The hybrid office - Make success your "New Normal"

27/09/21< Back to news index

While it shocked the world, COVID-19 has shown business owners that their staff can work equally well from home and still produce great results. This increase in trust is a potential game changer for managers and staff alike but it has huge implications for office space - how do you encourage collaboration and also provide the peace and focus that home working gives?

As we progress towards the 'new normal'; a model of working where staff split their time between working from home and coming to the office, there are a number of changes you can make to your office space to give it equal appeal to your staff's homes.

First, make the space itself as pleasing as possible. Natural lighting, efficient ventilation, access to outdoor spaces, and biophilic features are now more important than ever for physical and mental health. Creative design, with natural materials and intelligent use of colour, can be incorporated effectively. Also, check your office temperature; research has shown that many offices are much colder than recommended. One inexpensive necessity is modular furniture, which can be adjusted easily to fit workers and their tasks. We all work best when we feel "at home"; comfortable, and in control of how we do our job.

Secondly, the spaces need to be flexible. Hybrid office layout is adaptable, with movable room dividers and booths for more focussed work. Social collaboration will be the main reason to come to the office, so this needs to be the focus of the spaces you provide. However, it is still critical to separate busy, noisy, tasks from those which require concentration or privacy and to ensure that staff who need to focus on their work without disturbance can do so comfortably.

Open-plan desking was popular before the pandemic and can still be used but you will need to make sure that sufficient room is available to increase space between workers. Or you can use hoteling, where workers reserve a specific workspace in advance. We still need to observe COVID-related personal hygiene, and these workspaces must be cleaned thoroughly between uses. As people will be using different workstations, storage spaces should be provided so everyone can keep their personal items safe and move them as necessary. This also facilitates cleaning.

Hybrid ways of working between home and the office are likely here to stay. Based on our experience at the cutting edge of modern office design, we are uniquely placed to advise you on the best course of action to achieve this new work environment for your staff. Let's have a chat!