Rebuilding Culture Through a Hybrid Office

Coming back to the office can be hard for employees.

After nearly 16 months of wearing yoga pants with suit jackets, simple things like finding pants that still fit and match your tops can be trying. Add on the commute, uncertainty around safety, and a shift on what work / life balance looks like, well, your employees are probably stressed.

The world has changed and so have your employees.

Great corporate culture is a key component to retaining great employees. 

A healthy culture requires trust and connection to thrive. It requires knowing your teammates and having a sense of belonging.

As much as we have been effective wearing the aforementioned yoga pants and meeting over video, some things have suffered … culture may have been one of them. 

So how can a hybrid work environment help build culture?

Retain great, happy employees by providing flexibility.

Many employees have moved, have a different agreement with their families on how work / life balance plays out, and may have found a sweet spot for getting work done which looks nothing like it did before. 

Don’t negotiate on results but be flexible on the means of getting the results done. Having hoteling stations in office where an employee can work Monday, Wednesday, and Friday while someone else utilizes the space on Tuesday and Thursday creates efficiency and still allows an employee to share the afterschool pick up with their partner and still get their work done.

Provide activity based working for maximum efficiency.

If your company requires less desks by having a hybrid working model, you can provide specific spaces for brainstorming in small groups, focused work such as writing, designing, or coding. Working from home doesn’t always allow for an employee to be able to have time and space that is completely quiet or designed for the work they need to accomplish.

By providing activity-based workplace solutions, you empower your employees to deliver great results, on time and unencumber them from the hassles of trying to create a productive space at home while their cat not-so-subtly walks across their keyboard.

Creation of connection points.

People need people. As people return to office, ensure that your meeting spaces are open, allow for social distancing but still create social opportunities. People will most likely want to rebuild work friendships and create new friendships with the people who were hired over the pandemic. 

The in-between spaces matter. The soft seating that provides comfort, social distance, and the ability to chat about weekend plans while drinking coffee on a break matters more than we realize. The small moments of connection add up to create a fabric of unified culture. When you know someone, and understand what they care about, culture is deepened. 

Taking the time to ask your employees what they need in the post-pandemic era and creating a space that meets both their needs and your needs will be an important cornerstone piece of your culture as you come back to the office.

As Peter Drucker once said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast!” 

Having an aligned, high-performance team of employees who have the flexibility to work from office, telecommute, and work from home while focused on the needs of your company will only produce great results.Want to start exploring what a hybrid model looks like in your context? Give us a call 1.888.230.2280 or pop us an email at [email protected] to talk about how we can help!


The Way We Work – Hybrid Offices

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.

Check out some of our favorite hybrid office solutions!

Are you starting the journey towards creating a hybrid office? If so, check out our Four Steps to Creating a Hybrid Office and give us a call or reach out to [email protected] 

We would love to assist you as you transition to a hybrid working model!


Returning to Office: Four Steps to Creating Your Hybrid Office

Thinking about coming back to the office isn’t as simple as sending out and email and telling everyone to meet back at 8:00 am on Monday and then everyone comes back and pretends the last 15 months didn’t happen.

People have changed. How we work has shifted. Safety can sometimes feel out of reach. And nothing is the same.

Yet, we are still people, working together to deliver amazing results for our customers.

If you are like me, you are pulling together return to work plans and thinking about the best way to strategically make everything work, positively impact culture, and have a healthy, safe return to work.Easier said than done.

Most likely, your work from home strategy was haphazardly put together, “Everyone grab your laptops! We will email you about everything else.” And you send people home and figured it out. Perhaps it felt a bit crazy and out of control.

Returning to the office doesn’t have to be the same experience.

And what do you do with our open, collaborative, shared office? You know the one that you worked so hard to create over the last 5 years? There are no walls, open spaces and shared places are the theme of your workplace. And now, your workplace, as it is currently designed, doesn’t work.

Enter the Hybrid Office.

Use these four steps to gather information and make an informed decision about what kind of workplace your team needs and how to implement.

Step 1 – Find out what your people need.

Send out a survey to your teams and see what they are hoping for in a return to the office. Some questions around safety, space, and in/out of office need to be asked.

  • What does a safe return to the office look like for you?
  • What balance of working from home and working from the office are you hoping for in the new normal?
  • What areas of the office don’t seem like they work in a post-pandemic world?
  • What are you nervous about in the return to the office?
  • What did you miss working from home?

Step 2 – Find out what management needs.

Send out a similar survey to management, but get clear on a few additional pieces of information. 

