Flexibility is a key element of the modern working world, with businesses considering it a priority for all sorts of reasons. The coronavirus pandemic only exacerbated its importance, proving that adaptability must be baked into a business plan if the business is to survive the unpredictability of the world. Through lockdowns we were forced into our homes and in doing so, proved that you don’t need to be in an office at all times in order to get work done. However, it also became clear that, for some people, working from home full time can lead to fatigue, loss of focus, and social isolation.
Hybrid working is an elegant solution that allows for the best of both worlds – flexibility without the downsides of a pure working from home model. Businesses are catching onto this, with more than 60% planning on adopting the model. They are recognising that it’s not worth paying for a full-time office that is only used half the time, and are looking to flexible workspaces to plug the gap. This growing demographic is one of the main demand drivers contributing to the growth of the flexspace market, which is why flexible space operators need to be aware of their needs.
Hybrid working explained
In a hybrid working model, employees split their time between a central workplace and working remotely. For example, an employee might go into the company office on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, but work from home on Monday and Friday. The ideal solution will depend on the business or individual, with some choosing to be in the central workspace for a higher percentage of the week while others might primarily work from home.
Another use case is if an employee lives far away from their company’s main office, so works in a coworking space near their home and travels to the main office for a few days a month. The aim of hybrid working is to give workers the flexibility needed to enable greater output, while still bringing them together on certain days so that the traditional benefits of the office, such as in-person meetings and staff bonding opportunities, can be captured.
The benefits of hybrid working
Hybrid working gives employees and self-employed people the ability to mitigate any negative effects that factors outside of the work itself, such as location and environment, have on their productivity. But there are plenty more benefits to a hybrid model than just that. For employers, as already mentioned, the cost savings compared to a traditional permanent office model can be huge. On top of this, hybrid working allows for a broader talent pool to hire from as location isn’t such an important factor, and the flexibility means that companies can position themselves as a more attractive offering to these talented job seekers.
Employees usually find that being able to mix up their work setting helps keep them refreshed and motivated, as well as allowing them to adapt their environment to their needs. If they have a full day of meetings planned, they can go into the office. If they have a challenging piece of work that requires a ‘head down’ attitude, they can work from home to avoid distractions. Less time commuting and greater schedule flexibility means a better work/life balance for employees which, in turn, tends to result in improved productivity.
How a hybrid model fits into the future of work
It doesn’t look as if flexible working is going anywhere any time soon, and rightly so! With 83% of workers saying it’s the optimal solution going forward, hybrid models are sure to be adopted if employers are to keep their employees. As usual, big tech is leading the way with Apple, Google and Amazon all having announced the adoption of hybrid working this year – and where the innovators go, the rest soon follow.
Companies moving to a hybrid approach can choose from having a full-time office, part-time office, flexible workspace or pure coworking. So, what can coworking and flexspace operators do to beat out the competition? Companies adopting a hybrid model for the first time are keen to avoid committing before experiencing the model’s effects, so coworking spaces already have a head start in being the most flexible option. Flexible terms, scalability, good conferencing technology and limited friction (e.g. a plug and play approach) will all tempt occupiers your way. Maintaining company culture is the biggest concern for employers, so look for ways to tackle this, such as encouraging collaboration through design of the space of offering Friday drinks free of charge.
The intersection between hybrid working and flexible spaces is about to blow up, and now’s the time to take action if you don’t want to miss the opportunity. Spaces to Places can help you optimise your offering so it brings the most value to your customers and your businesses – book a call today for a no-obligation chat.