Hybrid working & workplace efficiency

The rise of hybrid work models

In recent years, the office and the way we work has undergone a massive transformation. In today’s global economy -where employees are every organization’s most valuable asset- it is no longer enough to simply provide your employees with a desk, coffee and internet connection.

Your business success depends on how well you support your people. How do you make sure your office ticks all the boxes to accomplish your business goals? Whether you’re new to the concept of smart office technology or looking to maximize your returns, this guide provides you with everything you need to know to start transforming your office into one of your biggest drivers for your business’s growth.

Section 1

An introduction to hybrid working

What is hybrid working?

The hybrid working is a style of work that blends in-office time with work from home or remote locations. Hybrid work reflects the understanding that "your culture is not your office," says Deniz Caglar, partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers. "It's what you do as an organization, how you work together. What you do does not change because you're working virtually."

Why are hybrid work models on the rise?

A year after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies are finally starting to plan for life after quarantine. And one thing has become crystal clear. Remote work has changed everything.

Over the last year, workers have become accustomed to the freedom and flexibility of working remotely. Even after vaccination makes it possible for businesses to start planning for a safe return to the workplace, most workers now expect the freedom to choose where and when they work. And that means the traditional nine to five is rapidly becoming a thing of the past.

Section 2

Types of hybrid work models

Different ways of hybrid working

Hybrid work models exist along a spectrum. At one end are fully remote teams who rarely if ever meet in person. At the other are fully in-office teams in which remote work days are a rarity. The trick is to match your new hybrid work model to your company culture and the activities people need to complete to do their jobs. Because eventually, a great employee experience is key for the continuity of your business.

There are three ways to fill in a hybrid work model:

  • Remote-first
  • Split-week
  • Office-first

Let's take a look into these options.

Remote-first hybrid working

During the pandemic, many leading companies like Atlassian, Dropbox, Slack, and Shopify implemented permanent remote work arrangements. Remote-first companies offer fully remote workplaces, with employees spread across many different locations and communicating through online meetings and collaboration tools.

At remote-first companies, in-office days are at will. Employees can choose whether to come into the office based on what they need on any given day. This model gives employees flexibility for times when they need to meet a coworker or find a quiet space to get some focused work done.

Tip: Click on any management role to learn more about how smart offices help leaders in specific functions.

Split-week hybrid working

In 2020, many companies with existing hybrid work arrangements increasingly moved to a split-week model. In this model, certain days are designated as in-office days for meetings and collaborative work, while others are remote days when workers can do work requiring deep focus.

Organizations have a variety of options for structuring a split week model. Some teams may choose to give firm guidelines, for example scheduling Monday and Wednesday as in-office days. Others may offer more flexible arrangements, for example requiring employees to come into the office twice a week on days of their choice.

Office-first hybrid working

‍Prior to, the most common remote working arrangement was office-first. In this model, companies maintained the office as the primary workplace while allowing a limited amount of remote work.

Companies using this arrangement typically allow a small amount of remote work time — for example, an employee might work one day a week from home, while working in the office the rest of the week. Some companies also require most of their employees to work fully in-office, while allowing certain team members to be fully remote if certain requirements are met.

"It's no wonder that the best performing businesses give their people flexibility and autonomy."

- Sander Schutte, CEO Mapiq

Hybrid working and the employee experience

Whichever concept you choose, you need to make sure that your work model matches the purpose of your business and its way of working to succeed. You can also consider choosing a different concept for different teams. A remote-first concept might work perfectly well for business consultants that are usually out and about, while office-first is still the most effective way of working for IT- and operation teams.

Section 3

Benefits of a hybrid work model

Smart offices make office life more efficient, easier and empower employees to get the most out of their day. What tools and solutions does Mapiq offer to eliminate traditional office problems and transform them into a competitive advantage for your business?

Freedom

Hybrid work models offer employees more autonomy about when and where they want to work. While the traditional 9-to-5 model demands that workers organize the rest of their lives around time spent at work, the hybrid model gives employees freedom to decide how work should fit into their lives.

Examining employee attitudes toward remote work, a recent PWC study found that more than half wanted to continue working at least three days a week from home. And a recent Microsoft survey confirms this, finding that 73% of workers want to continue working from home after the pandemic, while 67% also want more in-person time with their coworkers. Hybrid working arrangements offer more collaboration and social interaction than fully remote work, while allowing more freedom and individual choice than traditional in-office arrangements.

Flexibility

More freedom means more flexibility. In a hybrid work model, employees can choose to do work when they're most productive, so early birds and night owls can both choose work schedules that work for them.

Employees also appreciate having the option to work from a location of their choosing. For example, some members of your team might work alone from a home office on tasks requiring deep focus. Others may prefer to work from coffee shops or co-working spaces. And parents might choose to work from the office to get in a few productive hours away from the kids.