  • What hindered productivity for your teams working from home?
  • What assisted productivity for your teams while working from home? 
  • What does the preferred future of working from home and from the office look like for you? For your teams?
  • What concerns you about coming back to the office?

Step 3 – Compile and look for themes.

With all the feedback compiled, there are most likely 4-6 themes that need to be dealt with and addressed. There is no doubt that the physical office space is one of the main ones, in fact it might be your biggest concern to tackle.

Some common themes we have discovered are:

  • Reconfiguration – what can we keep and reuse?
  • Collaboration – what does this look like in our culture post-pandemic?
  • IT – what do we need to add to allow for hybrid workers, collaboration, and communication?
  • New spaces – Phone booths, activity-based working pods, and touch down stations along with offices – what do we need where?
  • Reducing 

Creating new layouts of furniture, adding space and more ‘breathing room’ to open offices, and finding ways to keep connection and collaboration will most likely be high on your list of priorities.

Step 4 – Make a plan and execute.

Assign a champion for each of the things and have them make recommendations and implement solutions. It is always best to ask the team to participate and be part of the change. The people who made the suggestions or highlighted the needs most likely want to be part of the solution – don’t forget to ask them for assistance!

Call on experts in each of the areas to assist you as you put your plan together. 

We would love to help you as you plan your return to office and develop your workplace strategy for a model that aligns with your culture, company goals, and future needs. 

A few tweaks, some new pieces and products, and a lot of innovative ideas can breathe life back into your office as your team comes back. We would love to help you as you work towards a hybrid workplace or a full work from the office approach.

Whatever your post-pandemic office furniture needs are, we are confident we can find you a solution.


Our Top Five Hybrid Working Furniture Solutions for Your Office Transition.

Hybrid working has been a common trend changing the office structure over the last few years, with an exponential increased need over this past year. As we endeavor to navigate our new normal and new balance of working while still being COVID compliant, flexible and efficient, we have highlighted some of our best hybrid working furniture solutions to make the transition for your company as smooth as possible.

These furniture solutions are aimed to help reduce; in office contact points, lessen the cleaning and sanitization time. give private works spaces for distraction free working, and limit the numbers of in person meetings while still giving a central space for teams to work effectively together. And while team members do not have dedicated desks, or assigned seating, ensuring we are thinking about the small details that are often overlooked when transitioning the office to the future new work style.

Employee Lockers

Lockers and safe storage solutions are an important need for staff, but often overlooked. Giving staff a safe and convenient storage solution that are intuitive, user friendly without technical issues are an important piece of the hybrid office. The Align Locker by Allsteel can either be permanently assigned or reassigned daily with simple resets as needed. Freeing up staff from having to carry all essential working and personal materials, such as photos, keeping the personal touch, back and forth from the office. This also reduces traffic to gather common items as much as possible.

Privacy Lounge Seating

A private seating area where staff can work, make phone calls, and let others know they do not want to be interrupted at this time are a very helpful tool in the hybrid office. One of the common highlights we hear about working from home are the reductions in interruptions. While pets and kids may join zoom meetings, staff working from home tend to not be interrupted as much as in the office with quick “how-do-1”, being pulled into last minute meetings, or wondering where the favourite stapler has been moved to. Having a clear area to work and not be interrupted will be essential piece moving forward in the hybrid work office. ‘The HON Astir is a comfortable and stylish private working solution.

Mobile Acoustic Touch Down Zone

Nook Pods are a wonderful solution for mobile private or individual meetings. A quiet zoom call, one on one or client meeting they keep numbers small and intimate. There are many customizations and options available with the Nook Pod, from lighting, power, and even brainstorming tools like white boards. There is a Nook Pod solution for every office.

Central Waste/Recycling Centers

As we are working to reduce touch points. An essential part of the office is sanitization and garbage collection. Lunches are now consumed at a distance, and desks are chosen for the day, it is critical to have a functional garbage and recycling system. The Artopex Axel2 not only, functionally collects waste, it fits seamlessly in the office design.

Freestanding Space Division

A pavilion like the Beyond series from Allsteel is a gorgeous design element to add a comfortable private work setting and reduce meeting numbers. While completely flexible to meet the needs of your office, it’s a brilliant element for the hybrid working office to add beauty and functionality.

To learn more about Hybrid Working and how our consultative approach can prepare you and your office moving forward visit or email [email protected], click contact us, or submit a quote. And check out our social media accounts, we are always sharing new ideas and ways to make your office more efficient and flexible moving forward!


