while driving growth.
At its most effective, the hybrid workspace blends the best of the office and remote work. Think of it as “home and hub.” Employees work remotely for some of the week but come into headquarters (now your “Innovation Center”) to connect with team members and utilize shared services. Technology makes the transition seamless.
Advantages of the Hybrid Workspace
In many industries, employees have grown accustomed to remote work during the pandemic, and they expect substantial flexibility moving forward. Hybrid workspaces allow them to continue to enjoy focused work at home while tapping into the synergy sparked by in person connection.
From the employer perspective, the hybrid workspace allows companies to use centralized office space more efficiently. Instead of maintaining dozens of mostly empty offices, businesses can find the right mix of reservable offices or desks with conference rooms and common areas.
Addressing the Challenges
Although hybrid workspaces deliver clear benefits, businesses will have to navigate some challenges, as well. For example, a dynamic, easy-to-use reservation system will prove essential. Employees should not have to spend the beginning of their workday wandering through the office in search of team members or an empty desk.
Additionally, for a hybrid workspace to prove successful, teams will need to make changes to accommodate a blend of in person and remote workers. This will involve setting up meetings properly to promote active participation, regardless of location.
Hybrid Workspace Technology
In many cases, technology provides the solution. When businesses implement solutions such as Microsoft Teams, coworkers engage easily, whether in neighboring cubicles or across the ocean. And operating in the cloud makes moving from home to hub or collaborating across distance seamless.
Likewise, conducting meetings with a remote-first mindset will ensure that everyone can participate equally. High quality audio and video, combined with multiple video screens, digital whiteboards, and chat windows level the playing field between those at home and those in the office.
Much of the same cloud-based technology that made remote work possible during the pandemic will also power hybrid workspaces. Consequently, organizations need to apply the lessons learned during the global remote work experiment. This includes addressing security and privacy challenges carefully and ensuring that all employees have the resources they need.
Another essential element of a hybrid workspace involves the design of the office itself. Many organizations have moved to a shared workspace model, with a mix of collaborative spaces, conference rooms and reservable offices or desks. Office design should reflect company culture and emphasize employee experience.
For instance, some organizations have designed offices with furniture and even walls that can be reconfigured easily. Thus, a team can arrange the physical space to fit the way they work, changing the design easily as projects and needs change.
Success Depends on More than Technology and Physical Space
While technology and office design prove crucial, achieving success in a hybrid work model also involves adjusting mindsets and processes. This includes establishing specific guidelines for communication and remote work. For instance, workgroups may determine that team members should be available during certain times of the day and use Microsoft Teams to communicate.
Organizations should also be prepared to make adjustments as necessary. Gather input from employees to identify areas for improvement. For better results, combine employee input with data. For instance, occupancy sensors and reservation systems can provide information about use of private vs. collaborative spaces.
Partner with Office Technology Experts
eMazzanti consultants bring a wealth of business technology experience to the table. In addition, we live the reality of a hybrid workspace/innovation center, with employees collaborating from across the globe. We can assist organizations to meet the challenges of blending remote and in person work while maintaining the security and professionalism the industry demands.