How Design Influences the Hybrid Workplace
Implement flexible design that supports productivity, health, and a sustainable culture
In the last two years, the professional workplace has drastically changed. The traditional model of working from the office came to a halt as professionals pivoted to working from the comfort of their homes. As regulations were lifted, there were mixed reviews on going back to traditional office settings. Companies began to switch to a highly trending concept, the hybrid workplace model, to offer a more flexible environment for employees.
What is a Hybrid Workplace
The basis of the hybrid workplace model is simple: to connect remote and in-office work. There are four standard models companies can choose from:
- In-office: Employees working in-office, with less flexibility on working remotely. This aligns with the traditional office approach.
- Working from home: Employees alternating between remote and home. They have a desk at both locations.
- Remote: Employees working primarily from home may have occasional visits to the physical office, but it is not required.
- Distributed: Working without an office, there is no physical office location for employees to go to. This type is more common for small companies and start-ups.
Upon selecting a hybrid model, there is no one-size-fits-all strategy. What works for one company may not work for another, regardless of whether or not they are in the same industry. Developing a hybrid strategy is dependent on the company’s culture, size, industry, and intentions for their desired structure. It is important to support the chosen hybrid work scenario through a strategy that will uphold company values, communication, and collaborative work.
The hybrid model has gained immense popularity amongst professionals. Studies show this is becoming a common requirement for whether or not a candidate will accept a new position. For employees, the hybrid work model provides more freedom while offering a better work-life balance. For companies, the hybrid model has been shown to increase employee retention and engagement. It also opens up the talent pool for corporations, allowing them to hire outside of their immediate geographic region.
How to Manage the New Hybrid Workplace
The hybrid workplace is still fairly new. While a few companies have maintained a remote workforce for a couple of years, the majority have just begun to utilize this concept. Forced transitions to the hybrid workforce were immediate, eliminating the time to rigorously plan. However, now that hybrid is here to stay, intention to build and successfully maintain a hybrid concept is at an all-time high.
Like many business ideas, hybrid culture requires robust planning and an initial investment. It takes time to carefully curate a design to accommodate in-office and remote employees. Many company leaders are turning to design professionals to strategize a hybrid model that supports their workforce’s productivity, inclusivity, and sustainability.
Furniture, accessories, and technology are all pieces necessary for building a successful and sustainable hybrid culture. While technology is a more obvious piece to the puzzle, it needs to be supported through design. For example, if a company is designing a room for webinars between in-office and remote employees, it will require more than a camera and a microphone to engage all participants. Incorporating rugs to minimize echoing, tiered seating, appropriate lighting, and high-quality scanning cameras will ensure remote colleagues can be completely immersed in the content being presented.
Design elements for hybrid environments include:
- Accessories: lighting, office decor, whiteboards, rugs, pillows
- Desks and tables: height adjustable desks, benching, conference tables
- Seating: office chairs, collaborative chairs, lounge seating, stools
- Spacing tools: panels, screens, beams, work walls, pods
- Storage: bookcases, cabinets, bins, shelves, waste and recycling
- Technology: acoustic solutions, scheduling systems, apps
Leading furniture dealers such as bkm OfficeWorks are dedicated to providing services such as design, San Diego office furniture innovation, and commercial relocation to support hybrid office setup efforts in Southern California. We have a team that is experienced in creating hybrid design and installations that best serve each client we work with.
Industries that Support the Hybrid Workplace
Traditionally, remote work was connected to one industry: technology. However, the last two years proved that nearly any industry is capable of implementing a hybrid culture with the proper tools and design.
This may be surprising to some, but the majority of data-oriented processes for medical laboratories and scientific facilities in the life sciences space can be conducted from home. In-office employees can easily engage with remote colleagues through manipulatable designs and technology to create collaboration amongst in-office and remote colleagues.
Corporate office leaders have been listening to employee demands for a hybrid workplace. Sales, marketing, and project management divisions have found that physically being in the office is not necessary. Instead, they are using the appropriate technology and designs to maintain (or potentially, increase) overall productivity and employee satisfaction.
In late 2020, over half of school districts offered hybrid learning. Schools of all sizes, including universities, have onboarded hybrid learning to meet the evolving needs of their students. Design plays a major role in this as well, as tiered seating, appropriate lighting, microphones, and scanning cameras are highly beneficial for hybrid learning.
Is your office transitioning to a hybrid workplace model? Speak with our experts on the designs and options best fit for you and your teams.