Future Ways of Hybrid Working

Remote work is here to stay, but that does not mean office life is dead yet. 

In less than a year, remote working has become the new normal. This once slightly stigmatized way of working has indeed been embraced by many employers and companies around the world, albeit with the added hiccups that come along with it. As the majority of us remain working from home, it’s becoming clearer and clearer that businesses are still unsure of how they will continue to work in the future.

Because of the pandemic, new working realities have sprung upon us, presenting the perfect opportunity for organizations, companies and employers to recalibrate and think about their next steps. To gain more insights into how and where people would like to work when the pandemic is over, we at BuzziSpace surveyed over 900 industry professionals and employees during our BuzziAcademy: Future Ways of Hybrid Working webinar series, held in November of 2020.

According to our research, few employees want to return full-time, with 73 per cent wanting to spend 40 per cent or less time in the office. For those that do want to return to the office, the main reasons are so they can hold face-to-face meetings and in-person collaborations, in addition to breaking social isolation.

However, for many corporations, the future still looks unclear. From the aforementioned study, we see that 52 per cent of companies have not yet decided how they will work in the future; 26 per cent believe a combination of office and remote work will be the future of working; and 18 per cent feel no matter what they will need to return to the office full-time. But going back to the office doesn’t have to be an unpleasant experience. Drawing on data from our survey, office space solutions experts at BuzziSpace have envisioned four potential hybrid ways of working that we could start to see in the workplace and how to cater to them.

The Future-Proof Office

For companies that need their workforce to return full time to the office, or even for part of the working week, future-proofing the workspace is the way to go. However, the last thing they should do is welcome employees back to a cold and sterile office filled with signs. To create a warm and welcoming environment for interaction and collaboration to occur, introduce sustainable solutions that not only comply with the current physical distancing protocols but will additionally retain their design value and health benefits for years to come.

The Transitional Office

There are several options embedded in this model. For example, if a large percentage of a workforce will continue to work from home, this will open a lot of space in the current office to either be used for hot-desking or to rent out to smaller businesses. Similar to the Future-Proof Office, it is important to form boundaries within the Transitional Office without being intrusive. Play around with exciting and bold design elements, such as biophilia, to create luscious micro-environments. Desk partitions and office dividers with built-in acoustic solutions ensure employees have both personal space and a collaborative atmosphere but with excessive noise and disruptive sounds under control.

The Trophy Office

The Trophy Office places employees at the forefront and makes them feel heard and respected. For companies that will continue to allow the majority of their workforce to continue working remotely, the Trophy Office should be a place where employees want to visit to reconnect with one another, receive mentoring, or find inspiration away from home.

There are no boundaries when it comes to conceptualizing the ideal Trophy Office. To create an aspirational setting, incorporate “resimercial” products: a mix of residential elements with commercial features around the space. Or rotate fun, colourful furniture every few months. Most important, make sure there is enough light, for example adding an acoustic lighting solution will ensure there is enough light that also mitigates noise.

The Destination Office

The purpose of this model is to move a workspace closer to where the employees and clients live and away from the city centres, which could mean reaching into the suburbs. One immediate upside is a general reduction in commuting time, which obviously very few people would miss.

One idea could be setting up shop in a former retail or hotel space – which would help with their current struggling economies – or utilizing more unique options such as an old greenhouse. Although these spaces may be smaller, you can still keep the company ethos intact by adding appropriate solutions that remain true to their aesthetics and brand.

With hybrid office environments here to stay, our solutions are geared to a spirit of working from anywhere. In order to create a customized happy and healthy workspace, it is imperative to take a variety of factors into account such as the market, business structure, the company’s ethos and aesthetics, as well as the personalities of staff members and company culture. But above all remember, the future of professional life cannot be defined by one simple all-in-one solution, as there is no single ideal workspace of the future.

Steve Symons is the founder and CEO of BuzziSpace. Through his “Expect the Unexpected” design philosophy, Steve has steered BuzziSpace into becoming an internationally recognized and award-winning acoustics leader.

Today, Steve continues to be the driving force behind new designs and colours, bringing an element of surprise into the market on every occasion.