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Mar 27, 2024 Truspace

More Than a Trend: Elevating Business Outcomes in the Hybrid Era Through Strategic Workplace Design

The remote high tide might be on its way out, but that doesn't mean companies are rushing back to 100% in-office policies. A revealing survey by CHHR indicates that nearly half (48%) of companies are currently hybrid, and a substantial 80% of those companies feel it's unlikely they'll ever return to an office-centric model.

As new information is gathered post-pandemic, the benefits and payoffs of hybrid workplaces are becoming apparent—and so are the challenges. Now, more than ever, it's imperative to craft a dynamic workplace environment and ecosystem that energizes employees and enriches company culture, paving the way for both personal and collective achievements.

At the heart of the hybrid shift is a spirit of innovation and adaptability—and workplace design must rapidly respond to keep up. With the right principles and people guiding change in your workplace, you can take your evolution one step further and lead your company toward a future marked by enhanced engagement, productivity, collaboration, and overall growth. 

The Role of Workplace Design in the Hybrid Work Landscape

According to recent data, around 30% of employees report achieving more work per hour from remote locations, while about 10% feel they accomplish less. This disparity points to two vital components of hybrid workplace design: flexibility and connectivity. In a hybrid workplace, whether employees are at home or in the office, they will thrive when their work experience feels seamless. A workplace that accommodates individual needs while promoting both deep work in solitude and lighter social interaction in shared spaces is vital. 

Most hybrid workplaces expect or require employees to be in the office three days each week, so the layout, furniture, and strategy behind workplace design must consider a fluid workforce. To bridge the gap between remote employees and constantly in-flux in-office employees, companies can foster an environment where all team members feel connected and engaged, regardless of their physical location. Strategically using modular furniture, integrating technology, and encouraging dynamic spatial use can boost employees' sense of freedom, belonging, and motivation. 

The third annual EY Future Workplace Index respondents confirmed that optimizing office space use, improving company culture, and enhancing collaboration were key motivators for encouraging their employees to return to the office post-pandemic. 

Strategies for Implementing Strategic Workplace Design

Hybrid workplace design can reduce obstacles to productivity, support a company's operational objectives, and nourish a company's culture and values. When these occur, the inevitable result is improved KPIs and a welcome impact on the company's bottom line. Simply put, when your employees are in an environment that reinforces that they're cared for and valued, and their contributions matter, they are more eager to ensure the success of their company. 

From serene quiet zones for deep focus to vibrant collaborative hubs that foster teamwork, hybrid workplace design must cover it all. According to the EY Future Workplace Index, the prevalent strategy among organizations involves a combination of assigned open workspaces and enclosed offices, chosen by 62% of respondents. However, more dynamic models like hoteling (reservation-based, unassigned seating) and hot-desking (no reservation, unassigned seating) are also in play, each adopted by 19% of those surveyed. 

Design solutions such as communal spaces, intuitive wayfinding, and areas dedicated to team-building play a key role in reflecting a company's commitment to its employees while acting as a physical manifestation of its values and principles that employees, clients, and partners get to experience in action. Adaptable spaces also support experimentation, learning, and innovation, signifying a shift away from traditional boardrooms to more dynamic settings like workshops and labs.

Considerations for Creating Hybrid Work Environments

Confidential Spaces

For most companies, there are positions within their staff that require some amount of in-person work. Many of these are roles where confidentiality is a legal requirement or where physical files or projects have to be maintained. In these cases, privacy concerns are paramount. A strategic hybrid workplace design should not only offer employees flexibility and autonomy, but safety and security. Spaces that support confidential work and conversations should be deliberately included. 

Communal Spaces

In contrast, communal spaces build company culture and facilitate informal interactions that drive innovation and foster the connections necessary for successful collaboration. Ensuring that common areas are not only available but inviting and desirable is key to their optimization. Consider the casual interests of your employees. Do games bring them together? Are chats over coffee more their style? 

Equity and Inclusivity

An equitable approach to hybrid office design is informed by the range of needs that remote and in-office employees have. Remote employees should be able to easily connect with in-office employees and be seamlessly included in in-office meetings, projects, and presentations. In-office employees should have access to amenities that create comfort and autonomy in the workplace.

The Role of Workplace Design Companies

Because creating hybrid workplaces is relatively new, companies often stumble when it comes to creating a big-picture vision and plan. In the EY Future Workplace Index, respondents identified that one of their most prominent challenges was understanding and creating the right kind of space for each employee. 

Design-build companies specializing in strategic workplace design and hybrid solutions expertly handle the individual nuances of employee needs alongside the broader brand and company vision. Their proven experience and future-focused motivation equip them to design spaces that serve your current workforce while positioning the workplace for ongoing growth. 

Truspace handles the complete spectrum of strategy, design, and construction to reduce inefficiencies, costs, and timeline headaches. We take into account how people work and interact, embracing flexibility, diversity, and sustainability to create spaces where everyone can thrive. Your new office will be more than just a place to work—it will be the heart of your business, designed with care for every individual who walks through its doors.

Our customized reimaging of your office layout is not just about aesthetics; it's about creating a functional, cohesive environment that aligns with your operational objectives, enhances your team's dynamic, and increases your hybrid workforce's connectivity, productivity, and collaboration. 

As of November 2023 about 20% of Canadians worked most of their hours from home in a given week. Instead of seeing employee-centered workplace design as a trend, companies on the cutting edge acknowledge that this shift is here to stay—bringing benefit to both employees and companies' bottom lines. Investing in workplace design is investing in your most valuable asset, inspiring a culture that stands the test of time. 

We’re here to help transform your space! Contact one of our consultants today to get started designing your hybrid workspace.

Published by Truspace March 27, 2024