For the last two years, many office spaces across the country have sat empty as employees worked remotely from home. While there as been some benefit to this approach, company culture, collaboration, employee training, and the ability to build strong human relationships have suffered. The time has arrived for businesses to start thinking about how their workspaces will look when employees return to the office. In a study completed by Gallup, “most remote-capable employees continued to work from home at least part of the time, but the mix became a nearly even split — 42% had a hybrid schedule, and 39% worked entirely from home.”
There are many things to consider as companies struggle to merge their remote work policies and their real estate strategies. In this article, we’re going to cover some hybrid work model key terms you should know and how many other organizations are approaching return-to-work efforts.
Understanding the Various Work Modes
The first step is understanding what hybrid work model styles are available to companies. This varies based on the industry and the work being performed. In many cases, organizations may decide to deploy different work modes for different types of employees.
- Hybrid – The hybrid work model blends a combination of working in a company office space and working in another location (such as a home office).
- Flexible – Often used interchangeably with the hybrid work model; however, they are quite different. Hybrid focuses more on where employees will work where Flexible focuses on when employees will work.
- Remote – Remote work model is working from any location besides a company-owned or company-leased building. The options can b anywhere from a shared workspace, a local coffee shop or even a beach in Thailand.
- Work from Home – Working from home is self-explanatory. In this mode, employees work from a home office. This model was the most popular during the pandemic as employees complied with stay-at-home orders across the country. The downside is that not every employee has the appropriate office setup at home to create the most productive work environment.
- Distributed – The distributed work model is where resources are distributed over a geographic area. In this scenario, there is usually a small, physical headquarters for the company where most employees work remotely. Other employees work remotely across the operating territory. This model saves money on real estate, however, travel costs are typically higher since employees are required to occasionally meet at a localized meeting space or hotel conference center.
Exploring the Return-to-Work Options
Each organization will need to decide which approach works best for their business. Companies that rely on regular collaboration to drive innovation may benefit from employees being in a physical space together. Others may find it more beneficial to save on the real estate costs and continue letting employees work remotely permanently.
The cost of living is rising and employees have gotten quite comfortable with remote work. Many workers have taken the opportunity to relocate to lower-cost areas. This presents challenges for companies since many of their employees no longer live within commuting distance of their old office space.
One answer to this is the hub-and-spoke model. This model, which mimics the way airlines organize their operations, helps companies to reduce real estate costs and retain their existing workforce. The hub-and-spoke model allows the company to operate a main “hub” or headquarters in a major market with smaller outlying office spaces for employees in that geographic location.
Under this model, employees get to keep a reasonable commute time while increasing productivity and human interaction. Companies can also avoid the steep real estate costs associated with major metropolitan areas by reducing their main office space in exchange for smaller, cost-effective spaces in cheaper locations. In many cases, the company can leverage coworking spaces to meet these needs.
Adaptable and Shared Workspaces
This approach helps companies reduce their office space by allowing employees to share their workspaces with others instead of having dedicated desks. Since many employees are only returning to the office a few days a week, some companies are moving to unassigned desks where employees can sit at any open workstation. This can present challenges for being able to schedule everyone’s time. You don’t want employees showing up without a space to work.
An alternative is scheduled shared workspaces and offices. For example, you can have 10 shared desks or private offices that are used by 25 people. Each person would get two days a week in the office while working remotely somewhere else the rest of the week. Scheduling apps are a great tool to help keep this organized, however, this will require companies to make IT investments to implement these tools.
Alternate or Coworking Locations
Alternate work locations are spaces that are not company-owned office spaces or home offices. Many companies are choosing this option because it provides an extremely cost-effective solution to physical office space without the burden of securing and maintaining real estate themselves.
Coworking locations are easily accessible and provide all the necessary equipment and amenities that employees would find in a normal office environment. These spaces are flexible giving companies the ability to use only what they need whether it be workstations, conference rooms, or private offices.
Leverage the Power of Coworking Spaces in Your Return-to-Work Strategy
Lakeside Workspaces provides its members with high-quality office spaces that can complement or supplement traditional office spaces. We’re dedicated to helping companies reduce their real estate costs while giving their employees the spaces they need to be at their best. Contact our team today to find out how we can partner to support your business’s return to work strategy.