Hybrid Work

Posted on August 10, 2022

Despite what most people think, hybrid work means more than just trading in your suits and ties for pajamas and fluffy slippers. It is a new work model that emerged after the pandemic to empower employees to work where and when they feel most productive. While change is always a little scary, hybrid work is not something to be feared; it actually has the potential to dramatically improve the well being of the workforce. However, as with any foreign concept, there is a definite learning curve to making the hybrid work model work effectively for both your employees and your business. So here is everything you need to know.

The numbers.

herman miller stats
Photo: Herman Miller

According to Herman Miller statistics, 76% of knowledge workers want flexibility in where they work. Furthermore, a staggering 93% of knowledge workers want flexibility in when they work. These numbers indicate a clear desire to deviate from the traditional 9 to 5 in-office work model. However, when we couple those statistics with statistics from Ergonomic Trends, we see the value of maintaining a physical office space. Their reports show that “89% of coworking users report that they are happier since joining [an office] space, while 83% said that they feel less lonely.” In other words, going into the office is a great way to combat the social isolation of remote work and boost employees’ overall job satisfaction. Therefore, the best solution is one that blends in-office and remote work. 

The office as it should be. 

The numbers are not the only sign that hybrid work is here to stay. Experts like Ryan Anderson, VP of Research and Insights at MillerKnoll, assert that the hybrid work model is a great opportunity to “design the office the way it was intended to be designed.” In a MillerKnoll conference on the Future of Work, Anderson explained how many companies claim to want a work environment that supports collaboration and innovation but then fail to design their workplaces in a conducive way. Instead, they cram their offices with a sea of workstations. 

With hybrid offices not operating at maximum occupancy, there is no need for a surplus of workstations. Alternatively, employers can incorporate communal areas, lounge settings, collaborative spaces, private offices, and neighborhoods into the workplace. Andersons puts it best when he says, “the workplace is becoming what the employees want it to be.”

Photo: Herman Miller

Designing the optimal hybrid office

Naturally, a new work model necessitates a new workplace design. Hybrid work requires different things than a typical office. So how do you design a workplace the way "employees want it to be?" Here a couple of key factors to consider:

Photo: Herman Miller
  • Ergonomic furniture- One luxury that is not always available at home is high-performance seating and ergonomic desks. Thus, ensuring that every workstation in the office is equipped with ergonomic furnishings and tools will attract more employees into the office. 
  • Variety of work settings- When working from home, employees get to choose which work setting functions best for them: from the couch, at a desk, standing in the kitchen, etc. That is why it is important to offer employees the same freedom of choice in the workplace. The more types of work settings that are available, the more likely an employee is to find an optimal workspace. 
  • Hoteling stations- The alternative to having a sea of permanent workstations is having a handful of hoteling stations–– workstations designed for temporary use. Hoteling stations often feature just a desk, a chair, and technology hookups. Companies can also implement a hoteling management system where employees can reserve workstations ahead of time. 

For many companies, the primary obstacle to creating a productive work environment is the bottom line. However, reports show that “93% of workers in the tech industry said they would stay longer at a company who would offer healthier workplace benefits, with options ranging from wellness rooms, company fitness benefits, sit-stands, healthy lunch options and ergonomic seating.” This means that investing in office perks and amenities can help you attract and retain employees as well as  increase their job satisfaction, giving you an immediate return on investment. 

Also read: NeoCon 2022–Bringing Home Into The Office

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