“Necessity is the mother of invention,” goes the old saying. Hybrid work began as an innovation, a “nice-to-have” business practice, long before the global pandemic. But today hybrid work is just work and it’s catalyzing other workplace innovations that are transforming how, where, and why people work, as well as how organizations support their people.
This blog post will highlight some of the most important office innovations ushered in by a hybrid working model. We’ll also describe various tools, tips and tricks that workplace leaders like you can deploy to build a more flexible and people-centric workplace, as well as support a productive and connected organization.
How Does A Hybrid Working Model Impact Innovation?
Hybrid working, a combination of remote and in-person work, is becoming more popular as organizations look to capitalize on the benefits of both virtual and physical settings.
Hybrid working can have a positive impact on innovation by providing employees with greater flexibility in how they create and collaborate. This flexibility encourages experimentation and risk-taking, which can lead to new solutions and ideas.
By providing greater freedom in scheduling and location, hybrid working enables employees to think outside of the box and explore new possibilities without having to worry about commuting or office hours. As such, it encourages employees to innovate by enabling them to experiment with different ways of doing things.
In recent years, hybrid work models have become increasingly popular among businesses around the world. By offering employees the choice between working remotely and in-office, this approach to work gives employees more flexibility and autonomy over their own schedule. This in turn can lead to increased job satisfaction, efficiency and productivity.
Flexibility Leads to Freedom of Thinking
By allowing employees to work from home or other locations outside of the office, hybrid working offers more flexibility and autonomy than traditional office jobs. Employees have greater freedom to take breaks throughout the day, adjust their hours according to their lifestyle needs and collaborate on projects in different ways.
These factors give staff more control over how they structure their days and make them feel more valued as part of a team. This increased sense of ownership can lead to higher job satisfaction and improved engagement with tasks, which in turn drives innovation through creative problem-solving.
Collaboration Increases Across Geographical Boundaries
Hybrid working also supports collaboration between colleagues located in different parts of the world or country. In a physical office setting, teams are often limited by geographic location when it comes to collaboration; hybrid working makes it easier for project members located remotely or across different time zones to connect quickly, share ideas and build on one another’s thoughts without having to travel physically back-and-forth between offices or countries.
Focus Improves with Varied Working Environments
Lastly, hybrid working provides the option to work remotely, improving focus for individual workers by reducing distractions from nearby colleagues who may be having conversations or phone calls while they are trying to concentrate on tasks.
On the the other hand, people can thrive in collaborative environments and often, face-to-face interaction can increase focus in meetings and, for some, in their individual work. To conclude, hybrid working presents many advantages when it comes to fostering innovation within organizations:
- Increases employee autonomy & ownership of tasks leading to increased job satisfaction & motivation
- Enhances collaboration by connecting remote team members quickly & easily
- Improves focus & productivity due to reduced distractions & better suited environment for specific individuals
What Technology is Needed for Hybrid Workplace Innovation?
As a workplace leader, driving success with hybrid work takes a cross-functional and iterative focus. Eddy Wagoner, the CIO of commercial real estate firm JLL, explained it well in his Human Resource Executive article:
“HR needs to be actively participating and collaborating with IT, facilities and, most importantly, employees to build the tailored solutions that work for their business ambitions and address the needs that the hybrid [work] age will require.”
Innovation is part of what will make your hybrid work strategy (well) work . . . So what are four big workplace innovations brought about by hybrid work, ones you should be adopting?
#1: Community-building Solutions for your Flexible Office
Community-building solutions bring innovation to how you connect your people and support collaboration among your teams, no matter where they’re working on any given day.
People want to work in the office – a Microsoft survey found that 67% of employees wanted to come into the office to interact with colleagues.
Hybrid work meetings, to take one prominent example, can’t be better for attendees in the office than for people accessing the meeting remotely. Yet only 38% of employees say their experience working from home is as good as working from the office.
Organizations need to deploy technology tools and practices that close those “experience gaps” between IRL and digital/remote access, providing equity and inclusion to all meeting attendees, no matter where they’re sitting or how they connect to the meeting. You can’t have two classes of employees.
Getting the most from hybrid work, in terms of productivity, employee engagement, collaboration, and cost-efficiency, demands better connection, planning, and collaboration. Perhaps the most important innovation within “community-building solutions” is the comprehensive workplace experience platform.
These platforms enable workplace leaders to execute and iterate their workplace strategies deploying flexible tools and processes, as well as relevant data for their hybrid workplace.
#2: Workplace Analytics Solutions for the Hybrid Workplace
Workplace analytics help workplace leaders better plan for their hybrid office and measure success and failure: analytics are like a GPS/navigation system enabling you to drive improvement based on continuous data loops.
