Update – Hybrid working is here to stay
WE HAVE SPENT A LOT OF TIME DISCUSSING HYBRID PLANNING MODELS WITH EXISTING AND NEW CLIENTS. THE TOPICS ARE DIVERSE AND INCLUDE ‘HOW TO PERSUADE STAFF BACK TO THE OFFICE’ AND ‘HOW TO ENSURE WE ARE GOING TO MAKE INFORMED CHOICES ABOUT WHAT TO INCLUDE’.
Many businesses are saying that they worked well remotely and that they are in no hurry to return to the pre-covid five-day week in the office. They are, however, concerned with how office space will need to function in the long term, with a workforce having fully adapted to new work patterns over the last two years. Most companies have realised that they probably do not need as much space, and with space being such an expensive fixed cost, it is certainly worth considering how much is needed and how best to use it. It is still less than certain how things will change, but there is a pattern forming. There have been positive and negative experiences to be taken from our enforced ‘Working from Home’ regime and we are formulating a standardised plan of action to take us forward.
Companies are now reviewing how they operate so that they both create the right office environment for the future (and in all likelihood save space and money) and build on the positive feedback from the WFH experience. It seems unlikely that we will be drifting back to how we worked before, but we all seem keen to arrive at a hybrid pattern of working both in the office and from home. Clearly, understanding how we quantify what is needed is key.
We are re-evaluating our work patterns to permanently include alternative locations for different tasks and sensible developments are:
- More Collaboration Space - redesigning our offices as somewhere to spend more time collaborating with less space for solitary working.
- Effective Home Working - ensuring we all have the option to make home working the most productive it can be.
- Effective Booking Systems - ensuring we implement simple booking systems to enable staff to plan ahead and book the spaces they need.
WORKING FROM HOME
We all seem to have identified the same positives and negatives with WFH. We need to track how they impact on the various spaces we now need.
- Improved productivity for concentrated tasks, often less disruption/distraction.
- Easy-to-arrange meetings through Video Conferencing and they both start and generally finish on time.
- Time and money savings with reduced commute.
- Reduced printing and therefore using less paper and consumables.
- Massive environmental benefits with a 17% global reduction in Greenhouse gases on 2019.
- Maybe too many distractions at home depending on your office setup.
- Health and safety issues resulting from substandard office equipment and bad time management.
- Human interaction is needed for wellbeing and motivation albeit more so for some of us than others.
- Some tasks are just better done face-to-face.
After an unexpected positive reduction in pollution from the lockdown, we are now seeing global warming on an unprecedented level. It would seem scandalous to ignore the effect WFH has had on reducing our carbon footprints and hybrid working could offer the best solution possible.
However, we are now aware that some of us just need to work from the office for our mental wellbeing and most businesses are now ensuring access to permanent desk space for specific people and functions. They are also incorporating wellbeing initiatives into their planning models.