Here are 4 key steps to help you get started with making decisions on how to adapt your office space as you move towards a hybrid work model.
Hybrid working will become the natural evolution of the workplace
In our recent Return to work report with over 1000+ global responses, 86% say they want flexible work options and 91% of respondents say their company is moving to do so.
As companies evaluate space requirements and move towards hybrid work models, many lack the tools to manage the process.
This shift will have significant impacts on the physical requirements of the workplace. In order to facilitate multiple workstyles, organisations will need to adopt tools such as occupancy or booking analytics to manage the complexities of space requirements.
88% expect more bookable desks and collaboration space
Step 1 - Define your guiding principles
Before making changes, it's important to first define your guiding principles. It may sound simple, but the first step in any workplace transformation project is to have a clearly defined vision of success, and to ensure that any changes made remain aligned.
Louis Lhoest of Veldhoen & Co, workplace expert and pioneer of Activity Based Working, refers to these as ‘Guiding Principles’. When speaking with Louis the importance of understanding the specific requirements of your own organisation was made evident. There can be no ‘one size fits all’ approach to hybrid working, as no two companies have identical priorities, needs and employees.
Therefore, the first step in successfully introducing and managing hybrid workplaces is to clearly map out what success means to your own organisation. Ask yourself:
What are the overall goals for changes?
How will changes benefit the business?
Will this form part of your sustainability objectives?
Will changes have a positive impact on talent retention and attraction?
What does success look like
Will changes take place in one go or phased over a period of time?
Step 2 - Gather employee sentiment
The purpose of hybrid environments is to enable employees to work how, where and when they choose. Therefore it is vital that before any changes are made to work policies or the physical workplace that it is understood what environment employees desire.
We recommend regularly surveying employees throughout the change programme to understand what is working or not working. This allows the business to measure the success of changes as well as:
Demonstrate to employees that their feedback is incorporated into changes
Employees highly likely to accept changes
They feel valued and want to go into the office
Increases retention rates and creates an environment for employees to remain in
Step 3 - Providing the correct spaces
As employees divide their time between home and the office, organisations will have to move away from traditional 1:1 desk allocation in order to minimise unused space, which represents a sunk cost in terms of real estate spend.
Additionally, employees will engage more purposefully with office space, choosing to commute when they feel that the office provides a more suitable environment for the task at hand; such as collaborating on projects as a team.
As such, Facilities and HR teams need to ensure that they are finding the appropriate balance of workplace assets to enable employees to work effectively.
Introducing occupancy solutions and leveraging utilisation data is central to these processes. Monitoring how assets are used throughout the week enables teams to identify which areas should be repurposed, and which assets are most highly in demand.
Step 4 - Enabling employee flexibility
Providing the correct workspace assets is only half the battle. For hybrid environments to be successful, employees need to be able to quickly and easily navigate and access the spaces they require.
Introducing booking software removes the risk of employees venturing into the workplace only to find the space they need is unavailable.
These solutions enable teams to ensure that safety measures introduced as a result of COVD19 are followed as assets can quickly be removed from the centralised system.
95% of the time meeting rooms are fully booked but 38% no shows
Historically booking systems have caused problems of their own as mass reservations are made and assets block booked for months to come, only for them to then sit empty on the day.
As more companies move to hybrid work models a similar challenge with desk booking will arise. However, having a booking system which is directly linked to utilisation software removes this challenge, as unhonoured reservations can be automatically re-released so other employees can book it.
This is going to be critical for a smooth running of the office and allows Facilities teams to manage space capacity more efficiently.
The data provided by both occupancy and booking software also plays a central role in the fine tuning of hybrid environments, as evidence based, incremental changes can be made to both workplace polices and design as time progresses.
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Download the report for key insights on how organisations are preparing for new ways of working, implications for real estate and workplace strategies and how companies are managing space requirements and employee needs.