Hybrid Work Environment Work Space

Reflections on Managing Expectations in the Evolution of Hybrid Work Models

White arrow icon pointing down

A deep dive in the experiences of HF Planners, LLC leaders. What they have seen and done within the world of hybrid work environments.

Can you please tell us your position, how long you have been at HFP, and what your job description entails?

CM: I’m Casey Murphy, the Director of Projects at HF Planners. I have been with the company for 11 years. My role involves managing proposals, ensuring client satisfaction throughout the design process, meeting project goals, and overseeing budgets and timelines.

JR: I’m Jennifer Rubin, a Project Manager and Designer at HF Planners. I’ve been with the company for a total of 6 years. My responsibilities include communicating with clients, contractors, and vendors to ensure the smooth execution of projects. I focus on translating client needs into effective solutions, and coordinating various aspects of the project to ensure everything runs seamlessly from start to finish.

Can you please describe the concept of hybrid work?

CM: A hybrid work model is an approach where employees split their time between working remotely and in the office. It allows for a balance of in-person collaboration and independent work from home, providing flexibility for employees while maintaining a cohesive team environment.

From your perspective, how has the hybrid work model influenced workplace design and facility planning?

CM: Hybrid work models have truly reshaped our approach to workplace design and facility planning. Before Covid-19, we focused on designing interiors, as opposed to workplace strategy, for our clients as everyone was on-site in their location. However, being flexible is crucial as we pivoted in a way by working within Facility Management to help these workplaces adjust to the new normal. Ensuring they adapt to new workplace policies or harness the necessary data to make the right decisions.

JR: We reimagine layouts differently to optimize space utilization, allowing you to get the most out of your lease, whether it be short or long-term. Workplace trends are constantly fluctuating, but in the end, the environments we foster are curated to inspire productivity, collaboration, and flexibility.

Have you noticed any shifts in the priorities or concerns of Facility Managers in hybrid work settings?

CM: Well one thing that Facility Managers were more concerned about was the physical space rather than tracking occupancy rates within their building. They weren’t completely aware of who was in there, where, and when. This ties in with the optimization of space in the facility to ensure that every square foot is used for maximum benefit.

JR: Employee well-being is on the climb as well. Are you in a space where you feel inspired and can work efficiently? Are there amenities that will help with mental health? The answer is more important now than ever as companies want to increase occupancy. It is vital that their space, office, and building are attractive in the amenities offered. There are so many aspects as to how we can design for the welfare of employees.

How do you measure the success of hybrid work projects, and what metrics do you track to evaluate their impact?

JR: We conduct employee satisfaction surveys before and after a project is worked on. We track utilization rates and productivity levels to evaluate the impact of our designs and refine our approach to meet evolving needs.

CM: We also evaluate the scope of work and goals of the client at the end. Are they met and satisfied with the outcome?  

Can you share a successful case study where effective expectation management led to project success for a hybrid work model?

CM: We had done a phased approach with a Global Consumer Goods Manufacturing Company to accommodate their headcount and incorporate collaborative spaces. We shut down 40,000 SQ FT Space to save on HVAC/ utility costs, and more importantly, grouped teams into a neighborhood setup. With effective management, we led the projects to success by integrating a hybrid work model. By aligning goals, communicating openly, and addressing concerns proactively, we had a seamless transition that met both organizational objectives and employee expectations.”

What trends do you foresee shaping the future of hybrid work projects, and how do you prepare for them?

JR: Looking ahead, we anticipate technology playing a significant role in shaping the future of hybrid work projects. To be DIGITAL EQUITY digitally inclusive between on-site, remote, and hybrid workers, technology is at the forefront of integrated communication systems to keep everyone connected.

CM: This also plays along with data tracking and harnessing Artificial Intelligence to gather insight on what may need to be prioritized.

Do you have any other tips or insight you would like to share in regards to managing expectations to curate effective hybrid work environments?

CM: Communication is key. By addressing concerns, having open dialogues, and providing clear guidance, environments can be cultivated around trust and collaboration.

JR: Yes, prioritizing transparency and responsiveness is essential for successful outcomes in any degree.