Are you hybrid ready ?


There is a lot of conversation and predictions in the media about what the new hybrid workspace should look like, understandably supported by little direction and actual customer experiences.


As such there are “grey” area’s such as how much to invest in new office technology and furnishings and in what format, if at all?. What is expected by employees, how many need or want to return and how much office space will be utilised as a result?. All of these questions and more remain unquantifiable for most companies currently!


What should a company do?… watch and wait, follow the lead of others or be proactive about their approach to welcoming back their employees safely? Fact is all of the above can apply!


Following the launch of our showroom in Clerkenwell we have been fortunate enough to meet some of the early adopters working on active projects for the new return and also to have been involved in the consultation of space for some large organisations proactively investing in their future during the pandemic.


The “BBC” stated on a recent survey 43 out of 50 UK top companies said they will embrace the hybrid model, which arguably demonstrates the positive sentiment towards hybrid working.


Yet there is clearly a common challenge in organisations that is clouding judgement of what the hybrid space is, with IT-Procurement-HR-Facilities all pulling in different directions with different complex challenges. Decisions are tending to be slow, non-committal and undecided as a result that only through 3rd party consultation can often unlocked.


Perhaps a simple over-arching question can be asked of any organisation; can the company work more cost effectively, more competitively and more efficiently with remote workers based on current experience? If the answer is yes then a hybrid strategy is for you, if the answer is no then a more simpler working practice is need, BUT to stand still by continuing as before is not an option as your competitors, partners, suppliers and employees will be considering flexible advancement and you don’t want to be left behind.


What we know so far is that companies are finding administrative tasks are best produced at home or remote spaces and that creative tasks are best produced collaboratively in high energy creative communal locations which may be corporate HQ’s.


Depending on role, arguably most of us have an element of both tasks in our day-to-day work activities and therefore this quantifies perhaps the 43/50 UK top companies wanting the hybrid option with formulas such as 2 days at home and three days in the office as a compromise.


Hybrid working provides the flexibility for employees to work where they want, when they want at home or in remote co-working locations. The work-life benefits of which are clear for the wellbeing of the employee and often as a result the productivity is increased and costs such as overheads are lowered.


However, it does come with challenges for the employer as the “tail is and has been wagging the dog” and to accept this change needs to be managed carefully with a fresh and flexible but quantified programme that suits both the employee and the employer as companies start to recover and the need to regain control for the wellbeing of the organisation and employees is a requirement.


Open collaboration space equipped with soft furnishings and video conference collaboration technology for creative sessions, interactive experience centre presentation spaces for marketing and sales promotion, interactive areas for democratized learning and knowledge sharing, meeting pods for quiet video conference meetings are many of the trends that we are experiencing and involved in for creative centralised locations and wellbeing fulfilment.


The remote worker also having the flexibility to join collaborative sessions seamlessly from anywhere. A collaborative session being whiteboarding, video conferencing via Zoom/Teams or Webex for example that connects into sessions within the creative spaces.


Interestingly we are also starting to see a second phased investment into better office furniture and technology for the remote workers now that hybrid working is here to stay, with the wellbeing of their employees at heart of their decision making.


But here is the golden take-away. It is essential that a company invests in a centralised management platform that controls and reports on the outcome of hybrid working. The “glue” that empowers employees to book spaces, check-in check-out of desks and spaces, and provides employers with reports to monitor and analyse behaviour and productivity trends.


This insight provides a better understanding of space utilization, staff wellbeing, cost savings and efficiencies for forward investment and space optimisation longer term.


It does not have to be expensive. Larger organisations may opt for systems that monitor space utilisation and optimisation across the estate including remote employees, and those that are unsure there are simple measures through audio or camera techniques for example to quantify investment.


Only then will a be able to organically adapt and enjoy the benefits of the workspaces of tomorrow.


Quintessence in conjunction with FREM GROUP Technology are experts in workspace technology are holding a hybrid workspace technology event from the 26th October – 27th October 2021 for companies interested in the new technologies for the workspace and space consultation. The event consists of leading brands such as Jabra, ELO, Clevertouch, Quintessence, Displax, Qico, FREM Group. The event also includes talks by key industry experts talking sharing their industry insight into the new return.


Register here