4 Key Pillars for Designing the Hybrid Office in 2024
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  • 4 Key Pillars for Effective Hybrid Office Design in 2024

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min read

Patrick Isitt
Content Manager
Content specialist in office design and build.
  • The benefits of hybrid workplace design

    Hybrid working involves an informal or formal arrangement whereby companies allow their staff to combine remote and office-based work, which, executed well, can benefit both employees and employers.

    Hybrid working is certainly proven to deliver tangible workplace benefits, including:

      • Improved performance and productivity: with increased control over their working environment, employees are often more focused and productive.
      • Enhanced recruitment and retention: according to research, two-thirds of people aged 25-34 would not consider applying for a role that did not offer hybrid arrangements.
      • Lowered overheads: through increased efficiencies and reduced real estate requirements, companies adopting a hybrid model can reduce their office size by as much as 50%.
      • Enhanced wellbeing: by improving work-life balance, hybrid working supports employee wellbeing and happiness, which leads to greater engagement and job satisfaction.
      • Improved utilisation of space: with employees rotating their in-office hours, companies can be more efficient with space. Fewer workstations free up areas for alternative uses – such as communal activities or events.
  • How to design a hybrid workplace in 2024: four key principles

    The shift to hybrid working requires an evolution in office design to support a more transient workforce whose habits and expectations have changed since the pandemic. The hybrid office needs to support new ways of working and enable both privacy and collaboration, with increased flexibility in all areas.

    We’ve put together what we see as the four core pillars of hybrid office design.

  • 1. Design for different types of work

    Every employee has different needs and preferences. While the post-pandemic office has become synonymous with open interiors and collaboration, there will be those who still need quiet, secluded on-site spaces to complete key tasks. By providing a range of settings within hybrid office layouts, companies can support different types of work and diverse employee requirements. For example, open spaces and communal areas are perfect for collaborative activities, such as brainstorms, presentations and meetings. Meanwhile, booths, cubicles, niches and nooks provide the perfect spaces for solitary work, ensuring maximum focus and minimum distraction.

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  • What’s important is to understand how teams work; by speaking to departmental managers, leaders can ascertain what different teams need from their work environment, and then design their hybrid office space accordingly. These varied settings enable people to shift from community to seclusion throughout the day depending on their needs.

  • 2. Flexible and multifunctional spaces

    Under hybrid working arrangements, office occupancy will fluctuate. Some days will be busy, others less so, with different numbers of people in the office at different times. With businesses moving away from permanently allocated workstations, scheduling is key to ensuring capacity control. So too is the adoption of flexible and multifunctional spaces that enable companies to adapt their interiors to varying work requirements.

    Agile design schemes that incorporate folding office walls or sliding partitions mean businesses can expand or contract internal space as needed. Kitchen or reception areas can double up as event spaces or breakout zones. A mix of formal and informal settings also enables companies to flex for different types of meetings and ways of working. Meanwhile, modular seating and moveable furniture mean spaces can be reconfigured to support different activities.

  • 3. Connection and community

    The pandemic shone a light on the importance of human connection and community, and the office now plays a vital role in bringing people together. By helping to rebuild social networks, promote knowledge sharing and reaffirm company culture, the office can help employees rediscover a sense of purpose and belonging.

    Hybrid office design and workplace strategies should therefore have employee experience at the heart of them. Outdoor social spaces, lunch and café retreats, conference rooms and breakout zones, for example, can be used to encourage interactions. It’s worth noting that 67% of employees want more in-person work and collaboration post pandemic, so spaces fostering community and connection will be welcomed.

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  • 4. Employee wellbeing

    As mentioned above, hybrid arrangements enable employees to gain a better work-life-balance and, for two or three days a week, work from the comfort of home. This can deliver a major boost to wellbeing, reducing stress and fatigue, eliminating the daily commute, and enabling people to have control over their work routine. But how do companies ensure their physical workspace supports health and wellbeing when employees are on site?

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  • Various factors influence workplace wellbeing. These include:

      • Physical: whether it’s the selection of snacks or office ergonomics, companies can help employees to maintain good physical health.
      • Environmental: good lighting, space, acoustics and air quality can all be achieved through design. Biophilic design elements and greenspace are also known to promote a sense of wellbeing and calm.
      • Psychological: by helping employees manage stress, companies can address a major barrier to workplace wellbeing. Quiet rooms, meditation spaces and recharge areas can support psychological health, while low-stimulation spaces and low-traffic areas help to minimise social anxiety and meet the needs of neurodivergent employees.
  • How technology supports the hybrid model

    For hybrid working to be successful, connectivity is crucial. Companies require tools and technology that enable seamless working across home offices, coworking spaces, conference rooms and satellite offices. WiFi and bandwidth to support multiple mobile workers and devolved activities is vital, while AV integration in meeting rooms helps to engage both in-person and remote participants.

    Plug-and-play facilities at flexible workstations and hot desks also mean employees can hit the ground running when they’re in the office. Tech developments are evolving at pace in support of hybrid working models; to succeed in the post-Covid era, companies need to ensure they keep up.

    The shift to hybrid working presents huge opportunities for businesses. But the process needs to be well managed and spaces need to be appropriately adapted to create an experience employees want to leave their homes for.

  • The Guide to the Hybrid Workplace

    Our Guide to the Hybrid Workplace is designed to help you understand the key components of hybrid working and how to introduce it to your workplace.

    Find Out More
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