A hybrid working future and the role of office ‘hubs’
A quick Google images search for ‘1990s office’ will either produce a lovely dose of workplace nostalgia or a shock to the system – depending on how old you are.
What you’ll see are rows and rows of bulky computers (no flat monitors or laptops in those days, kids) and a grid-style ‘booth’ layout where workers had their own space, sectioned off by wooden screens often clad in carpet.
Hardly the kind of environment the collaborative, forward-thinking businesses of today would thrive in.
And hardly the kind of environment that would be conducive to a post-Covid, hybrid working model…
What is hybrid working?
Hybrid working is a flexible working model where employers allow employees to split their time between a workplace and working remotely.
Remote working usually means working from home but can also see employees working from anywhere where they’re able to effectively complete their work and communicate with their employer and colleagues.
What is a hybrid work schedule?
An exact schedule of hybrid work for employees may vary depending on the needs of the business.
However, most businesses setting up a hybrid working schedule will either:
- Have a split team, where there are full-time remote workers and full-time in-office workers
- Have a shift schedule, where all employees work a certain number of days remotely and a certain number in the office
- Have a flexible schedule, where employees can choose how and where they wish to work on a week-by-week, or even day-by-day process
Is hybrid working here to stay?
The pandemic made hybrid working a necessity for many businesses, rather than a choice.
But having seen the benefits that come with a hybrid working model, hybrid working is definitely here to stay for many of those companies.
In fact, it’s estimated that two in five businesses will have adopted a hybrid working model by 2023, with only 30% of businesses surveyed expecting their employees to return to the office full-time.
How serviced offices can help make hybrid working a success
With hybrid working being adopted by more and more UK businesses, the role of the office is changing – or will need to change as flexible working schedules become the norm.
Many companies’ existing office spaces are set up for full-time office work, with rows of desks that are more in tune with ‘presenteeism’ than actual productivity.
Because serviced offices and workspaces are designed with collaboration and flexibility in mind, they’ll have a crucial role to play as companies evolve towards a hybrid working model in the future.
Here are six key ways serviced offices and workspaces can help make hybrid working a success…
1. Enhanced collaboration and networking
Under a hybrid working model, the office will become a space for collaboration rather than simply a place where employees go to do their work.
That means there will be an increased need for:
- Meeting rooms
- Seminar spaces
- Tech to aid brainstorming sessions
- Moveable or collapsible furniture to use spaces in different ways
And because rented office space and workspaces mean sharing a building with other companies, there will be a renewed focus on cross-business networking – which can only ever be a good thing.
2. Fewer desks, more social spaces
As the need for dedicated employee desks reduces under a hybrid working model, the need for relaxed social spaces will increase.
An element of ‘unstructured’ collaboration between colleagues or departments, where individuals or teams gather in a social space to throw around ideas and brainstorm, can be a great way to fuel creativity.
3. Dedicated spaces for video conferencing
If you haven’t used Zoom or Teams at any point during the pandemic, where have you been?
The use of those video conferencing platforms during the first Covid lockdown soared by more than 600%.
And although those numbers have dropped as more and more employees have headed back to their offices, video conferencing is certain to remain in place under a hybrid working model.
Companies using serviced office and workspace environments can benefit from dedicated private spaces for individuals to hold video calls.
And larger meeting rooms with screens are ideal spaces for larger group video calls, where every person can be involved and play a part in discussion.
Our meeting rooms at Bourne Space offer excellent video conferencing facilities for teams or individuals to keep in touch with colleagues.
4. Comfortable team building spaces
As offices become a hybrid destination rather than a 9-5 obligation, the time employees spend there will become focused on face-to-face time with colleagues.
Employees working a 3:2 week, where they come into the office for two days and work remotely for three, are more likely to use their time in the office for structured collaboration, such as team-building days or longer brainstorming sessions.
That means the requirement for comfortable meeting spaces in a variety of sizes will increase – something on offer in modern serviced offices and workspaces.
5. Improved health and wellbeing
Workplace health and wellbeing was already a hot topic long before Covid washed up on UK shores.
But there’s no doubt the pandemic has further heightened the need for companies to focus on the physical and mental wellbeing of their people.
New technology will play a role here, too, with Covid-safe touchless tech to enter buildings being introduced
But office location is crucial, too.
A town or city centre office space is far more likely to benefit employee mental health than an HQ on an industrial estate or out-of-town site, with few amenities.
Here in Bournemouth, Bourne Space members can access the beach and everything on offer in the town centre, including rail links and safe cycling.
And they can also access complementary fitness classes as part of their membership.
6. Better value and more flexibility
The flexibility on offer from serviced office and workspace contracts is perfect for companies looking to move to a hybrid working model.
Businesses tied into long-term lease contracts with more traditional office rental companies may find it harder to scale down their dedicated desk space, for example.
At Bourne Space, many of our members have either scaled up or reduced the size of office they require, and they have the flexibility to do that, while also using the meeting room and social breakout spaces on offer.
Not only that, but serviced offices and workspaces usually offer and all-in-one package for a fixed price, including:
- Superfast internet
- Tea and coffee
- Bike storage
Leased office spaces, meanwhile, often come with up-front fit-out costs and ongoing expense for facilities and utilities like broadband, while also lacking the kinds of meeting room spaces required for a successful hybrid working model.
Time for a move?
Is your business switching to a hybrid working model? If so, and you’re looking for a flexible space to call home, we can help.
Contact the team to arrange a viewing at Bourne Space.