At the end of 2020, Gartner(1) surveyed HR leaders and found that 90% of respondents plan to allow employees to work remotely at least part of the time, 65% of respondents reported that their company will continue to offer employees flexibility in the way of working. The remote work developed during the pandemic and ongoing uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 shape the trend for workplace flexibility and a hybrid work model. The adoption of remote and hybrid working changes the nature of workspace environments. Companies need to support a higher need for mobility by giving employees possibilities to choose and manage the working spaces and facilities. AWA, Advanced Workplace Associates, a global work and workplace transitions strategies firm, breaks down the benefits of hybrid work for employees, companies and society.
Advantages for Employees
Hybrid work and workspace flexibility allow to increase job satisfaction and feel more freedom to manage working and private things to keep work-life balance
Effective increase in income.
Possibility to work from home more often minimises employees’ commute costs.
Employees can work for companies from a different locations.
Advantages for Companies
Reduced real estate costs and business overheads
Budget savings can be done by reducing the costs for utilities, maintenance, rent or any other liabilities for owning or leasing the building. There is no need to provide a desk and other working facilities in an office for all employees as integrated workspace management solutions allow to manage the facilities allocation, meeting schedules and workplace reservations, manage visitors and inventory to make flexible office and organize hybrid work comfortable, safe and efficient. Despite of a fewer number of desks staff can book the working space in workdesk reservation module quick and easy.
Improved employees productivity
Improved mental well-being makes employees more productive, dedicated to work, reduce absence rates and presenteeism.
Improved retention rates
Hybrid work is treated as an advantage by employees. It increases employees’ loyalty and commitment to company thus improves retention rate.
Bigger talent pool and option to extend services
Companies can hire the best employees for roles from a much larger range of locations. It also allows businesses to provide a better service by matching working resources to business demand, such as providing service to customers 24/7. Ability to grow headcount without added space costs
It is an opportunity for organizations to shrink their office footprints and meanwhile to grow in hiring required specialists.
Improved visibility of senior leaders
Virtual meeting rooms do not have space constraints and creating an opportunity for senior leaders to interact directly with every individual in the company.
Benefits for Society
With less people coming into the office each day the more reduce of office pollution and pollution associated with commuting.
Higher employment rates
If companies are able to hire from a larger pool of candidates, then rates of employment are higher in countries where hybrid working has been widely adopted.
A healthier society
If individuals are happier and healthier as a consequence of hybrid working, then the society to which they belong is also happier and healthier.
Despite of the benefits there are some challenges for companies to shift on hybrid working and flexible workspaces. Even if all involved are positive about implementing hybrid working with flexible office, existing companies’ culture or an inability to measure employee performance other than by working hours may present some challenges.
Many companies continue to be influenced by three key issues: on-boarding and training, employee retention, and productivity. Companies need a new framework to answer, “What touchpoints require in-person interaction?”. This includes a switch from assessing the suitability of roles to be performed remotely to assessing suitability of workflows to be completed remotely. Then, HR leaders need to understand the supporting processes and technology required to enable employees to flow seamlessly between on-site and remote or hybrid work modes.
Steps that companies can take to evolve to a hybrid model:
- to shape strategy based on the work being performed to get high productivity
- to optimize the employee experience, balance employee preferences and business needs
- redesign the office to maximize connection and collaboration
- reimagine people programs inline with a flexible world
The benefits of hybrid working and flexible workspace should be highlighted to employees prior implementation, and there should be ongoing evaluation of working (both for productivity and employee wellbeing aspects) to ensure that the new ways are positive for employee and business. It is also important that employees do not feel like their career aspirations and development or access to learning tools will not be negatively impacted by new working approaches.
Hybrid working initiates flexible workspaces/flexible offices which are a growing trend. Flexible office needs a careful plan of implementation to anticipate possible issues. And, as with any change in the workplace, there will be in ongoing learning cycle. All these can be aided by technologies.
Skyscraper.space technologies help to create and implement Smartoffice inreached with technologies, services, tools, data analytics and AI. Integrated Workspace Management System makes convenient to use IoT sensors, engineering systems, and to combine on one platform disparate services to order. AI assistant finds documents, colleagues, reserve a room, navigates in the space, orders coffee for a meeting and ets. Integrated reporting functions deliver statistics, forecasts, space utilization, cost control, tenant’s personal account data and help business centers to utilize building space and assets smart and efficient.
(1) Press release “Gartner Survey Finds 90% Of HR Leaders Will Allow Employees To Work Remotely Even After COVID-19 Vaccine Is Available” https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/12-14-2020-gartner-survey-finds-ninety-percent-of-hr-leaders-will-allow-employees-to-work-remotely-even-after-covid-19-vaccine-is-available