Advantages to getting hybrid workplace right
By all indications the future of work is hybrid. But getting hybrid right will be hard, writes Jim Keane, president and CEO of Steelcase Ince, in a Harvard Business Review report. Deciding who works from the office and how often is a complex issue, and it will be different for every organisation.
But, Keane says, if not done well it could threaten culture, collaboration and innovation.
He writes that conversely, ‘a well-executed hybrid workplace can be a magnet that brings people together and helps us work better than ever before’. Keane makes the point that organisations who will win know that workplaces designed for people and the resiliency of their organisations will help them move forward, learn and remain competitive.
The global pandemic has created new challenges and opportunities in almost every industry, and as the economy reopens competition will be intense. Winners will be those who most clearly understand their customer’s needs, collaborate to identify multiple solutions, prototype, iterate and bring new ideas to market. Those behaviors will only happen when people come together in the new, modern workplace.
But organisations that choose a ‘wait and see’ approach risk frustrating their employees who find that the old office doesn’t support the new ways risk jeopardising the competitive advantages of bringing people together. People whose organisations move forward and create workplaces that adapt, flex and thrive will attract and retain the best talent and benefit from innovation and growth. Keane writes that the future office will be a competitive advantage for organisations who take advantage of this moment in time.
Global research tells us 72% of corporate leaders plan to offer a hybrid model, and only 13% say they expect to decrease their real estate footprint in the next year, suggesting that organizations will continue to leverage their workplaces within a hybrid work future.
The solution is to integrate physical spaces and technology with three key concepts in mind: equity, engagement, and ease.
The jury is still out on whether working from home is more productive or not, but in the past year, employees report higher levels of productivity when their home allows them to work without interruption. We must provide places with appropriate privacy at the office, too, and employees should be able to easily move from one type of work to another without trekking across campus or getting hung up with complicated technology.
The office we return to must offer people a better experience than what they have at home and that means giving employees the right mix of spaces for the types of work that need to get done. Organizations that choose a “wait and see” approach risk frustrating their employees who find that the old office doesn’t support the new ways they — jeopardizing the competitive advantages of bringing people together. People whose organizations move forward and create workplaces that adapt, flex and thrive will attract and retain the best talent and benefit from innovation and growth. The future office will be a competitive advantage for organizations who take advantage of this moment in time.
When we’re all back in the office, it won’t be the same, and that’s a good thing.