Hybrid office & the requirements of the future

Numerous studies and surveys have now shown that hybrid working will be the new normality for most companies in the future. One of many questions is how companies should deal with their office space if employees are free to choose their place of work in the future and fewer people come to the office permanently. We are therefore looking at the requirements of the hybrid office in the future.

Focus on people

The majority of employees say they no longer want to give up the opportunity to work outside the office. According to a study by BCG and The Network(link to the study), 89 percent of those surveyed said they would work outside the office on at least one day in the future. After all, working in a home office or remotely offers numerous advantages while productivity remains the same or even increases. From this point of view, the key question in the future will therefore be: What does the office offer me that I don't also have in any other place to do my work?

Companies interested in attracting their employees to the office must therefore focus more on people and their needs and make the office an attractive place for its users, the employees. On the one hand, the office of the future offers a high quality of stay. At the same time, the goal must be a functional design of the work areas. Because the question is not where I feel most comfortable, but where I can best and most effectively carry out the tasks I need to do.

Specialisation instead of generalisation

For a long time, the open-plan office was considered the perfect office concept. While some work productively at their desks, the open design enables communication between colleagues and individual teams. The open space is complemented by a meeting area separated by partitions and the multifunctional all-in-one solution is complete. Today we know that in the end neither one nor the other works, the Open Space is The Worst of Both Worlds.

The hybrid office is a throwback and pays the necessary attention to the different requirements of the respective task. Basically, the office of the future must fulfil three requirements:

1. place of social exchange

Contrary to many fears, most employees quickly came to terms with the situation and work in the home office. But it quickly became clear that social contacts and exchanges with each other are essential for employee satisfaction. Whether over coffee in the kitchen or through a short conversation with the person sitting next to them, social interaction increases satisfaction, but it is also essential to promote the corporate culture and strengthen the employees' bond with the company.
Hybrid work - The new demands on the office - Social exchange

A suitably furnished office kitchen, cafeteria or lounge area provide a relaxed environment for conversations with colleagues. A central marketplace can serve as a place for chance encounters. For it is precisely the exchange outside one's own cosmos, i.e. with people from other departments, that often provides new perspectives and creative food for thought.

Town Halls are the ideal place to gather the entire workforce for large-scale meetings. Using the latest technology, everyone who works outside the office can be connected. This ensures transparency and strengthens the feeling of togetherness.

2. creative exchange & collaboration

In principle, any place in the world is suitable for standard tasks that can be done independently. For this reason, the switch to a home office forced by Corona did not lead to the feared loss of productivity in many companies. On the other hand, the motivational power of a company is strongly dependent on cooperation and creative exchange between employees.

Creating the right collaboration and meeting spaces for their employees will be the main task for companies in the transformation to a hybrid organisation. However, the different forms of collaboration should be taken into account. After all, morning standups of agile teams have different requirements in terms of design and equipment than creative brainstorming sessions for campaign planning in marketing.

Hybrid Work - The New Demands on the Office - Collaboration

The design options are correspondingly large. The spectrum ranges from meeting points equipped with smartboards and classic conference rooms to play areas and classroom-like spaces for the onboarding of new employees. And here, too, you should always ask yourself how you can adequately integrate remote workers.

3. concentrated work

Last but not least, concentrated work must still be possible in the office. Not every employee wants to work outside the office or has the opportunity to work in a focused manner in the home office, for example because children are waiting at home, construction work is taking place or street noise is disturbing.
Hybrid work - The new demands on the office - Concentrated work

In addition to the classic cubicle offices with 2 to 4 workstations, many companies already have silent rooms. Another possibility are so-called telephone boxes, which offer a retreat as a room-in-room solution. Libraries can also be a way to create quiet working areas without employees feeling isolated from the rest of the staff.

In addition, the office of the future takes as dynamic an approach to planning as possible. This means that the areas can be adapted to the current circumstances depending on the workload. If, for example, employees with children can no longer work undisturbed at home during school holidays, additional areas for concentrated work can easily be created in a dynamically designed office.

Tips for planning your workspaces

Office planning is a complex task. We would like to give you 4 tips that will help you transform your workspace and that have proven themselves in the past in numerous projects with our clients.

First the work, then the planning

Your office should offer your employees the best possible working space. To do this, it is important to understand what work needs to be done and what is required for this. Of course, the marketing department has different requirements for its workspace than sales or logistics. Only when you have a comprehensive picture of your company should you begin with the concrete planning of your office space and ask yourself how you can best fulfil the respective tasks.

Involve employees

The employees are the ones who use your workspaces every day. So it's only logical that they should be the focus of your planning. After all, they should be equally productive and satisfied there later. Last but not least, they are the ones who can best answer what it takes to work effectively. Therefore, involve your colleagues in your planning from the beginning, get feedback and test things out to understand what already works well and what does not.

Remote First Approach

There will be no return to the status quo that prevailed before the Corona pandemic. Where it is possible, people will increasingly want to work independently of time and place. You must take this into account when planning the office. Especially for collaboration zones, you should always ask yourself how all colleagues, whether in or out of the office, can optimally come together.

Adapt yourself

The working world with all its processes is not a rigid construct. New external guidelines or changing ways of working also mean new requirements for the design and equipment of your work areas. So always question the current status and, if necessary, make the appropriate adjustments.
Collecting data can be very useful in making informed decisions. Digital solutions help you understand which rooms and workplaces are frequently or rarely used. This information can be used to make targeted changes.
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