Top 5 Corporate Flexible Home Office Furniture Solutions for 2021

The past year’s events changed the way we work; our offices are beginning to look much different than they did this time last year. Corporate offices still need to function and be flexible for employees no matter the location, while still meeting the needs for office workers to get value and function out of their workspace. Agile workspaces continue to be on the rise as organizations look for ways to accommodate in the “new normal” era. CDI Spaces has been evolving with these dynamic methods of working over the years, and we have dedicated ourselves to researching and understanding what motivates employees in a fresh space. We recently sat down with Derek Burrowes, our dynamic Corporate Furniture Specialist, to pull together a list of our top 5 most exciting office products that have been shown to increase focus and productivity.

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.

John F. Kennedy

Artopex Millie Desk

This height adjustable desk with casters will allow you to vary your position throughout the day. Thanks to the integrated pneumatic adjustment system, the surface can reach a height of 43 ½”. Sitting or standing, your workspace ergonomics will be optimized to their full potential with Millie.

HON Home Office Designer

It’s important that you have the right pieces to equip you at home, for the best functional yet inspirational space. With Hon’s unique furniture standards program, it allows us to customize your entire space to make it adaptable, flexible, and resilient to suit your needs.

Workspace48 Home Office

The Agile sit stand desk allows flexibility options for the home office. For the ones who want to move around while thinking, this adjustable desk allows you to take your work up a level, with the press of a button. In addition to mobility, this solution boasts lockable storage options as well as electrical for easy connectivity to and from the office.

ESI Motific Height Adjustable Laptop Table

As phones, tablets and laptops become personal accessories for mobile work and life, a workspace that seamlessly accommodates digital devices is imperative. The Motific mobile tech table provides users the ability to move through their days, from workstation to third space, connected to digital technology. This lightweight and easy-to-move table offers a sturdy design that can support users work gear.

Turn Your Desk Into A Sit-Stand

Esi’s Lotus RT -2 workstation boasts Smooth Lift technology with easy dial weight adjustment allowing users to transform their workspace into a flexible one. With clamp mounts adhering to their worksurface and adjustable accessories, moving your screens into ideal positioning has never been easier. Complete with a 4-pivot point design, the gas spring arm is able to move 90 degrees in each direction.

Are you interested in learning how our office solutions can adapt to your changing needs and accelerate your success? Try our 3D consultative approach! Contact us today to learn more about how to create the best solution possible.



The Future of Post-Secondary – Learning Alone Together

COVID-19 forced post-secondary institutions to quickly transition to online. Almost a year since the pandemic began, online learning continues to be the “new normal”. Having worked closely various institutions on their post COVID-19 strategy to bring students back to campus, below are our thoughts on the future of post-secondary.

Safety Is The Primary Concern

Safety is the top priority for post-secondary institutions’ leaders as they plan to bring students to campus for in-person delivery. Students and staff will not feel as comfortable as they did before in a large group setting as physical distancing measures continue to linger. Tactics used to promote physical distancing, such as two-way tape, directional traffic, and foot markers, will likely become long lasting. In addition, there is an emerging need for touchless interaction, for example, automatic door openers, card access, motion dispensing units, etc. These technologies avoid individuals touching objects physically and prevent contamination. 

It is also highly likely that we may begin to see some schools use distance learning as a unique aspect of the curriculum going forward. While being able to incorporate the pandemic restrictions in an innovative way, it may also be functional in reducing the number of individuals in classrooms.  

Quiet, Individual Studying Space

Ongoing research is being conducted to find out what is working in remote campuses, and what is not. Success in studying from home can depend on whether or not a student has access to a quiet space. Unfortunately, most students live in small apartments, or share their space with others and may find most of their surroundings to be distracting or ineffective.  

What online classrooms a.k.a ZOOM, lack compared to in-person classrooms is the opportunity for students to change their learning environment and have a versatile collaborative experience. As a result, we are likely to see the adoption of smaller group settings, more virtual classrooms and individual study areas going forward. In 2021, we predict that as restrictions ease, more students will come to campus to use individual studying areas, while integrating virtual lessons. Students will get the benefit of a well-designed, structured learning environment, with the ability to practice physical distancing.  

