What Are the Best Hybrid Office Layouts for Employees? A Complete Guide
Hybrid Working

What Are the Best Hybrid Office Layouts for Employees? A Complete Guide

AutonomousAutonomous | Jul 2, 2021
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It’s no secret that the modern workspace should reflect the requirements of a remote workforce. However, the process of creating an effective hybrid working environment is challenging. That’s why we have formulated some exceptional ideas to help you implement the best hybrid office layout. Continue reading to find out everything you need to know.

The World of Hybridity in the Workspace

There have been massive seismic changes in the modern workspace since the beginning of the 21st century, and even more so since the global pandemic. We have experienced the first open-plan office and the rise in cubicle culture, but nobody could have expected a drastic halt to occur in these developments until the COVID-19 outbreak took place.

This pandemic caused an unexpected change to occur that left the workspace altered forever. We have found new ways of conducting work, albeit we were forced to do so. Nonetheless, amazing discoveries have been found that improve workplace health, morale, and performance.

Introducing Hybrid Work Model as a New Normal

The emergence of a hybrid office design not only represents a change in the physical layout of an office. It also displays a deeper shift in the attitudes surrounding where and how employees conduct work.  

Previous workspace changes in office layouts were typically performed to squeeze as much value out of less floor space as possible. This was often done at the expense of employee satisfaction. However, the move toward a hybrid office layout has been driven by a change in employee requirements.

As we're emerging from the global COVID-19 pandemic, employees want the freedom from where and when they feel they can be the most productive. From this need to work from home during the pandemic, workers have acknowledged the shortcomings associated with cubical office layouts and open-plan designs.

hybrid

Business owners and managers are noticing the greater focus on learning, collaboration, and teamwork gained from a hybrid office design, which has them searching for ways to make this hybridity more established within the organizational structure.

Nonetheless, the transformation to a hybrid office concept is cultural and physical. Hence, an interior designer can't come into your workplace and enhance its hybridity overnight, even if they promise they can. However, there are some fantastic hybrid office space models that you can incorporate into this business structure to help gain the benefits of this hybrid workplace environment.

Why Does an Office Layout Matter in a Hybrid Workforce?

Why Does an Office Layout Matter in a Hybrid Workforce?

One of the most well-liked elements of a hybrid workspace is that it helps align with the needs of your employees. Your company's idea of office layout depends on the shape and size of your organization.

Nonetheless, employing various hybrid office layout models can help you achieve many benefits, which is why office layout plays a massive role in ensuring the high-performance properties of a hybrid workforce. Such advantages might include:

Creates a Level Playing Field between Office and Remote Working

Creates a Level Playing Field between Office and Remote Working

One of the most significant obstacles that accompany transitioning to a hybrid office concept is ensuring the balance between remote and office working is maintained. Ideally, each employee should have access to the workspace and internal communication tools they require to do their work to the best of their abilities, no matter where they are placed. Developing and employing a well-thought-out hybrid office space can help you achieve this necessary balance.

Encourages a Dedicated Workspace

Encourages a Dedicated Workspace

The primary goal of a hybrid office design is to include remote working tools, as this helps decouple an organization from its central premises. From here, the business can enable employees to work where and when they want while also re-imagining a traditional office as a space that can be shaped to accommodate the work requirements needed to be performed at a given time.

Promotes Face-to-Face Conversation

Promotes Face-to-Face Conversation

For employees working remotely, being able to meet colleagues and clients in a safe and professional environment is one of the most crucial benefits of a hybrid office layout. Employees can employ modular seats or furniture in quiet corners to create areas for one-on-one conversations.

You can even use any outdoor spaces for more laid-back meetings. When using hybrid office space, the central office becomes the most vital venue for in-person conversation and where remote teams can come together to collaborate.

Nurtures New Ways of Working

Nurtures New Ways of Working

Unlike traditional office spaces with cubicles or desks, a well-planned workspace doesn’t impose a set style of working on employees. Rather, a hybrid office anticipates what an individual worker may require during their working day and gives them the freedom to choose how they would like to conduct these responsibilities.

Offering several spaces to accommodate these different modes of working, like quiet corners, relaxed and comfortable social areas, and conference space to conduct video calls with remote colleagues. You can also use enclosed areas to establish isolated spaces where employees can focus on their specific tasks.

Prioritizes Employee Safety and Wellbeing

Prioritizes Employee Safety and Wellbeing

The safety of all employees and clients has become a bigger priority than ever before since the beginning of the pandemic. Implementing social distancing measures can be done by moving a team to work remotely more frequently.

Many workers might be fearful about returning to an old office layout. Nonetheless, the good thing about a hybrid workplace is that these employees can easily work autonomously.

What Is the Best Hybrid Office Design?

To have a successful hybrid office layout, you need a hybrid work model that constantly reacts to the needs of employees who use it. This means finding what features of the space matter most to employees. From here, you can use this information to create a new work environment that aligns with employee needs while keeping everyone safe.

