75% of workers think hybrid work will become the norm in their companies within the next three years, the World Economic Forum reports. Hybrid work is an increasingly commonplace and flexible working model that allows employees to split their time between the physical workplace and working from home. Improved work-life balance, flexibility, and productivity are just some of the reasons why the growing trend in hybrid work is here to stay.
Unhealthy office design
Traditional offices were increasingly unpopular before the pandemic — 85% of employees said they were dissatisfied with their office environment prior to 2020. Open plan designs and high densities (under 5m2 per person on average) were very much the norms, resulting in loud, distracting, and unhealthy working environments. Poor lighting and temperature levels were also present in around 40% of offices. At home, on the other hand, employees have complete control over temperature, lighting, noise, and privacy in order to maximize productivity and well-being.
Traditional offices still have their value, however. Remote work has been found to result in an overall drop in collaboration between employees. Collaboration (which is essential for innovation) mostly occurs within an 8m radius and drops to virtually zero by 50m. In-person contact is particularly important for new employees and new projects, which entail a steep learning curve. In-person collaboration as facilitated by traditional offices also helps foster a sense of camaraderie and belonging in employees.
Even though remote work hasn’t seen the same levels of collaboration as those in traditional offices, this has begun to improve as resources have become readily available for remote teams to collaborate together. Management teams have also begun setting up “happy hours” and virtual events like escape rooms and scavenger hunts from sites like escapely.com, to dirve team unity. Utilizing these new platforms has allowed collaboration to increase as well as team productivity.
Designing the hybrid office
When it comes to working from home, dedicated office space is essential for focus and productivity. Fortunately, a stylish and functional home office can be created even in the smallest of spaces. For example, a basic desk and shelving can be added to a spare closet to create a simple yet practical office space. Moreover, existing office spaces are also being redesigned to accommodate hybrid work. Configurable office furniture, for instance, can be easily moved around as needed for maximum flexibility. Additionally, U- or trapezoid-shaped tables are popular choices in conference rooms along with cameras and microphones that allow remote employees to join in on meetings. Quiet zones or booths with lighting and temperature control can also be provided for focused, solitary work.
Hybrid work boosts employee happiness and productivity, so it’s no wonder it’s here to stay. By building flexible, dynamic workplaces, businesses can effectively strike a successful balance between office and remote work.