Increased productivity

A hybrid work model refocuses the workplace culture on productivity, not just attendance. In a productivity-focused culture, employees have more discretion about how they spend their day and are judged based on outcomes. Supervisors can no longer consistently monitor employee behavior throughout the day, so they must hold employees accountable for consistently delivering results and meeting performance objectives.

Most employees prefer this arrangement. In a BCG survey of employees who went remote in 2020, 75% reported improved productivity with their individual tasks — but only about half reported that moving collaborative tasks online led to productivity gains.

Reduced costs

For many organizations, one of the most attractive features of the hybrid work models is cost savings. Research by Global Workplace Analytics found that on the average, employers stand to save $11,000 annually for every in-office employee who moves to a half-time remote work arrangement.

Many leading corporations are moving quickly to streamline their workplaces. Lloyds Banking Group reports plans to cut office space by 20 percent, while HSBC says it will shrink office space by 40 percent. And Chase CEO Jamie Dimon says that the organization plans to significantly reduce in-office capacity by as much as 40%.


Section 4

Challenges of hybrid working

Implementing a hybrid model isn't as simple as telling your team to start working from home. Hybrid work brings far-reaching changes to how work gets done, how office space is used, how you'll engage your team, and how you'll build your company culture.

1. Downsizing existing workplaces

Anita Williams Woolley, associate professor of organizational behavior at Carnegie Mellon University, urges companies to build workspaces around what workers need. "If anything I'd keep the conference room, maybe get rid of some of the cubicles that nobody likes anyway, and invest in private workspaces for the people that need to be in the office," Woolley suggests.

As organizations move to hybrid work models, it's critical to evaluate existing workspaces. Companies that consider downsizing will need to preserve meeting spaces that allow for team collaboration, as well as quiet areas for focused work.

2. Avoiding inequalities in the workplace

Remote and hybrid work arrangements aren't equally beloved by all. Disparities in employees' living situations can have a drastic impact on how successful they can be while working remotely. Some employees struggle to balance work with the day-in-day-out demands of parenting. Others share cramped living spaces with multiple housemates or battle family members and housemates over spotty internet connections.

To make things more challenging, your team members' ability to focus while working at home can fluctuate by the day, impacted by daycare schedules, the presence of partners and housemates, and many other factors.

That's why it's more important than ever to offer flexibility to help your team perform at its best. Remote-first company Buffer offers employees a stipend to help them set up a home office space. And they offer reimbursements for co-working memberships and coffee shop purchases to ensure employees have a variety of working options.

3. Maintaining a strong company culture

When organizations adopt hybrid work models, company leaders must be intentional about preserving strong organizational norms. Without deliberate steps to maintain a strong company culture, the shared experiences, camaraderie, and friendship that sustain a high-performing team can quickly erode.

"Business leaders can't count on purpose or meaning or innovation to arise organically within a distributed work environment," notes Paul McDonald, senior executive at Robert Half. "It's hard enough to make that happen when everyone is in the same place. Clearly communicating the vision for what's next as the company formally transitions to a hybrid model will be important."


Ready to create a great place to work where your employees feel autonomous, aligned and productive? Our smart office tools will make hybrid working work.

4. Boosting relationships

Maintaining social connections in the workplace is one of the top challenges reported by remote workers. When workers spend most of their days alone focused on individual projects, punctuated by the occasional video call, it's easy to quickly feel a sense of isolation.

Hybrid work arrangements can help restore the social connections that make work meaningful. And with these connections come serious productivity gains. According to a BCG study, employees who were satisfied with their social connectivity at work were 2.5 times more likely to say their productivity was at least as high or higher than before the COVID-19 pandemic.


Section 5

How to implement a hybrid work model

Implementing a hybrid work model requires an all-round approach: from defining different groups to providing guidelines in how to use the office. However, introducing a new work model without involving employees will be a tough job. But no worries, let's take a look at some best practices for implementing hybrid work at your organization.

Give employees a voice

To build a great workplace strategy, you need to focus on what's most important: your team. Take the time to find out what's most important to them. How have they experienced the last year at work? What do they like about your current working arrangements? What would they like to change? Getting clear, honest feedback will empower you to build a workplace your employees will love.

Analyze working patterns

Gathering feedback from your team is critical, but you'll also want to look at behavioral data. Look at how people on your team work, both in and out of the office. Workplace analytics can help you pinpoint the busiest times of the day and the most used facilities, so you can create a workplace ideally suited to your team's needs.

Make facilities bookable

Start sharing facilities. It's efficient, flexible and gives employees freedom of choice. Providing smart office tools makes it easy for workers to reserve desks and book meeting rooms -- so your team can make the most of their day at the office.

Bring people together

Help your team stay connected by giving them insights in who's going to be at the office when, and where. Smart office tools enable teams to book a workspace together or locate colleagues within big buildings. This makes coming to the office a lot more fun and effective.

