Post the covid-19 pandemic, hybrid working has become a popular model of working supporting the needs of employees transitioning back into the workplace full time. However, it is likely to continue long after covid-19 meaning the traditional office must change into a hybrid working office.
The way employees use the office has massively changed. Working from home showed how, for solo tasks where concentration is required, it was a much more preferable option, but for problem-solving and innovative tasks, the office and the community at the office was greatly missed. As a result, post pandemic, the office took on a new role as a place to provide community, collaboration, sociability and innovation for employees.
How can we create a hybrid working office?
· Collaboration Spaces
· Meeting Rooms
· Focus Areas
· Acoustic Solutions
It is likely that your employees will want to use the office for collaboration purposes. Working on group projects, finding solutions to problems or getting input from team members will be popular ways that employees will want to use the office as the same results can’t be achieved from remote working.
It is important that hybrid office caters to the needs of collaboration through specifically designed areas that will be useful for a variety of tasks.
In the majority of businesses, meetings are very common and while we have all got used to online meetings over the past 18 months, it is more commonly preferred to hold meetings in person. The hybrid office needs to facilitate a variety of different meeting types – small, large, formal, informal, online attendees and so on.
Understanding your own meeting needs such as whether acoustic privacy is needed, whether visual privacy is needed, the size of the meetings, the length of the meetings, what additions are needed such as presentation facilitates or people being able to dial in to the meeting will all help to determine the variety of meeting spaces you will need from your hybrid working office.
While some employees may prefer to work for home in times where they need to focus, this doesn’t mean that focus areas in the hybrid working office are obsolete. Focus areas provide calming spaces that will be useful to employees for a number of reasons such as the ability to escape when everyone else is collaborating, to go to when peace is needed or to have private conversations.
Areas such as single telephone booths, dedicated quiet rooms or seating booths will help to create a quiet and calming space perfect for focus and concentration.
Creating a comfortable environment for your workforce is important. Many employees over the last 18 months have become used to working from their kitchen table, sofa, bedroom and so on and as a result of this have become used to working from comfortable spaces that suit the task they are doing.
Having a variety of different areas that range from the traditional types of workspaces to the more informal spaces will allow your employees to choose an area most suited to their task and needs.
Noise control in the hybrid office is very important. Over the last 10 years there has been a move towards a more cellular designed office space rather than completely open planned due to the noise ramifications. In a hybrid working office, noise can be a problem due to the amount of collaboration happening so considering acoustics is essential.
Acoustic baffles, wall panels, biophilic design and flooring are all ways that the acoustics in an office can be managed effectively creating a productive workspace.