Much to the surprise of many of us, working from home didn’t kill us, work got done efficiently, and despite the pandemic, people felt a sense of accomplishment while telecommuting.
Many businesses did better than they expected in a complete work from home environment. The ability to communicate effectively, collaborate, and move the needle on results were unexpected outcomes for many business owners.
Innovation and new ideas on how to do old things in a new way surfaced.
Businesses adapted. Expectations changed.
The pandemic caused us to work in a new way and changed the shape of the office for the future.
Despite the many benefits of being able to work from home, there are several disadvantages that come from a team of telecommuting employees.
- Informal connection points are missing. You aren’t able to get to know about your co-worker’s weekend plans, their summer garden, or their latest hobby … there is no office water cooler or morning coffee chatter.
- It is tiring to look at a screen for eight hours a day. Before the pandemic, “You’re on mute again, Stanley,” or “You’re frozen. Can you hear me? Are you there? Should we hop to Zoom?” were never uttered in a meeting. Now they are commonplace. Work can feel more tiresome and draining than it is after absorbing eight hours of blue light from a screen.
- Small problems sometimes require larger focus than they should. Simple things that you could solve in passing now require a meeting. It is impossible to catch someone on their way out the door for lunch, texts, phone calls, emails, and meetings are required to accomplish things that could be done in a few moments if you were in the same space.
And yet, there are many benefits such as flexible work hours, work / life balance, less cost to the owner for operational expenses, no commute, less missing days due to appointments and sickness.
What if you could have the best of both worlds?
You can, it is called hybrid working.
A hybrid office is a space that has been reconfigured to accommodate employees who both work from the office and telecommute. Spaces are changed to allow employees to safely come to the office and work in a space that is designed for that specific activity or have a touchdown desk that they can hotel at for a set amount of time or the whole day.
A hybrid office takes into consideration activity based work, team collaboration needs, and ensures there is flow as employees flex from working at home or in office.
Owners are able to adjust their footprint as less people are in the office at any given time and employees are able to still have those watercooler moments while also having days where yoga pants and suit coats are part of the dress code. It also builds connection points and creates opportunity for team building with employees who work in roles that don’t allow for telecommuting.