As businesses adapt to the new era of work, hybrid offices have become increasingly popular in 2023. Hybrid workplaces combine remote and in-person work, prioritizing flexibility and employee satisfaction.
Companies at the forefront of hybrid work are implementing structured schedules, downsizing their real estate footprint, and creating mixed-use neighborhoods optimized for group interactions.
Read on to learn about the latest hybrid work trends shaping the future of work.
A Push for Structured Hybrid
2022 was a complicated year for companies figuring out their hybrid work strategy. After two years at home, suddenly requiring people to drive to an office received a lot of pushback. As a result, companies opened their offices, but there were very few requirements on how often employees should come in. This resulted in people coming to empty offices on days their friends were working from home, or some people opting out of the office entirely.
Companies realized this arrangement wasn’t providing value to employees or management, and began implementing hybrid work policies. These vary from company to company, but typically suggest a minimum time in the physical office per week or month. As a result, teams are organizing their schedules together, syncing the days they’ll be in the office or optimizing face time for meetings and get-togethers.
While healthcare, retail, and biotech lean more toward full time in office, industries like financial services are opting for minimum days per week and tech leaving decisions up to teams or departments within the company.
Continued Real Estate Contraction
At the same time, companies also began downsizing their real estate footprint. Since employees aren’t coming in every day and don’t need assigned desks, some companies are reducing the size of their offices to better fit their new space needs.
As a result, we’re seeing more demand for customizable booking scenarios. For example
- Priority booking: certain groups have first dibs on a desk or space that fits their specific needs. If the resource isn’t claimed in a specified window, the resource gets opened up to the broader population
- Desk shifts: Typically reserved for hourly workers or 24/7 environments, more companies are booking people in shifts, where one worker will have the desk on a set of days and will switch off with a colleague on the others
Space management will be a continued focus for companies looking to better understand how their offices are being used. These insights can help organizations reduce real estate costs or help them identify better strategies for utilizing their current spaces.
More Office Visitors
With the pandemic mostly behind us, the rhythm of in-office business is bouncing back. Client visits are becoming more common, meaning office workflows for guests and their in-office hosts need to be up to par.
Employees need tools to effectively invite, check-in and host guests in the office. Visitors need to be given the right information for proper security protocols, finding their way around the office and accessing the resources they need for the visit. We expect to see a continued focus on visitor management functionalities as workplaces of all kinds welcome more guests into their spaces.
The Return of Meeting Room Madness
If 2022 was the year of hot desking then 2023 is definitely the year of meeting rooms. In our conversations with customers, we’ve heard a lot more about meeting room management and questions around how to better streamline processes.
Meeting rooms play a central role in collaboration. When you consider the fact that people like to come into the office to connect, it’s no surprise that the need for conference room spaces is on the rise. Meeting rooms play a central role in collaboration.
But with more people coming into the office, managing conference room bookings can quickly become a headache. That’s why having a streamlined and efficient room scheduling software will be a priority for hybrid workplaces. The right technology paired with clear communication on booking policies will ensure your meeting rooms function as intended for hassle-free workplace experiences.
Explorations of Workplace Automation
Chances are, you’ve heard about AI and automation. After ChatGPT took the world by storm, people everywhere are wondering what applications AI and broader automation will have in our everyday lives.
High-performing hybrid workplaces rely on streamlined processes. Businesses need forward-thinking technology to:
- Simplify employee workflows
- Optimize resource management
- Make smarter space utilization decisions
There is a lot of potential for automation in offices; whether it be more intuitive desk booking options or automated check-ins. Be on the lookout for new and creative uses for office automation tools.
PS: Robin is leading the pack on AI-driven workplaces, check out our long-term plans here.
Introducing Mixed-Use Neighborhoods
Whether companies are downsizing their real estate or keeping their leases, desks are getting reduced across the board. Employees expect more comfortable environments optimized for group interactions, combined with smaller privacy areas for calls or private chats.
The new office setup is reminiscent of a mixed use neighborhood, including a number of space types built for different interactions that might take place throughout the day. With more open space, some companies are optimizing for employees booking a spot in the neighborhood rather than a desk, or simply indicating “I’m coming in” to raise visibility on what’s taking place at the office among colleagues. Within the neighborhoods, open spaces are first class citizens - comfortable, reservable, and fully tech enabled to foster innovation and collaboration in offices.
Moving Forward: Elevating Hybrid Work Practices
We are quickly entering an era of Hybrid 2.0 - where people are in the office on a regular cadence, and experiences are optimized for groups more than individuals.
Leaders should over communicate decisions about work policies and be receptive to feedback and data around workplace experience, while getting comfortable with the fact that the office isn’t entirely for “getting work done” but connecting with managers and colleagues to build the rapport and community that make people love coming to work.