Prepare Your Office for Hybrid Workers

Many companies are now examining their post-COVID-19 work environments and developing plans for reintegrating employees into in-office settings. A company’s size and capabilities affect the best path, process, and timeframe for making many decisions, and unexpected challenges continue to emerge. Aside from the lingering health concerns regarding emerging variants and political tension surrounding vaccines, decision-makers also face employees who prefer remote work either part-time or full-time regardless of COVID-19.
Employers are turning to flexible hybrid solutions to bridge the gap between remote and office work arrangements that adjust as health concerns, employee preferences, and government regulations change. As part of creating hybrid environments, organizations must identify what employees need to feel comfortable, productive, and excited about returning to work in an improved environment.

Set Expectations

Although the return-to-office plan will differ depending on the organization, there are several common qualities to expect. One of the biggest challenges facing employers is how to become flexible in every facet of a hybrid workplace. Workers today have more flexibility in where and when they work. For example, many companies and employees were used to running a typical 9-5 office where everyone worked the same hours at the same location. You may find that hybrid employees send more late-night emails or have afternoons that are blocked off.

Some best practices employers can use to keep coworkers productive is to create expectations like:

  • Hours they should be available or online
  • Days they need to be in office
  • Hours they should be available or online
  • Days they need to be in office
  • Expected workload they need to maintain

Provide Flexible Workspaces

As a result of CDC recommendations, many buildings modified their offices to create an air of separation between employees. To meet recommendations, office layouts reduced desks and cubicles to create more spread-out independent spaces. With fewer desks further apart, companies had to get creative to find additional areas to add workstations. Some solutions came from dividing large lobbies and boardrooms into ad hoc huddles and offices.

Companies took advantage of having fewer people onsite and spaced-out workstations by adding creative amenities. Fitness rooms, yoga studios, or game rooms are just a few creative ideas to repurpose an unused space. A grab-n-go corner store or coffee bar might be something to consider adding. Free food can even increase morale, especially for Millennials, who are happier at their jobs when free meals and healthy snack options are available.

Leverage Technology

The most impactful way for employees to remain connected, regardless of their schedules or locations, is to provide video collaboration tools that work from any endpoint. Leveraging systems like Zoom and Zoom Rooms, for instance, can create a seamless experience. They won’t have to figure out multiple platforms to schedule or start a meeting, but instead, they will be able to stay on-task and connected to their teams regardless of their location.

As important as selecting a video conferencing platform is finding the right hardware. Although you can easily set up a video conference in your home office with laptops and Bluetooth speakers, adding meeting rooms of different sizes and shapes can pose challenges. Echoes, natural lighting, multiple speakers, and multipurpose rooms all need to be addressed individually.

A professional AV installation will ensure that each room is customized and that the cameras, speakers, and microphones are installed in the best locations. Furthermore, they will use smart technologies that can overcome any challenges in the room. With Logitech RightSense cameras, presenters are automatically framed, light balance is optimized, and background noise is reduced, so you’re not distracted during meetings.

Offer Shared Desking

Shared desking enables employees with flexible workplace options to suit whatever needs they may have. Offering spaces where employees can work independently, at a shared table, or collaborate in a meeting space can improve productivity for teams. The idea of implementing Activity-Based Working (ABW) allows employees the flexibility to work when and where they want throughout the office. Shared desking works well with hybrid environments and job functions that are varied since it encourages employees to reserve different desks or offices depending on the work they need to get done. They can choose whether to work alone, at a shared table with others, or require a private team space to collaborate.

There are many benefits of offering office hoteling for organizations. First, it saves real estate by maximizing the use of every desk and office throughout the day. This is especially important with organizations that are designed around hybrid employees. Flexible desking models mean workspaces won’t be assigned to hybrid employees, resulting in empty desks on days they work remotely. It also allows for employees to move around the office and not feel tied to their assigned desks.

Finding What Work

There are many different solutions and technology options when setting up an office to accommodate hybrid and remote employees. Business model, company culture, and industry play significant factors in determining what degree of hybrid structures should be considered.

If you’re ready to see what hybrid office transformation might look like, contact us and speak to an integration professional to see what flexible working solution would fit your needs.