Hybrid workplace plan being drawn on white board

The Realization of the Hybrid Workplace and the Future of Work

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Jennifer Rubin, Interior Designer

As we are closing in on the end of 2022, companies are still trying to determine the best approach to bring employees back into the office full-time or as part of a hybrid workplace strategy. Developing a solid and successful workplace strategy is critical for companies that want to attract and retain employees when determining the future of work.

What is a Workplace Strategy?

Workplace Strategy can be defined as an effective and efficient approach to how a workspace is designed and set up that correlates to how people work throughout the space. A successful strategy incorporates technology, work schedules, ergonomics, and proper communication. By doing so, companies will support the ever-popular hybrid work model. Regarding the physical site, Activity Based Working (ABW) has become increasingly popular with organizations trying to reel employees back into the office.  

How Activity-Based Working Supports a Hybrid Workplace Strategy

Sought-after organizations are implementing ABW by adding collaboration spaces, quiet or focus areas, and socialization hubs, such as cafes, throughout their offices. In addition, office neighborhoods with various settings, hoteling, personal storage lockers, and CAFM (Computer-Aided Facility Management) Software stations are typically incorporated into an ABW model. Generally speaking, employees are not limited to one area or assigned desks. Alternatively, they are meant to move through the entire space as the day goes on, letting their schedule determine where they should be.

For example, employees may start their day by going directly to the locker area to drop off their coats and personal belongings. Then, they stop at the café to review the day’s schedule over coffee before settling in at a sit-stand desk to focus on emails. At 10 am, they head to a conference room for a staff meeting, and then they may duck into a huddle room for a 30-minute project update before going to lunch. Later, they head back to a focus area for some heads-down work before moving into a phone room for a confidential call. Once the call is over, they stop in the pantry for an afternoon snack before heading to an open lounge area to strategize with a co-worker. You are supposed to move through the space as the day progresses instead of sitting in one spot. Therefore, this environment efficiently promotes wellness, collaboration, socialization, and the flexibility to choose where you want to work.

Hybrid Suggestions to Benefit All

There are several benefits of hybrid working for staff to appreciate and for employers to market for company retention and attracting new employees.

  • Fairness and equity have become a priority for employers. The Harvard Business Review analyzed S+P 500’s earning calls and has stated, “The frequency with which CEOs talk about issues of equity, fairness, and inclusion on these calls has increased by 658% since 2018”. Discussions include fairness and access to a hybrid work model, equal pay for new and retained staff, and company-wide investments.
  • A Shorter Work Week for an improved work-life balance, such as offering a 10-hour, four-day work week or a shortened 32-hour work week while keeping full pay.  
  • Dedicated remote working time has recently become a popular benefit.  According to a recent article from Inc.com, Google has developed “Work From Anywhere“ time within their Hybrid Work Model. As a result, staff can work up to 4 weeks a year remotely. This is on top of already implementing the option to work from home two days a week. Furthermore, they have “Global Reset/Wellness Days” that are company-wide days off.  
  • Wellness in the office – an environment and culture that supports mental and physical wellness.
  • Automation for managerial tasks and better technology promote productivity and performance.

Future of Work

There is a multitude of strategies that make up a hybrid workplace. Depending on your needs and preferences, these can be combined and tailored to your space and staff. No matter what strategy is chosen, it’s important to note that there should be management buy-in from the top down for successful implementation.

Hybrid working is here to stay, and the key is finding the right opportunities to maximize the investment of your space and guide your site’s evolution. HF Planners, LLC understands how difficult and overwhelming it can be to develop an effective workplace strategy for your organization. So let our Workplace Strategists and Designers help you transform your site, and contact us today about our Hybrid Workplace Toolkit.