Hybrid Work Model: Rethinking Workplace Design Post COVID-19
by Wade Larkin on
Workplace transformation is starting to take place in light of a new corporate mindset. A mindset which places equal priority on the roles that both social distancing protocols and face-to-face collaboration have to the wellbeing of employees.
Prior to COVID-19 there were already noticeable shifts being made to the way the workplace looked. Changes which pointed towards a working world that welcomed remote operations alongside traditional, office-based setups. Companies moving to cloud infrastructure and the rising work-from-home trend amongst professionals were the first signs of a workplace evolution expedited by an influential pandemic event.
Previously, working remote seemed like the perfect scenario for many office workers. Although when faced with the reality of global shutdowns the isolated format, as an only option, proved mentally tiresome.
Now, as the country eases lock down restrictions and reopens the economy, businesses are thinking of ways their employees can return to office safely. Maybe the ideal solution for this challenge exists somewhere in between office and home, or as a combination of both?
Hybrid Office-Home Work Model
According to the Remote Employee Experience Index, researched by Slack, 72 per cent of global knowledge workers prefer what is known as a hybrid arrangement. This work format alternates time spent in the office with the flexibility of time working from home.
Designated office space is necessary for boosting morale, sparking motivation and building functioning relationships within teams and with clients. While working from home allows employees to strike a mutually beneficial work/life balance with their employers. An added benefit of remote work during this current health event is that it limits social exchanges which aids in reducing the spread of COVID-19.
What Does the Hybrid Office Look Like?
Many businesses are now embracing the hybrid model and as such are rethinking office design and restructuring work arrangements to create safer working environments for staff.
Assigned days for in-office meetings allow workers to consult clients in person and interact in real life with colleagues for activities such as projects kick-offs and team building events. However, when employees do return to the office the workspace will require clever solutions that adhere to social distancing etiquette while granting the benefits of a communal environment.
Having less staff in the workplace at one time with an alternating in-office structure means that the space will need to be utilised differently. For example, fewer desks are required and the workstations that do remain will need to be adaptable to the needs of different staff members who use them on any given day. Height-adjustable desks are a smart way to provide a flexible working environment which can be altered to suit the ergonomic nuisances of each employee. Complimenting desk setups with adjustable, ergonomic chairs further adds to comfort level and wellbeing of each user.
Individual work pods with wrap-around barriers can assist in complying to social distancing requirements without making the staff member feel lost in a sea of space. Placing indoor plants between work pods also helps to create a pleasant atmosphere in a room which may feel like a void without the right planning and furniture.
Moving back to offices doesn’t signify the end of video conferencing either. In fact, expect that the well-serving means of meeting will remain as important as ever moving into the Hybrid work model. This is why dedicated spaces for video conferencing such privacy booths with video conferencing specifications will fulfil the continuing need to meet with colleagues and clients who are working remotely.
Transitioning to a hybrid office-home work arrangement may not be an easy one. The process would vary depending on the organisation’s culture, so it’s crucial to analyse the needs of your people to design a post-COVID-19 workplace that works for your company.
Designing Productivity-Driven Workplaces
NPS Commercial Furniture is a Townsville-based commercial furniture company serving multiple industries. We offer a collection of desks, chairs, tables and other office furniture that help foster collaboration and productivity in the workplace. Sourced from leading Australian and international brands, our pieces offer quality and comfort, allowing your employees to maximise their performance.
Get in touch with us today to learn more about our collection.