Your hybrid workplace strategy should be built upon a foundation of:
(1) understanding how your people work best
(2) deploying your workplace assets/resources to support your people in how they work best
(3) measuring what matters, defining priorities, and then making appropriate changes to what you do.
The questions your workplace strategy team should be asking of your data/analytics may sound simple, but your workplace strategy team will continually need to revisit and evolve answers to them:
- How do our people want to use the office?
- What areas/features of our office are most popular?
- What areas/features are not being utilized?
- What should we do next with the insights we’ve gained?
Workplace leaders should create defined feedback channels, metrics and KPIs around office utilization. Having workplace analytics and a framework for measurement are critical factors for informing decision-making around hybrid work.
#3 Desk Booking Software for Better Work-Week Coordination
Desk booking software is important in a hybrid office because it enables organizations to manage their office space more efficiently. Desk-booking software helps streamline the process of scheduling and managing office space. It also allows organizations to optimize their use of space, as it can be used to ensure that all desks are accounted for at any given time.
Desk booking software also offers features such as tracking employee movement and providing real-time analytics on usage patterns. This information can help inform decisions surrounding employee wellbeing, resource allocation and overall productivity levels in the organization.
By leveraging desk-booking software, companies have a better understanding of how their employees are using their office facilities, enabling them to make more informed decisions about the design and layout of their hybrid workplace.
Desk booking software can also be an important tool for fostering a positive company culture. It increases collaboration by promoting the sharing of resources and work areas, which in turn helps to foster a sense of community among employees. By encouraging the use of shared spaces, it allows workers to more easily interact with one another and share ideas.
Additionally, desk booking software can also help create an environment that is conducive to productivity and a positive work ethic. For instance, having the ability to book desks ahead of time eliminates any potential stress or confusion about where to sit, allowing workers to focus on their tasks.
Being able to reserve specific areas for large projects or team meetings also promotes connection and collaboration, ultimately strengthening company culture. With the right tools, even desks can promote collaboration and communication between coworkers while boosting productivity and morale across the entire office space.
#4: Room Scheduling Software for the Hybrid Office
Room booking software makes it easier for your people to coordinate their schedules and collaborate with team members and co-workers in the office. They also help your organization optimally deploy its office and office assets, providing real-time visibility into office utilization. The right hybrid workplace technology can be the difference between conference room confusion and streamlined employee experiences in your hybrid office.
Despite people’s strong desire to work flexibly, the office is still an essential meeting ground for human interaction and organizational culture (and always will be). When Gallup surveyed U.S. employees, 82% of them preferred either working full-time (31%) or some of the time (51%) in an office setting, with working fully from home being the least preferred option at 18%.
People want to connect with the office and with colleagues. Room scheduling software empowers your people to access the value of your office (it’s your second highest business expense after salaries) in a frictionless and flexible way.
Room-scheduling software can significantly contribute to innovation by helping to optimize workflows and increase employee collaboration. By automating the process of booking meeting rooms and scheduling events, such software helps reduce the administrative burden on staff, freeing them up to focus on more important tasks.
Room-scheduling software also helps promote open communication between remote and in-office staff by ensuring that everyone has access to the same information about available spaces and times. In addition, these platforms often offer features such as video conferencing, real-time chat, document sharing, and file storage that facilitate collaboration across physical boundaries.
By allowing employees to reserve remote workspaces or conference rooms at different times of day, room-scheduling software gives companies greater flexibility in managing their resources while encouraging creative problem solving among teams. Inviting individuals from multiple locations can also lead to new ideas and innovation since it increases exposure to different perspectives.
Ultimately, room-scheduling software serves as a catalyst for innovation by connecting people with diverse backgrounds from around the world and providing an environment conducive to productive collaboration.
Staying Future-Ready: Tools for the Hybrid Workplace
Change happens so rapidly in today’s workplace, and you need to build the organizational capacity to keep pace with change. Doing so requires:
- agile mindsets from both leadership and employees that are open to experimentation,
- technology tools that empower your people and enable workplace experience teams to “sense and respond” to workplace change.
Innovations like the four described above come out of agile mindsets and enabling technologies; not just what those technologies are, but also how innovative you are when deploying them.
Today’s hybrid workplace isn’t waiting around for a CEO in the corner office to hand solutions down from on high. It’s being co-created daily by people working within organizations, deploying workplace technology, and being supported by workplace leaders like you who are providing strategies and needed resources.
We’re here to partner with you on your hybrid workplace strategy. Have questions? Let's chat.