Let’s say your company is headquartered in Manhattan, but has a clutch of key team members working remotely in Denver. These are valuable contributors and you’re eager to keep them happy. They’re at home on the Front Range, but have reported that home isn’t always conducive to work. It’s even less suitable for collaboration and client meetings. As a workplace leader, you recognize the value of workplace choice, but one thing remains clear.
You occasionally still need an office.
Perceptions of the office have changed
The pandemic has propelled transformation across the marketing landscape. Challenges have changed. Processes have been redefined. Workplace strategy has become a leading priority and competitive advantage. Working outside of the traditional company office was once a relatively uncommon occurrence. The business world was HQ-centric. An organization's headquarters was its heartbeat, critical to both corporate culture and governance.
No more. In our new work-from-anywhere reality, employees are dispersed, teams are distributed and the role of the office has forever changed. HR and workplace executives are rethinking everything from where their employees work to how those spaces are configured. They’re embracing hybrid to meet their shifting workplace needs and achieve their objectives.
It’s the end of the watercooler chat and the crippling, stifling commute. It’s the dawn of a new workplace era, but we still need a place to work, connect with teammates and accomplish important company goals. The new era has been described as post-office, but an office still has its place.
Meeting today’s workers where they are – everywhere
With cloud-based platforms and powerful communication tools at our disposal, going without an office entirely might be tempting. Why pay for a physical space that no one wants to use? But it’s not especially practical. While an office is not always as important as it used to be, it is still plenty useful. Providing access to coworking space so employees have the option to work elsewhere if home isn’t conducive to work, or if they want or need to engage with team members or clients is more than a trend. It’s a differentiator and recruiting tool, an indicator to prospects in an increasingly competitive workforce that your organization has met the challenge of hybrid work head-on and pivoted successfully.
There’s no question that Americans are embracing flexible work and want more of it. They’re actively seeking out opportunities to work from where it works for them. Our changing attitude toward the workplace is also an opportunity to leverage different work environments for different tasks. Solo work, collaboration, coworking – the beauty of hybrid is that one space doesn’t have to fit all. Flexible work bends to the needs of the employee, offering employees the ability to procure the right office for the right job function, the office they need when and where they need it, by the hour, day, month or year.
Creating the right hybrid workspace strategy for your business
Because of the pandemic, because of the way we work now, hybrid workplace demand engagement continues to rise. No office? No problem. Supply is expanding to meet the challenge, and flexible offices are trending to exceed pre-pandemic levels (just take a look at our recent Happy People Workplace Index…) There are offices for people in places where they don’t have an office, in places where no one has an office. If anything, the growing supply of remote office space has made the question of what type or types of physical space a company needs more relevant than ever.
If your workers are increasingly dispersed, your teams, increasingly distributed, factoring hybrid into your company’s workplace strategy is essential.
Here’s what to keep in mind as you do it:
1. Consider where your space needs to be located. Maybe it’s a hot desk or private office in a primary U.S. market like One WTC in Manhattan. Maybe it’s a meeting space in a farther flung location like Kalispell, Montana. Maybe you need a network of spaces close to where your employees reside. Maybe you need a centralized hub for culture building and organizational alignment.
2. Consider what types of space are available. Consider what impact the environment you provide for your team has on the work they do. Different spaces types are conducive to different forms of work – concentration, collaboration, coworking. Additionally, employees may need hot desks, private offices, and/or conference rooms to accomplish their tasks. You may need to accommodate meetings, brainstorming sessions, client presentations.
3. Quality of environment matters, too. Natural light? Ergonomic chairs and dual display monitors? Lightning-fast internet speed? What matters most to your workers? How flexible will your physical space need to be? Health and safety protocols will certainly be a priority, particularly for spaces focused on collaboration and coworking.
Embrace change with optimism (and flexibility)
Recognizing that they must transform to be competitive, organizations of all sizes – F1000 multinational enterprises, dynamic startups, small businesses and solopreneurs – representing a diverse cross-section of industry verticals – are embracing flexibility and choice as they consider their approach to work and space.
Most companies now acknowledge that the future of work is hybrid. But employees are still going to occasionally need an office. The value of providing access to coworking space so they have options at their disposal is a key to hybrid success. For that matter, it’s still possible to get a lot of value out of the office, particularly when it’s not always the same office. Employees have different needs and priorities. Those needs and priorities extend to physical space. While businesses may vary, the availability of remote office space has become a constant. The variety of space on offer is making it possible to tailor the task to the space, bringing form and function into perfect alignment, and putting the concept of the office to work for your organization in exciting new ways.
LiquidSpace is the leading global on-demand office marketplace, enabling companies and their employees to simply discover, evaluate and book professional coworking, meeting and office spaces by the hour, day, month or year.