To achieve this hybrid work environment, the first step involves figuring out what type of remote hybrid workspace functions best with the business’s existing culture and organizational structure. Here are some of the most common arrangements and hybrid office layouts you can expect to find when choosing a hybrid workplace model:

Hybrid

Hybrid

A hybrid team is equipped to blend office and remote working. This could entail a small core staff working in designated office spaces while the rest conduct their work remotely. Otherwise, it might be a company-constructed policy where most employees work on-site while a handful works wherever they please.

Additionally, a hybrid team may operate on rotation, swapping which employees work remotely every couple of weeks. Otherwise, these employees might only come to the office for occasional meetings. However, the way business leaders decide to arrange this workspace, there always needs to be a central office for employees to access in a hybrid team.

As business operations begin to return to normal and we prepare to re-enter the workplace, hybrid office models are rapidly gaining popularity with business owners and workers alike. This hybrid workplace model provides employees with the flexibility to continue working remotely and hybrid working while also offering a physical location to return to when they deem necessary. However, this hybrid office layout also offers a dedicated space where they can be productive and mix with their colleagues.

Split

Split

A split hybrid office space, as it sounds, is where one team is divided into two or more offices. These offices are typically interdependent and can be far away from each other or right across the street. No matter what the distance is between these offices, a split team is designed to operate as a hybrid team, with each half working remotely and separately from one another.

When most employees split teamwork from an office on any given day, they can still employ remote working tools and hybrid workspace model processes to effectively collaborate and communicate with their colleagues based at other locations.

Such inclusions help enable split teams to easily shift to working in a fully remote hybrid model or change locations. This setup or hybrid office layout can also help make this workforce more dynamic, as they can easily adapt to changes in working arrangements.

Fully Remote

Fully Remote

Another hybrid office space is one that only uses a fully remote team, which has no physical office space. Alternatively, employees at a fully remote company complete their duties from wherever they are based on that day. This could be a living room, shared coworking near their home, or anywhere else. Employees have the freedom to choose where they want to work.

This type of hybrid office concept can represent the life of a digital nomad. Although this setup might sound appealing, it does come with several challenges for employers and the teams under this leadership. Workers might be split across different countries and time zones, which can make it challenging to solve problems, collaborate on complex projects and come up with new ideas.

Employees might feel isolated from each other, which can lead to the organization’s culture suffering if there are limited opportunities for teams to socialize with one another. Nonetheless, careful planning can make it possible to abandon the permanent office.  

However, this remote working style isn't the best option for all business types and easy for hybrid office layout management. It's vital to understand if this remote working aligns with your organization's existing structure. Yes, most businesses can incorporate some form of remote working into their structure. Yet, not all businesses can function fully remotely without an office space.

Similarities and Differences Between Hybrid Office Layout and Co-Working Office Layout

Similarities and differences

The working spaces required by companies for their workforce has been changing, especially in the last decade.  These needs were fuelled further by the pandemic as companies try to stay successful and competitive using hybrid office space.

As you opt for a hybrid office layout, you may want to consider if you are going to be housed in a co-working space or have an independent office address.

Don’t miss out on various remote work arrangements that you may need. 

What is a Hybrid Office?

What is a Hybrid Office?

Hybrid office spaces offer a mix of traditional working office and remote working. In such offices, you will find dedicated workspaces for in-house employees as they come regularly to the office. Remote workers don’t have dedicated space; they get spaces they can book by the hour for their meetings or other needs.

Remote workers have a choice of the type of working space they need – from meeting rooms, individual offices or smaller, informal areas to where they can meet with employees who follow an in-office routine. This depends upon their needs from a quiet zone, or catch-ups with colleagues over a coffee or informally. 

What is a Co-working Office?

What is a Co-working Office?

Co-working offices are rental office spaces usually for entrepreneurs and small businesses. These rental offices are more of a plug and play model. The amount of space needed is based on factors like the number of employees to be housed, hours and days of operations, and more. Co-working spaces offer centralized support functions like tea/coffee services, a cafeteria, centralized functions for a reprography room and more. These hybrid office layouts have a mix of meeting rooms ranging from small to large meeting rooms, office spaces for short and long term rentals and more.

Benefits of a coworking space include costs, flexibility to come into the office when needed, opportunities to network with folks from different walks of life, higher productivity, comfort, talent attraction and more. 

Similarities of Hybrid office and Co-working offices

As you decide how to progress to a hybrid work model, you would be looking for a suitable hybrid office layouts.  Should you go for a co-working office that accommodates your needs and has other companies around or should you have an independent hybrid office? What should you look out for?

1. Layout

Layout

Hybrid offices have workspaces for both remote and in-office employees. This translates to having dedicated workstations for in-office employees. Hybrid office design accommodates both – remote workers and in-office employees.  Remote workers can opt for either an individual hot desk or a range of meeting rooms’ basis their needs (seating type, number of people it can accommodate, if they need virtual conferencing tools and facilities or a basic one). Else, they could head out to various informal clusters of seating to connect with other employees.

Co-working spaces also have access to restricted dedicated spaces, and hot desks while the informal clustered seating are open areas accessible by employees of all offices. The floor layouts will depend upon how many employees have to be accommodated and the duration of the office space lease. 