Hy-Flex Learning

Hybrid-flexible (HyFlex) learning allows students to learn from an instructor’s pre-recorded class at their own pace on their own time. Spaces will now need to be addressed to accommodate the rise of this new way of learning. Post-secondary educators will take this opportunity to rethink how collaborative classrooms should be redesigned to align with this trend. This HyFlex model has given us the ability to transform and maximize previously underutilized space and encourage students to take more ownership in their learning. Generally, students are taught at an early age to take responsibility for their learning during their K-12 years.  Hy-flex learning allows new undergraduates to customize their learning style and pace which helps ease the transition of entering the post-secondary realm  

We ensure that the furniture we provide is dynamic and flexible. We have made changes to accommodate new restrictions and provide exceptional service to all our furnished campuses. For a consultation with our campus specialist on how we can future proof your post-secondary spaces, get in touch with us at 1.888.230.2280 or  [email protected].



Our ideas surrounding the workplace environment have drastically evolved since COVID-19. The workplace may no longer be a single location, but an ecosystem of locations and experiences to support safety, functionality, convenience, and wellbeing. Having helped many organizations navigate the uncharted waters of COVID-19, we have put together our top ideas.

Office Will Not Go Away

Over the past year, remote working has received a lot of love; however, we believe that the traditional office will not go away any time soon. A physical office is a place where we come to connect and build relationships with our colleagues and stakeholders. No matter how hard we try to leverage those social interactions through Zoom/ Teams/ Skype meetings, we cannot replicate the whole in-person experience. For example, casual conversations in the photocopy room, or A’s body language while talking to B satisfies our hunger for human connection. Clients typically want to come and have in-person meetings because they want to have a feel for our corporate culture and working environment, which cannot be fully exhibited through online meetings.

Mentorship also plays a big part in the office, especially with post-secondary graduates and students entering the workforce. Many people find job shadowing or working closely with others in a particular workspace to be an effective way of learning. At the end of the day, office spaces are carefully built and designed with a variety of settings catered to the infrastructure of the company. The home environment can work for some of the time or some of those activities, but it is likely not going to be as effective as a customized environment with minimal distractions.

Physical Distancing Is The Top Of Mind

With COVID-19 still lingering, physical distancing is top of mind for many employers and business owners when it comes to office furniture solutions. There are a few options to help organizations create spatial barriers for employees, as they filter back into the office.  

  • Utilizing glass or plexiglass to control the spread of any virus. The glasses give the employees the protection they need, especially in high traffic areas, or where their workstations are not big enough to allow physical distance.  
  • Hotelling stations can also be a great solution. This is a method of reserving office space and resources in an office, instead of assigning employees to a regular workspace. 
  • Hot Desking, like hotelling stations, allows employees to reserve an office space; however, it is based on first-come, first-serve basis. 

Adding further accessories to the existing furniture is another alternative to create physical distancing barriers. Some barriers can make the space look dense, so it is recommended to use clear materials, allowing natural light to beam through.  

In addition, creating some storage space for employees’ personal belongings using staff lockers is also encouraged. Not only does this keep their items safe while on their job, but it also helps avoid spreading germs among people. 

Hybrid Working Model – The Best Of Both Worlds

The Hybrid working model combines remote and onsite work and continues to be the trend for 2021. Many employers have chosen this option because it allows employees to reduce the number of people in the office for safety and physical distancing due to COVID-19. However, hybrid working is not meant to be a temporary solution, but a response to allow more flexibility for team members. Almost a year since the pandemic began, and one thing we have all learned is that working remotely offers great benefits, such as less commute, and better work-life balance. However, it does not work for every team or industry. The feedback that we received was that many teams did not generate the same results they had prior to working from home due to the lack of collaboration. Nonetheless, coming out of COVID-19, the hybrid working model is a great way for employees to have the flexibility to work remotely, as well as giving organizations the opportunity to rebuild corporate culture at their own pace. 

Activity-Based Working Model

The Activity Based Working model (ABW) used to be considered only for the most progressive companies. Now, it has become more versatile than ever, as the pandemic has shown the need for organizations to be able to adapt quickly to succeed. Teams that utilize the full ABW model prove to be more resilient and able to embrace adversity. ABW is much more than just a physical space, it re-defines the way we work involving people, technology, and space.   

In ABW, the workplace is no longer organized by departments, projects, teams, or confined to a particular place. An ABW office is specifically designed around work activities that employees need to perform at work. The purpose of this model is to empower workers to create the optimal work environment they need to do their job and deliver an outstanding experience to their clients. It also appeals to employers as it gives them the option of accommodating more people in fewer square meters, reducing overall real estate spend  

If you have any questions about office furniture solutions, book a complimentary consultation with us today at 1-888-230-2280 or [email protected]


Top 5 Office Furniture Products of 2020

With recent events changing the way we work; our offices are likely beginning to look much different than they did at the beginning of the year. 2020 has introduced new ways of working, placing a greater emphasis on fluid working environments but one thing has remained constant – the need for office workers to get the full value out of their working space.  Agile working and hybrid working are on the rise as organizations are looking for ways to incorporate working remotely and working from home in the “new normal” era. CDI Spaces has been supporting and evolving with these dynamic ways of working over the past years, and we have dedicated ourselves to researching and understanding what makes employees motivated and refreshed in a space. We recently sat down with Derek Burrowes, our Corporate Furniture Specialist, to pull together a list of our top five office products that have been shown to increase focus, productivity, and efficiency. 

