As the world shut down in 2020, companies were forced to experiment with new ways of working together. For some, that meant working remotely, and for others, it meant having to close their offices indefinitely.
Now, as the national population becomes vaccinated and offices open back up, companies are continuing to re-evaluate their policies, adapting their work environments for a post-pandemic normal. That’s precisely why hybrid office spaces are currently in high demand— they provide the flexibility that many companies need right now.
What exactly is a hybrid office, and what are its benefits? Why are they becoming so popular with different types of businesses? We’ll explore the answers to these questions and more in this article today.
A hybrid office is a type of office that accommodates both remote workers and office workers. Hybrid offices are ideal for startups with flexibility requirements, for tech companies that predominantly work remotely, or for growing businesses that want to offer a variety of options for their employees. Because it can cater to remote workers (and telework is now becoming a perk for employees), the coronavirus’s impact on the workplace greatly accelerated the demand for hybrid office spaces.
Also worth noting that hybrid offices may be called flex office spaces or flex spaces. Usually, this refers to a mix of both traditional office space and industrial spaces, like garages or warehouses converted to accommodate multiple work styles.
Hybrid offices offer high potential for greater productivity, due to the flexibility and customization options available. In fact, according to one study about the Future Of Work, a majority of companies believe that the productivity gains from remote working will be sustainable beyond the pandemic. In other words, remote working isn’t going anywhere. Instead of solely relying on remote work, or forcing employees to come into the office against their will, hybrid offices allow more flexible work hours, cut down on commuting, and reduce overhead costs.
Because employees are given the option of when and where they work through hybrid offices, employers will also notice employee attrition decrease as engagement increases. With more time spent with families or doing things outside of the workplace, people can invest their time and money beyond commuting or eating out as well. Overall, that translates to a more pleasant work-life balance. It’s no small wonder that companies are continuing to update employee guidelines when it comes to the workplace.
As our use of technology and office spaces naturally evolves, so too will the design of the spaces themselves. While large private office spaces and cubicles may have been the standard twenty to thirty years ago, today, particularly in a post-pandemic world, the office is changing to be more flexible, while amenities become on-demand.
For example, the conference room used to be a staple for every business with an office. Today, companies are realizing that they only need the conference room on an as-needed basis, so instead of paying for it every month, they are more comfortable paying for it by the hour.
Similarly, phone booths and private offices are offering the same level of privacy and utility that conference rooms once provided. Need to jump on a quick virtual conference? Simply hop in a phone booth. It’s more cost-effective, convenient, and sustainable in the long run.
In the future, hybrid offices may act as a social and cultural space— a place for meeting and holding events, rather than a 9-5 setting for all employees.
In addition to the design, hybrid offices are also showcasing the future of furniture and the need for customizable arrangements. It turns out that for most office spaces with short and long-term leases, only a certain amount of furniture is required- desks, whiteboards, chairs. The rest can be added as needed by the tenants that come and go. The goal is to maximize the office layout space, minimize office noise and distractions, and keep workers focused on the tasks at hand.
One essential piece of hybrid office furniture to consider is the standing desk. Many computer users are reporting severe neck, spinal, and wrist pain after prolonged sitting. Standing desks allow users to continue working while they stand, allowing your body to stretch the muscles that tend to naturally atrophy when we’re hunched over low screens. These days you can find standing desks almost anywhere, but UPLIFT offers some high-end, feature-rich options.
Sustainability is also at the forefront for many designers and workers, now more than ever. Energy-efficient buildings and furniture are designed to minimize power usage without sacrificing output and tend to use sustainably sourced materials for construction. Learn more about the impact of energy-efficient buildings at the Department of Energy.
Now the question that may be on your mind: which type of office space is right for you? Between hybrid offices, coworking spaces, and private offices, which one is ideal for a startup or growing business?
As we’ve discussed, hybrid offices are designed for flexibility, for both remote and local teams. They can be found at affordable prices for simply needing a common office space each month, through an on-demand, hot-desking model.
The most affordable option for solopreneurs or startups, coworking spaces are shared lounges or offices that offer access to the local entrepreneurial community and freedom to choose where and when you work, but sacrifice the privacy of dedicated space.
Great solutions for scaling businesses or enterprises, with dedicated space that can be personalized to the needs of your specific organization. If you want to show brand power through your office space, a private office or even an office suite is best.
The best option really depends on the needs and wants of your particular business. If your company, like many others during this time, are looking for something flexible that caters to both remote and in-person office workers, then you can’t do much better than the hybrid office solution.