In light of recent world events, the hybrid workplace has become an increasingly popular model for businesses worldwide. This hybrid model has the potential to revolutionize work—it already is, in fact!
But what exactly do we mean by a hybrid workplace model? In the most general terms, it entails a decentralized workplace, with employees who divide their time between a central office and working remotely.
Of course, managing such a model requires some complicated logistics. But the benefits are indisputable. Your company saves time and money while operating on a more limber framework to quickly address challenges or opportunities. Workers, for their part, gain the flexibility to achieve a healthier work-life balance—and respond with loyalty and productivity.
Considering the prerogatives on both sides, it should seem like a no-brainer that you want your hybrid model to succeed. But what barriers stand in your way? And how can you overcome them? Every business is as unique as the people working for it; your business will require singular solutions if you are to succeed. By identifying the key challenges presented by the hybrid model transition, you can form solutions that fit your individual workplace.
Challenge #1: Employees Don’t Want to Work in the Office Anymore
Most companies had to adopt some sort of work-from-home model during the Covid-19 pandemic in order to keep functioning. But although health concerns over Covid-19 remain, they’re far less significant than the other incentives for people to work from home.
The simple fact of the matter is that people like it. Remote models allow people to work in their own space. It gives them time to better address family and personal needs, and in many cases saves them the frustration of a long commute.
Of course, this isn’t every employee. Some thrive in the central office, or at least like spending a portion of their time there. Certain positions just don’t work remotely.
The key, then, is building a workplace that is flexible and works around these demands, respecting work-life balance. Integrating wellness elements—more natural lighting or social spaces, for example—can help entice staff to split their time between locations.
On the other hand, you need to understand that workers aren’t going to spend all their time back in the office either. Organizing a detailed hybrid schedule—with a tool like Smarten Spaces—can help you balance workers’ newfound desire for flexibility.
Challenge #2: A Hybrid Workplace Model Requires Office Restructuring
Hybrid work is not remote work per se—it still demands a central office. However, the purpose of that central office changes entirely. With so many workers popping in and out, working from home or around the world, it’s time to reassess what your office is for exactly.
Why maintain a massive multi-story cubicle labyrinth if no one’s going to come work in it? For that matter, why would they want to when they can operate from their comfortable, well-lit home? Reorganize your central workplace around what employees will actually do there now: predominantly meetings and collaborative work.
This reconceptualization let you shrink space, but also builds more attractive spaces. Ask employees what they’d like to see in the office and see how you can implement their feedback—after all, they’re more likely to come in if they find it an engaging and appealing space. You can then also implement a space management tool like Smarten Spaces, which allows ambient controls, space booking, and other controls to optimize employees’ experiences in the office.
Challenge #3: How Do You Ensure Employees’ Health and Safety?
Safety and wellbeing have always been a concern in the workplace. But our Covid-era heightened awareness has made it all the more important! Today’s office demands stricter health safety measures, such as enhanced cleaning schedules, contact tracing, vaccination checks, and touchless door and elevator entry.
You need these protocols; you also need to educate your team on the steps you’re taking to secure their health in the office. This is one way in which the hybrid workplace model by nature shines. If you orient your team on a decentralized framework, they’re only all coming into the office for must-do group activities—team or client meetings and collaborative projects. Meeting room booking and hotdesking help in this regard, as team members can plan their in-office time to work for their health concerns.
Demonstrating your concern for employees’ health—as well as implementing measures to protect it—encourages workers to come back to an office they know is as safe as possible.
Challenge #4: What’s the Best Way to Monitor Productivity?
Hybrid workplace models rely on communication and cooperation. Employees need to get in touch with each other just as efficiently from a remote workplace as in the central office. Considering this fundamental, it’s crucial that you give your team the tools they need to succeed.
Unconscious bias favors people who are close, which means those who come into the office more regularly may be favored over those who don’t. By keeping an eye out for disparities, as well as using AI algorithms and similar tools to pinpoint trouble spots, you can keep everyone in touch and the day running smoothly.
Challenge #5: Managing Office Spaces to Cater to Hybrid Workers
Hybrid workplace models still require a traditional office space—it’s just smaller and more efficient use of square footage. The change is it also includes a digital workplace: a network of software like Google and Zoom that allow employees in disparate locations to exchange information.
These digital workplaces are just as important as the central office—perhaps even more so. With modern workers on the go constantly, you want to make sure they have the infrastructure to perform their jobs efficiently from anywhere. This means digital comms tools, but it also means a platform to book office space and meeting rooms on the fly. A platform that can serve as a command base for all these different features—meshing the physical and the digital office—is imperative for seamless business flow.
Make Your Hybrid Model The Best Workplace It Can Be With Smarten Spaces
The hybrid workplace is the future of business—the change is upon us now, and it’s here to stay. But like all big changes, it comes with its share of challenges. How do you reconfigure your office space to work with a decentralized system? How do you entice workers back to the office? And how do you provide all workers (in-office and remote) with the digital infrastructure they need to succeed?
The companies that can successfully meet and overcome these are well-positioned to reap the bottom-line benefits of hybrid work, while also providing the kind of environment that keeps employees happy and productive. To pull this off, you need the right tools in hand—tools like Smarten Spaces. From hotdesking to hybrid scheduling to in-office ambient controls and cleaning, Smarten Spaces is your command deck for running your hybrid office effectively.
Just because your workforce is scattered, it doesn’t mean you can’t still run a tight ship. Reach out to Smarten Spaces today and see how we can steer your workplace into the future!