If one thing is certain it is that the past year has been challenging for all and companies had to find ways to effectively manage a remote workforce. Now that we are returning to this new normal we are facing new kinds of challenges – How do we come back to the offices and what should that office look like?
Could the answer be found in a hybrid model?
Many companies are shifting into a model where employees come to the office a couple of days of the week and the rest of the time they’ll have the flexibility to work from home. This kind of hybrid model gives you the opportunity to see the office completely differently and instead of seeing it as a challenge, we should embrace the opportunity. This is the change to companies to develop their spaces to meet the demands of a hybrid workforce that wants choice and flexibility for where and how they work. Even though a hybrid model is more complicated than a fully remote work model, it’s a chance to create something new.
The office is the new social hub
This shift to the hybrid work model isn’t something new and it has been already underway but the pandemic accelerated that and forced companies just to adapt quicker. The role of the office has shifted from a place where you come to work by yourself into a place where you come to meet people, collaborate and co-create. This shift naturally also reflects the office design. We need more spaces that foster teamwork, support creativity and give a sense of belonging.
According to the study by Leesman most respondents said they would come to the office in the future only 1-2 days a week. In order to succeed it is vital for companies to understand why people are coming to the office and design the space around that.
The office shouldn’t be an obligation, it should be a destination
If we think about whether people want to come to the office only 1-2 days of the week we need to create a workplace that supports activities that they are looking for. Research suggests that unstructured collaboration outside formal meetings is the key to a successful business. But how to achieve this goal?
Agile design, task-specific zones, home bases, pods and a combination of formal and informal areas gives a great base for offices that support a hybrid work model and create a sense of belonging.
The physical environments should also support virtual collaboration. The office should be an enabler not an obstacle to work that fosters creativity and collaboration. This requires new types and better use of technology, software and naturally a great deal of new learning from us all to enable happier, healthier and more productive way of working in the workplace of the future.
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