Differences?

You may consider a hybrid office layout inside a co-working space; this means that the informal space for a hybrid office could either be shared or be inside the company’s premises.

2. Support teams

Both lease out amenities to service providers. This could include technology, food and beverage services, secretarial services, housekeeping and more.

Differences?

A hybrid office concept may prefer to have its own support team including technology to prevent information from leaking out of the office; for example technology support services.

3. Privacy/Access

Privacy/Access

Both have restricted access for privacy and confidential company information. Common areas like cafeteria, vending points, concierge services, and more may be shared.

Differences?

A hybrid office mostly has informal areas located within its premises. Additionally employees may use the informal workspace offered by the co-working office if it is housed inside a co-working office.

4. Pricing

The more customization you do, the more the rentals.  Of course, factors like economies of scale, duration, and more can lower your costs. Both, hybrid office and co-working office pay primarily for dedicated space, restricted access, and a permanent office address till the time you need it.

5. Layouts

Commonalities include different types of meeting rooms, bases, seating space, hybrid office layout or more.

Differences?

A co-working office may change its layout on a particular day of the week. On Monday you may see a company use 300 workstations as an example and on Tuesday it may need only 180. This varies as per their workforce planning.

Hybrid offices usually do not change their layouts but have flexible work spaces. 

6. Furniture

Furniture

Both, the hybrid and co-working offices, have furniture that is usually provided for you especially if the hybrid office is housed inside a co-working space.

Differences?

Hybrid office layouts may have their own hybrid office furniture inside their dedicated space to accommodate their work needs. 

7. Infrastructure

Infrastructure is shared for various things like utilities (gas, electricity, fire fighting services).

Differences lie more in a few services like security services, decorating, repairs, maintenance, and cleaning, and more which may be leased out by various service providers. 

8. Flexibility

Flexibility

Hybrid and co-working spaces both have flexibility in spaces and layouts.

Differences are more in terms of rental durations. A dedicated hybrid office may be leased out for a long term, usually a year or longer.

Co-working space needs may vary by the week or month, depending upin scale of operations. 

9. Agility

Both offices offer you agility to scale up operations.

Differences? It is easier to move out of a co-working space rather than a dedicated hybrid office. It would also depend upon the terms and conditions agreed upon. 

Read more on Shared Workspace and Co-working Space!

Depending upon your needs you may choose to operate a hybrid office in a co-working space for a lower start time. Benefits from economies of scale are much at stake while considering an option.

Why Should You Use the Autonomous Hybrid as a Digital Solution for Your Hybrid Office Space?

Business leaders have the pick of the litter when it comes to choosing what hybrid tools they would like to include in their organizational structure. These tools can work wonders when it comes to ensuring your workforce remains productive and focused in a hybrid office design.

Nonetheless, like most other technologies, some are more effective than others. This is why you should pay close attention to the ones you wish to include. Autonomous Hybrid is a fantastic digital solution that you can use in your company's hybrid office model. This digital solution is equipped to move your workplace into a flexible future. From here, you can easily harness the best of in-office and remote working.

However, these changes in organizational structure don't come without a few challenges. This approach can be difficult to manage, which can result in inefficiency. That’s why you need the Autonomous Hybrid. This digital solution makes it easy to manage flexible and/or hoteling office space models. Additionally, you can keep workplace productivity and employee satisfaction high. Many business leaders enjoy using this Autonomous Hybrid digital solution because it supports individual success while also being compatible with Android and iOS. When choosing this digital solution, you can: 

  • Help your employees to work when and where they are most productive.
  • Provide self-managing properties while also helping your working environment stay flexible.
  • Help enable employees to be in charge of their safety and well-being.

Why Should You Use the Autonomous Hybrid as a Digital Solution for Your Hybrid Office Space?

Moreover, this Autonomous Hybrid digital solution allows you to:

  • Reduce office space costs.
  • Access global talent pools.
  • Increase employee satisfaction.

When selecting this hybrid digital solution, you gain the freedom to start by deploying hot-desking, making the process of moving to a hybrid workspace less overwhelming. When changing to a more flexible workspace, taking the guesswork out of your office’s space arrangement can make the process easier. Autonomous Hybrid enables you to do this by:

  • Assign hot or fixed desks.
  • Optimize schedules, resources, and space.
  • Make rooms and desks available to book to help uphold safety policies.
  • Allow your teams to self-manage.
  • Map out your office space in mere minutes. Set safe layouts and capacities.

Our Final Thoughts

The most commonly asked question employees typically have since the outbreak of COVID-19 is how it would be possible to go back to the office and interact with their colleagues safely. Promoting a return to the office in a hybrid form with a perfect hybrid office layout is going to take compassion and understanding. Some employees are likely ready to return as quickly as possible while others might take some time.

However, creating the right hybrid workspace model for your specific working environment can help make employees more comfortable to take that leap of faith and return to the office. Setting up a hybrid office design with perfect hybrid office layouts can be a tedious process, but ensuring all elements are covered can reap the best results and have your workforce performing like a well-oiled machine.

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