By Bond Collective Staff
Though it may be a brand-new concept for your business, the hybrid office has been around for quite a while. Now, however, the hybrid model is rapidly becoming the go-to setup for businesses of all types and sizes.
In this article, we’ll discuss the hybrid office in detail and offer tips for creating your own hybrid model from scratch.
Hybrid Office Defined
This focus on equality of resources no matter where the employee works lies in sharp contrast to the more traditional work model that focuses almost exclusively on supporting the in-office workforce and marginalizes those employees working virtually.
The hybrid work model also differs from the traditional model in three other fundamental ways:
Remote employees versus in-office employees working at any one time is not static and will shift from hour to hour, day to day, and week to week
Team members don’t necessarily have to schedule where they work in advance
The number of in-office workers doesn’t always exceed the number of virtual workers
This transition away from the common concept of one employee, one assigned desk toward a more fluid and flexible workplace serves as the foundation of it all and demands that businesses change the way they think about their offices and how their teams work.
We’ll discuss a number of important variables that go into making this new paradigm work successfully later on in this article.
But first, we’ll investigate the theory behind the hybrid office and how it provides a unique flexibility that can change the way your business works.
The Theory Behind The Hybrid Office
As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, the hybrid office — a model that supports remote workers and in-office workers to the same degree — has been around for a long time.
The theory, though, has undergone a radical shift in recent years thanks, in large part, to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, the hybrid concept embodies and represents the dual ideas of flexibility and adjustability, which extend into both the physical workplace itself and into the way the business reacts to and operates in light of external conditions.
In the physical sense, modern hybrid theory focuses less on individual workstations and more on collaboration spaces where both in-office and remote employees can gather and work together.
In the operational sense, modern hybrid theory provides options that are more adjustable to the overall needs of the business and allows them to customize how and where employees work at a moment’s notice.
Your business, operating under this new paradigm, might implement practices that can change from minute to minute, day to day, and week to week to accommodate the needs of the employees, the needs of the business, and the external conditions that affect them both.
For example, your business may set up a multi-stage plan that can adjust at a moment’s notice to change where and how team members work. That plan may look something like this:
Stage 1: Closed
Stage 2: Mandatory work from home
Stage 3: Work from home strongly encouraged
Stage 4: Soft open
Stage 5: Open with restrictions
Stage 6: All open and employees on-site
ranted, your business may not need to go as deep into the hybrid theory and philosophy as this example, but implementing the physical aspects — a flexible workspace that facilitates in-person and remote collaboration — is certainly worth considering.
Tips For The Perfect Hybrid Office
1) Focus On Technology
Technology is the power that drives the hybrid office because remote work all but demands the internet and cloud-based apps.
The transition from on-site data storage and processing to cloud-based storage and processing means that teams can access data and work together in real time, no matter where each employee is physically located.
As long as both individuals have a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer and can access the internet, they can communicate and collaborate on individual and team projects.
For the most part, that will involve two distinct sets of tools:
At first glance, these may seem like similar things, but they are actually different enough that they occupy their own category.
Video conferencing apps such as Google Meet, GoToMeeting, Zoom, and Skype allow anyone with an internet connection to meet, talk, and work together regardless of where they’re located.
On the other hand, collaboration tools such as Slack, Trello, and Google Workspace are about organizing your workflow, communicating in real time, tracking changes in documents and spreadsheets, and minimizing the confusion of multiple team members working on the same task from different locations.
For example, two team members — one in California and the other in New York — could be Skyping (talking “face-to-face”) while working together to edit a shared spreadsheet in Google Workspace.
This highlights the difference between (and the importance of) the two distinct technologies for the success of your hybrid office.
2) Offer Hot Desking
The traditional office model revolves around the concept of one employee, one desk. When an employee starts work at your business, you assign them a space of their own, and they report there every day.
The hybrid office is completely different because some team members may only report in person two or three times a week, while others may always work remotely. If you assigned desks to these team members, you’d end up with a lot of unused space.
That’s where hot desking comes in. In hot desking, team members occupy workspaces on a first-come, first-served basis.
Desks, tables, and chairs have no permanent “owner,” and employees use whatever is available that fits their needs when they arrive.
This seating model does require that your business also implements some sort of tracking system (be it manual or digital) to keep track of used and unused desks. Such check-in and check-out software is relatively inexpensive and easy to incorporate into your workflow.
3) Experiment With Hoteling
Hoteling is similar to hot desking but different in one key aspect: workspaces are reserved ahead of time — typically for longer durations of several days, a week, or a month.
If a remote team member knows they will be in town for a week and would like the security and consistency of the same desk day after day, hoteling is the perfect solution.
Like hot desking, hoteling only works if you pair it with a reservation and tracking system that is easy to use and accessible to all anytime, day or night.
4) Create Person-To-Person Spaces
What has changed is the addition of person-to-person spaces where in-office team members can talk privately with their remote colleagues.
These one-on-one spaces may be as small as a telephone booth with nothing more than a chair and a table, or as large as a restaurant booth with bench seats and a table in-between.
Regardless of the size, person-to-person spaces are completely enclosed and are soundproof so that team members can conduct confidential meetings in private.
The Hybrid Office Done For You
Building a hybrid office from the ground up out of your existing workspace can be difficult, expensive, time-consuming, and stressful for those involved.
But when you partner with Bond Collective, we remove the difficulty, reduce the expense, shorten the process dramatically, and eliminate the stress.
How? By leveraging our vast experience and existing flexible workspaces all over the United States for the betterment of your team and your company.
For years, we’ve provided the business world with coworking spaces (the precursor of the hybrid workplace) for individuals, teams, and entire businesses.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a team of one or 100, you’ll enjoy all that we have to offer, including industry-leading amenities such as:
Conference rooms for two or 20+
Private meeting and phone booths
Guest reception and greeting
Unlimited black-and-white printing
Fast, reliable WiFi
Mail and package handling
Nightly office cleaning
Fresh fruit, snacks, and weekly breakfast
Complimentary spa water, craft beer, and coffee
Visit any one of our many locations in the United States, including workspaces in NYC, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Chicago, and Austin. Or call us today to find out more.
And while you’re at it, schedule a tour to experience first-hand how the boutique work environments at Bond Collective can benefit your business.