4 Powerful Methods for Creating a Hybrid Workplace
The global pandemic has created new challenges and opportunities in almost every industry, and competition will be fierce as the economy reopens. Those who clearly understand their customers' needs, collaborate to identify multiple solutions, prototype, iterate, and bring new ideas to market will be the winners. Those behaviours will only emerge when employees collaborate in the new, modern workplace.
However, getting the hybrid right will be difficult. Choosing who works from the office and how frequently is a complex issue that will differ for each organisation. If not done correctly, it could jeopardise culture, collaboration, and innovation. A well-executed hybrid workplace, on the other hand, can be a magnet that brings people together and helps us work better than ever before.
Connect the Digital and Physical Worlds
As global team leaders, we understand how difficult it is to bridge the gap between in-person and remote participants, and hybrid work means that someone will inevitably be remote, regardless of how well teams coordinate their in-office days. Remote colleagues may become dissatisfied and disengaged if they are unable to participate equally. This is especially true for creative and innovative work, such as brainstorming, which frequently involves the use of analogue whiteboards or other physical products that are difficult for people on the other side of the camera to fully appreciate.
Switch between enclosed and open spaces.
It's time to reconsider the open floor plan. Individual workstations have become more open with increasing density over the years, while meetings are held in enclosed conference rooms. These spaces will begin to shift as people return to the office. Meetings will take place more frequently in open spaces with movable boundaries, while individual focus work will take place in enclosed spaces such as pods or small enclaves.
Because open collaboration spaces do not necessitate fixed features in their design, they can morph and change as new work patterns emerge. Agile approaches are frequently used in innovation, problem-solving, and co-creation.
Transition from Fixed to Fluid
Buildings are constructed for long-term use, while the pace of business and change continues to accelerate. The rise of pop-ups and coworking models, as well as the demand for shorter lease terms, highlight the tensions between slow and fast. Most businesses that own real estate wonder, "How much space do we need?"
The hybrid future provides a more fluid workplace that can adapt to changing needs. This not only accelerates innovation and advances the organization's culture, but it also ensures that real estate is always optimised. Steelcase has optimised its own space by creating an open area that supports hybrid meetings in the morning, transforms into a café for lunch, and hosts a town hall in the afternoon.
Do the Job by Balancing "We" and "Me"
The pandemic has caused us to reconsider the office's purpose and meaning, and many leaders have concluded that the office is a place for collaborative work. According to Gensler's Research Institute, which was conducted during the height of the pandemic, full-time work-from-home employees saw a 37 percent decrease in average collaboration time. As a result, leaders are rightfully focused on increasing collaboration, and Steelcase research shows that nearly two-thirds of leaders want to expand spaces for both in-person and hybrid forms of collaboration.