“Good workplace culture” is no longer a buzzword used within job advertisements. It's now a necessity for operating a successful business post-Covid-19, particularly during a new era when employee morale and motivation is at an all-time low.
There's no denying that the pandemic has changed the way businesses and their employees interact with their workplaces, with offices beginning to take on new designs as they serve new purposes. In fact, 72 percent of companies report that they intend to offer a hybrid working model after the pandemic. Yet, organizations are still unsure about how to optimize and revise the layout, design, and amenities within their offices to successfully make this transition.
In this article, we examine what a hybrid workspace is, while revealing our top tips to help businesses successfully implement this new model.
What is a Hybrid Workplace?
A hybrid workspace is a work environment that incorporates characteristics of both remote and in-office operations. Typically, some or all employees have the option to choose where and when they work, allowing them to split their time between working from home and working in a central office.
A hybrid workplace will look different from company-to-company. It might involve a few employees who are always on-site or multiple teams that work on staggered schedules, rotating in and out every couple of weeks. A hybrid workplace may be almost entirely remote, with employees only coming in for regular face-to-face meetings. It might also be almost entirely office-based, with only a few employees or teams working remotely.
Because of this, many employees won't need dedicated desks or individual offices, but will need space and resources to work when they are in the office.
The purpose of a hybrid workplace, therefore, is to combine the demands of individual workers with their ability to collaborate and be efficient in a shared physical environment. This presents a unique challenge to office designers, as they must find ways to make employees feel welcome, supported, and motivated while working in the office, as opposed to the comfort of their home.
What Does it Take to Create a Successful Hybrid Office?
Thankfully, creating a hybrid office that successfully balances an employees’ needs with the objectives of an organization isn’t impossible. It just takes the following simple tips.
Survey Your Employees
The hybrid workspace places importance on teamwork and cooperation, however it’s critical to recognize that when it comes to collaboration tools, one size doesn’t fit all. To execute their responsibilities successfully in a hybrid setting, various employee "personas" will require different tools.
Therefore, it’s vital to start by sitting down with each employee and asking them what tools or processes would help them do their best work. This includes not just the hardware and software employees require to accomplish their work efficiently, but also the management and collaboration methods that bring out the best in them.
Doing so will give you the best idea about how your existing workplace can transition to an agile workplace that’s optimized for efficiency, productivity, collaboration, and innovation.
Leverage New Technology
The hybrid workplace presents an exciting opportunity to leverage new and innovative technology in ways that benefit all employees.
In order to support recruiting, onboarding, and engagement, hybrid workplaces require a sophisticated set of smart solutions, as well as the systems and tools required for remote team productivity, efficiency, and resilience.
Use cloud-based productivity software and videoconferencing capabilities to level the playing field between those working remotely and those in the office. Additionally, consider what offsite employees need to see in order to participate. Use technology like Zoom's smart gallery, which identifies individual faces in a shared room and pulls them into panels on the screen so remote participants can see them in the gallery view or enable closed captioning.
Transform the Ordinary
While it’s tempting to kit out a hybrid office in several meeting rooms or other traditional spaces meant to facilitate collaboration, try to think outside of the square. A hybrid work model goes hand-in-hand with modern office design, which is all about transforming the ordinary.
Think about how you can elevate zones of your office—such as meeting or conference rooms and other shared spaces—into areas which boost employee wellbeing, creativity, safety, and productivity.
Google, for example, utilizes outdoor spaces filled with plants and natural light to hold larger team gatherings. Their hybrid workplace also incorporates “Team Pod” spaces, which can be reconfigured in numerous ways to support focused teamwork.
To encourage interaction and spontaneity, hybrid workplace designers are also including more cafe-style rooms and soft collaborative zones—like breakout rooms. According to research, face-to-face interactions outside of formal settings were the strongest predictor of productivity.
Provide Equipment for the Home Office Too
Since the hybrid workplace incorporates both in-office and remote work, you'll also need to supply the necessary equipment for a safe and healthy work from home office, such as large monitors, ergonomic desk chairs, and standing desks.
A successful hybrid workplace is one in which there isn’t preferential treatment or additional opportunities for on-site workers over remote workers—or vice-versa. Ensure that all workers, whether on-site or teleworking, can be active participants. Additionally, make sure all employees have the support, training, and resources they need to perform their role effectively from any location they choose.
Utilize Living Plant Walls
Balancing a tech-filled workplace with beautiful design and employee wellbeing can be tricky. A modern workplace shouldn’t resemble a concrete jungle, so consider utilizing plants in stunning and innovative ways to counteract this.
Living walls are a quick and simple way to add hundreds of air-purifying plants into your decor by using vertical space.
The modern-day office is utilizing living walls in creative ways, whether for floor-to-ceiling greenery, natural air purification in a poorly ventilated space, or to add aesthetic soundproofing to conference rooms.
Hybrid workplaces may even consider using living walls to divide a space, use as a backdrop for Zoom meetings, or even add vibrance to an outdated office area as you welcome employees back to your headquarters.
By implementing living walls into an office’s design, a company can also reap benefits such as attracting and retaining staff, boosting mood, improving physical health, enhancing focus, and increasing productivity, making it a win-win for all.
The Future of Work is Hybrid
The basic concepts of a hybrid workplace empower employees to perform at their best, no matter where they work from. Through implementing correct practices, such as surveying employees, leveraging new technology, transforming ordinary workspaces, providing adequate resources, and utilizing plants in innovative ways, you too can create a successful hybrid workplace.
Want to integrate a beautiful living wall into your hybrid office design? Talk to the living wall experts at Zauben today to learn more about how our Model Z Living Wall can enhance your hybrid office space!