The Allsteel Altitude A8 Desk

The A8 desk is one of our top sellers in workstation productivity and ergonomic design. Integrated with wire management and a variety of privacy screens, the A8 is our all-in-one solution for any office configuration, especially in a time where we are seeing a higher priority on modular designs. The A8 places an emphasis on designing elements that move and conform with its user—with the screens secured on to the desk, you can choose to sit or stand at this desk, without sacrificing the needed degree of privacy and separation.  

We also understand that different degrees of privacy are needed for different professions. If your profession requires ongoing collaboration and ideation, you have the option to install straight, side to side panels to allow lateral communication. Also available are L-shaped panels for aisle workstations, and full, U-shaped panelling for a full, 270-degree enclosure.  

Additional features include the hidden cord management system, which leaves your wires tucked away underneath the desk in a compact manner. While available in a variety of finishes, the A8 desk can be custom ordered with rounded corners, to provide a softer design and a more ergonomic configuration for your spaces. 

The HON Ignition Chair

With all the time we spend sitting in front of our computers (at least 8 hours per day), choosing the right chair has tremendous impacts on our posture, health, and productivity. It would be a big mistake if we did not include the HON Ignition Chair in the list of our top five corporate office products this year. 

 It is a great ergonomic task chair that supports everybody’s type, work style, and office activity. “Affordable and customizable comfort” are the words we want to give for the Ignition Chair. It has three adjustable back heights, two seat sizes, and four arm styles that fit the 5th or the 95th percentile. In addition, its three tilt controls allow you to adjust the chair easily for collaboration and individual tasks. When it comes to price, the HON Ignition Chair is a great solution for organizations that have a small budget, while wanting to provide their employees with high-quality, well-designed, and health-supportive furniture. Available in assorted colour combinations, you can customize mesh, upholstered or ReActiv backs to fit with your overall corporate branding and preferences.  

Artopex Lockers

Providing locker storage for employees is highly recommended to organizations that are looking to move to a hybrid working model for safety and hygiene reasons. Artopex Lockers is one of our favourite furniture as it comes with a variety of sizes, colours, and configurations for different uses and spaces, with or without doors. You can group them along a wall, or at the end of benching tables, and even create a collaboration island. 

Not only does it impress the users with versatility, but also the security. You do not have to worry too much that someone may know your password, as the combination of the Noki electronic locking system for lockers automatically resets after each use. 

Allsteel Park Planters

Having been working from home and confined to four walls make you miss nature. With a minimal, sleek design, Park Planter is a great item to have if you are thinking to incorporate some plants into your office. It comes in varied sizes and heights, allowing you to be creative with different indoor plants. Moreover, it has also been used as an accessory for offices to store books, office documents, as well as cleaning supplies. 

Hotbox 2

For office fashion aficionados, Hotbox 2 is a must for their office bag collections this year. It is expertly designed for office workers who want to have the flexibility to work at whatever desk they want, while still having their essentials at hand. 

Speaking of optimum organization, the bag has plenty of space with two main sections. The larger compartment can hold a 13-inch laptop, notebook, books, etc., while the front section has a whiteboard to let you make quick notes on the go.  

Working remotely means multiple digital devices, on top of pens and papers that we must carry at a time to move from one place to another. Also, take into consideration, the HotBox 2 comes with two removable pen pots and a phone/tablet stand. Not only that, but the handle is carefully designed with a soft grip and an optional shoulder strap, allowing you to easily take your HotBox 2 anywhere.  

Last but not least, it has a sense of personalization and familiarity that we all crave when working remotely: the feeling of sitting at a desk decorated with our personal items. The well-thought-out design of HotBox 2 makes sure you can feel at home while working remotely, as it has an a-built-in business card holder, a slide-on photo frame for your photos with friends, families, and pets, and a lot of space for small, sensational items like plants or your kid’s crafts. 

Contact Us Today!

For details or a quote on any of our five recommended classroom products, get in touch with us at 1.888.230.2280 or [email protected] to get help from more specialized corporate office furniture consultants like Derek Burrowes