Adapt your workplace

Once you've discovered what your team needs, it's time to modify your workplace to match. Consider a different ratio of meeting rooms versus workplaces, an increase of social areas and huddle rooms and improved catering. Keep in mind that although most employees now primarily come in for social activities, some will still need focus rooms and silent phone booths.


Your newly adapted workplace might not directly hit the spot with your employees and their new way of working. Therefore, it's important to analyze how employees use your workplace and evaluate your strategy.


Evaluate your workplace strategy

Luckily, we won't get lost in the dark in 2021 anymore. Now that you've design a new hybrid work model and changed your office, smart office technology can help you understand how employees work. This empowers you to continuously improve your hybrid workplace strategy.


Section 6

Hybrid working and efficiency

Making your office smart is an easy way to realize business growth. By offering flexibility and a personalized experience, your employees will become the best version of themselves. On the other hand, you'll need less space and facilities which means your operation costs will decrease. Or well said, you'll get more out of less square meters.

Get in touch with us today to learn more about how your organization can benefit from our smart office solutions. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive the latest trends in the future of work right in your inbox.

Section 7

Smart office tools for hybrid working

Implementing a hybrid work model won't just change how your team gets things done — it will transform your workplace. So it’s no surprise that most executives are planning major new investments in technology infrastructure to make the new hybrid model a reality.

Scheduling in-office days, helping employees coordinate shifts, and managing visitors all become easier with the right smart office platform. Let’s look at how.

Desk booking

Desk booking tools make it easy for your team to plan days in the office. Mapiq empowers your team to reserve a desk within their floor or area, so they have full flexibility without displaying possessive behavior over a preferred workspace.

Room booking

With room booking, your team can easily see which meeting spaces are available in real time — so they can quickly grab a meeting room to discuss ideas or plan a project at a moment's notice.

Social connector

Help your team make the most of their in-office days. With social connector, your team can see who's coming to the office when — and avoid the frustration of being the only one in the office.

Office capacity calculator

Help your team make the most of their in-office days. With social connector, your team can see who's coming to the office when — and avoid the frustration of being the only one in the office.

Workplace analytics dashboard

By drawing on workplace data, you can transform your workspace to improve productivity. Use analytics to stay on top of the areas employees use most often, respond to changing needs, and build a workspace that helps your team work at their best.

Section 8

How industry leaders are moving to hybrid work

Hybrid work models are as diverse as the companies that implement them. Here are some of the industry leaders that are paving the way to the hybrid future.

Spotify: More Flexible Work Options

Spotify overhauled its office space to offer more flexible working options to team members. According to Sonya Simmons, head of workplace design, the goal was to create more “collaboration areas and focus areas — including quiet rooms — where more heads-down, noise and distraction-free work can be conducted, [as well as] adding more phone booths, designed for one or two people to hop in [and] out of for a quick call or huddle.”

Kissflow: A Split-Month Hybrid Model

Kissflow, a provider of digital workplace services, pioneered a flexible work model called REMOTE+ inspired by the split-week model. At Kissflow, employees spend three weeks out of every month working from anywhere, and one week working out of the office. Kissflow covers the cost of accommodation during the in-office week. The rest of the month, employees are encouraged to work from home.

IBM: Supporting The Needs of Families

Recognizing the needs of remote employees balancing work and family commitments, IBM created its Work from Home Pledge. IBM CEO Arvind Krishna pledged to support employees in meeting personal needs while working remotely, for example by allowing flexibility to meet personal obligations during the day, not requiring employees to be on camera during remote meetings, and shifting to shorter video calls to prevent video call fatigue.

Other companies have followed IBM’s lead. For example, the Broad Institute, a partnership of Harvard and MIT that focuses on using genomics to treat human disease, offers subsidized daycare along with an in-house child care center to offer parents a variety of options to help balance family obligations while working from home.

HSBC and Lloyds: Transforming the Office

Leading financial institutions HSBC and Lloyds are planning for the hybrid future by reimagining their workspaces for greater flexibility and collaboration. At HSBC, executive office space is being repurposed to allow for more flexible desk and collaboration spaces. Lloyds is following suit, converting extra space in its branches into communal work areas and flexible desks, complete with booking apps employees can use to reserve.

Conclusion


Hybrid work brings new challenges, but companies that leverage smart office technology can take advantage of unprecedented opportunities: raising employee satisfaction to new heights, unlocking unprecedented productivity, and slashing real estate costs.

Hybrid working models offer employees what they want most: the freedom to work how, where, and when they want. Today's smart office technologies empower people to choose how they do their best work. And that means everyone on your team can make the choices that are right for them.

Some may thrive being in the office most days. Others may prefer to spend more time working remotely. Parents may prefer to spend more time out of office around school holidays. But with smart office technology, your entire team will be smarter, happier — and more likely to stay with you.



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