Designing a Hybrid Office: What You Need to Know
It’s the question on the mind of some of America’s biggest companies: what do I do with my office? With over two years of working remotely, the majority of office workers have grown comfortable in their home office setups, and young workers are particularly resistant against a complete return to the office. Yet despite the turn towards remote work, many employees have suggested that they are comfortable with, or even would prefer, a turn towards hybrid work. What do companies need to consider when designing a hybrid office?
While some companies may make a permanent shift towards fully remote or fully in-person work, there are a vast number of benefits to building out a hybrid office. In this blog, we explore the benefits and possibilities inherent in a hybrid office build-out.
Why Design a Hybrid Office?
What does the office space do? It’s a broad question, but is the best place to start when you’re thinking about the future of your workplace. When people work in offices full time, they are able to congregate in a single location. One of the first things that companies lamented at the beginning of the pandemic was this loss of company culture. For the most part, productivity remained unaffected, or in some cases even improved.
When you’re bringing employees back into an office space, it is best to start with what doing this offers. An office is expensive to rent, but allows greater transparency into how people work and lets teams collaborate in real time.
A hybrid office is an attractive option for workers. It gives workers the flexibility to spend part of their time working from home, while being able to collaborate with their peers in an office. This freedom can drive talent away from your competitors and towards your business. Hybrid working resolves the problem of people not feeling connected with their company while giving workers the freedom to spend less time commuting and away from their loved ones.
A hybrid office build-out needs to address all of these questions. It calls for a radical shift in office design.
Elements to Incorporate in a Hybrid Office Build-Out
Open Office Design
Even before the pandemic, there was a strong push towards the open office layout. Without the walled off design of cubicles, offices become more relaxed, and communication between team members becomes more open.
In the hybrid office, open design is still important – but in this case, it should remain open so that workers have more area to roam. Hybrid offices mean that your entire workforce doesn’t have to come in all at the same time, so assigned seating is no longer a requirement.
Areas for Collaboration
The conference room has always been an essential component of the office space. In the hybrid office, areas designed for this kind of collaboration should take top priority. Without having to visit the office every day, a visit should be intended for what can’t be done at home: connecting with other teammates.
Collaboration space doesn’t have to just be a room with a table, but it should include whiteboards or other tools to help members present ideas in real time.
For some members of your team, returning to the office in a hybrid format may be a tough sell. A break area with open seating can be a critical addition to your hybrid office.
It also builds upon a critical aspect that was lost in the pandemic: building culture and community. Some of the most important work interactions don’t happen in team meetings or presentations, but in the small talk between those things. These conversations can open doors for employees and keep them happier and more engaged with their work.
Designing Your Hybrid Office Build Out
While many of us have been working remote for the past two years, everything that we are doing still remains exceedingly new. A hybrid office build out can serve as more than just a compromise between what you want and what your employees want – it can be an opportunity to change your organization for the better.
At Buildout Pros, we have the tools and expertise you need to implement the best office buildout possible. Ready to learn more? Contact us and find out what makes us different.