5 Tips for a Successful Hybrid Workplace Plan

What will the office of the future be like now that remote work has become common? Well, one thing is for sure—it certainly will not look or operate like offices did a few years ago… even a few months ago! As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, there is now greater acceptance of remote work. Even as employees begin returning to the office there will likely be those that prefer to work from home for at least a few days a week. In order to have a hybrid model (some people in-office and some working remotely) that offers employees the best of both worlds, businesses will need to pay attention to the details. Here are 5 tips for a successful hybrid workplace plan.

1. Combine Open-Plan Workspace with “Phone Booths”

Open-plan workspace instead of workstation cubicles became popular over the last 10 years. Many business execs and office space designers saw the open-plan as a way to encourage a livelier work environment that fostered collaboration. While the pandemic put the brakes on this office design concept, many found the lack of privacy and frequent interruptions a real disadvantage. Thus, finding the proper balance between collaboration and solitude is up for discussion.
However in the meantime, businesses will need to offer larger individual workspaces to both in-office employees and remote workers who drop in, for health and safety sake. In addition, focus rooms—often called phone booths—for when work requires concentration or a private conversation are essential.

2. Provide Spaces for Unscheduled Meetings

Hand-in-hand with collaboration is the idea that unscheduled meetings and unstructured get togethers help to generate new ideas. Therefore, the new hybrid workspace will need to include areas where two or three people can have short, impromptu chats. A few tables and chairs or lounge type seating in an open area serves this purpose well. Here, both employees working on site as well as remote workers will have the opportunity to meet and talk shop or catch up as work friends often do.

3. Incorporate Department Neighborhoods

For employees that do work remotely for most or part of the week, knowing where their department’s assigned work area is makes finding an open spot easier. Some companies have adopted a practice called hoteling. Whether through an online booking system or call-in reservations, people can reserve workspaces for a few hours or days. Depending on the size of a department, one or more of these hotel spaces can be set aside. Hoteling is also used to book meeting rooms or phone booths as necessary.

4. Clean Desks Make for Happy Co-Workers

In order for hoteling, phone booths and other components of the hybrid model to succeed and not cause friction, a clean desk policy is a must. Personal items must be cleared from desks and other work surfaces at the end of the day. Businesses that have several people working remotely may want to consider providing small lockers or storage containers for personal items needed throughout the week.

5. Clear Channels of Communication

When everyone was working in the office, some communication simply required walking around. Walk to the kitchen and read a memo on the bulletin board; walk by two people talking in the hall to learn about a new hire; and walk by the receptionist’s desk to sign a birthday or get well card. Obviously, working remotely doesn’t offer such opportunities. Therefore, clear channels of communication whether through emails, Zoom meetings or conference calls are essential for a successful hybrid workplace plan.

For more information about the hybrid model, or to find the best office space for your company, contact a commercial real estate professional today.