As the world of work experiences one disruption after another, company leaders all over the world are asking themselves, “What will the future workplace look like?”
If the workplace strategy trends that have emerged in recent years are any indication, we already have our answer: hybrid work models.
Hybrid strategies blend work from home with time in the office instead of sticking with remote-only or adhering to a traditional nine-to-five, five days per week in the workplace.
Those considering a hybrid model should avoid half measures. “In order to effectively implement a hybrid model, a company must lean in all the way or else risk a lack of consistency and alignment across the [organization] in how work should be done, how people communicate, and what the purpose of the office serves,” says Francesco DeCamillii, Vice President of Flexible Workspace at Colliers International.
Not sure if a hybrid work model would work for your business? Here are a few benefits to consider.
Savings on Real Estate Costs
A physical headquarters can serve as a symbol of a company’s brand and values as well as a place for in-person collaboration and team-building. With employees on-site only a few days a week, companies can retain the benefits of having a headquarters while reducing their real estate costs by downsizing their portfolios or using flexible workspaces for their satellite offices.
According to Collier International’s Flexible Workplace Report 2020, the focus of newly-optimized real estate strategies will be based on the tenets of increased flexibility and choice, which a hybrid model supports. One reason these tenets are key? They allow businesses to stay nimble in the face of uncertainty. A hybrid model makes it easier to adapt both a company’s real estate portfolio and how employees approach their work if circumstances change.
Not only do hybrid work models help businesses remain adaptable to the unexpected, but they can also help businesses better accommodate employee preferences. The U.S. Workplace Survey 2020 from the Gensler Research Institute reports that around 52 percent of U.S. workers prefer a hybrid model, working some of the time at home and some of the time at the office.
What’s more, with COVID-19 still a risk, hybrid office models can minimize the spread of infection by reducing the number of people who share a meeting room or office space, making social distancing rules easier to follow. Giving employees the option to allocate days to from at home can help employees feel more at ease and in control when they come to work. This approach also lets them know that their company is investing in their safety and well-being.
Better Mental Health
Workplace flexibility can help improve employees’ mental health, according to a workplace flexibility study from Deloitte. Forty-three percent of professionals cite less stress and better mental health as the primary benefit of work flexibility, and one in three professionals say that work flexibility would increase their job satisfaction and morale. Time saved from a commute can create a better work-life balance, while working at the office can offset the feelings of social isolation that can stem from working solely at home.
“Properly implemented, a hybrid model can serve to enhance the overall productivity of the [organization] as it provides managers and employees alike with the agency to perform their best work,” says DeCamilli.
Employees work differently in different settings. With better tech capabilities and colleagues on-site, the office is primed for collaboration, innovation, and team-building while remote set-ups are convenient, safe, and suitable for focused tasks (provided that there aren’t too many distractions at home). A hybrid model represents a good balance of both. Gensler’s U.S. Workplace Survey 2020 finds that companies that adopt hybrid models have higher levels of creativity and problem-solving as well as higher-quality relationships.