Many companies and workers are wondering whether it's time to return to the office. But after a year and a half working from home, workers have very specific expectations of their office. How can you...
The last two years have fundamentally changed the landscape of work — but that could be a good thing for the workplace experience. What have we learned about workplaces properly geared to hybrid working? And how can we leverage those learnings in the future?
The concept of "the workplace" used to be simple. It was physical, it was static, and it was reliable. But over the course of 2020 and 2021, our workplaces have been transformed by an unprecedented health crisis.
Today, a workplace is a collection of people, connected by a combination of physical spaces and digital connections. And workplaces around the world are seeing the benefits of this seismic shift in the workplace experience.
Landlords may look at the advent of hybridisation as a negative — my occupiers are in the building less than before, on average — but we predict, and are seeing the emergence of, an opposing outcome: When occupiers do come in, and come in of their own volition, the time they spend in the workplace is more structured, meaningful, and productive. Of course, landlords can enhance these benefits even further with the implementation of in-demand technologies and physical amenities (more on this later).
What is a hybrid model and how does it impact workplace experience?
Hybrid workplaces are not new, but the concept has gained new prominence as a result of the COVID pandemic. The hybrid model simply describes a workplace where employees are working both in the office and remotely.
Many workplaces are now looking to use the hybrid model indefinitely, allowing their employees more flexibility in order to boost satisfaction and productivity. Flexibility is the key word here.
Flexibility — for employers and employees
At this point, the importance of flexibility is clear. If there's one message that should ring loud and clear, it's this: the workplace can change at the drop of a hat in ways we can't predict. Most workplaces were forced to adapt to the COVID pandemic on the fly, scaling up pre-existing remote work capabilities or creating them in a mad dash.
But as a result of this past couple of years, many companies now have robust remote work capabilities in place. And as the world begins to shift to a post-pandemic state of normalcy, it's time for each company to choose what its future will look like. They can choose to pursue a traditional physical workspace or move toward a hybrid model.
Maintaining remote work capabilities should be a high priority for businesses. As seen over 2020 and 2021, businesses that were able to immediately implement remote plans suffered less. By continuing to allow for remote and in-office work, businesses can ensure they're ready for any unexpected changes in the future. And the good news is that they can do it without any hit to worker productivity!
Our recent Global Office Tenant Report found a marked increase in reported productivity for WFH employees over the last year. In 2020, only 33.64% of employees found themselves to be more productive working remotely. In 2021, that number has spiked to 46.35%. In fact, as of this year, a whopping 85.96% of remote employees report being more or equally productive at home.
Empower workers to control their own workplace experience
This new emphasis on remote work has shown work-from-home to be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the lack of commute, additional time for self-care, and personal control over workspace have all contributed to greater employee satisfaction. However, issues such as isolation and loneliness have also been noted.
During the rolling lockdowns of the past 18 months, this has been restrictive. However, if employees are free to choose the workspace that suits their day-to-day needs, they are empowered to boost their own satisfaction. And Equiem provides the tools to do this dynamically. By combining a hybrid workplace with in-office hot-desking, employees will be free to choose their optimal workplace experience on any given day.
Lowered costs for everyone
The flexibility that comes with hybrid workplaces translates to more manageable costs for everyone. For workers, a radically reduced commute saves them money every week. Remote work for a few days each week may even allow them to relocate to an area with better costs of living.
But it's not just employees that stand to save money under a hybrid model. Everyone from building management to employers can get in on the cost-cutting. Employers can optimise their space, affording more space to each employee — a key component of workplace satisfaction. Companies experiencing growth will even be able to save money on relocation expenses, with a hybrid workplace more able to handle an increase in staff without requiring significant real estate investment.
Building managers can even offer flex-space businesses within their assets, using Equiem to hire out space in the building as is needed to create an ongoing source of revenue.
Workers WANT to spend time in good offices
For employers planning to return their workers to the office, it may seem like workers would rather stay remote. But according to a 2021 Leesman Review Report, employees actually want to spend time in the office. Here's the kicker, though — not just any office will do.
The quality of the workplace experience is directly related to the amount of time that workers would like to spend in the office. If employees perceive their office as providing a better workplace experience, they will spend more days per week there on average.
Workers want the office to be more than just a place to work. They want it to be a social and community hub where they can collaborate and share experiences with their coworkers.
Equiem gives you all the tools to elevate tenant and user experiences in your buildings. You can organise social events and foster a sense of real community for your occupants. On top of that, a range of needs-based tools can improve a worker's daily experience while also boosting their productivity. Employees will see the combination of convenience and culture as a substantial benefit, and they will choose to spend more time at the office.
Quality is key — the Equiem tenant experience
It may come as a surprise to some, but we've seen time and time again that employees value their office. But they value it in a way that is directly related to its effect on their productivity and job satisfaction. A one-size-fits-all approach will never be able to serve all employees all of the time. And employers will pay in lower levels of productivity and higher rates of turnover.
Equiem equips workplaces with the toolkit they need to elevate their employees' workplace satisfaction. Hot-desking allows users to choose to work at the office with total flexibility. Event planning can foster a sense of community and culture vital to today's workplaces. And Equiem's needs-based tools such as eCommerce can improve the convenience of office-based work for employees.
When implemented with Equiem's full range of features, a hybrid workplace can be very powerful. You'll create more satisfied, more productive employees. And when given the freedom to choose their environment, they'll choose the office with greater frequency.
Because it works for them too.
The future of the workplace is one with greater freedom... and greater rewards. Be ready for it! Book a demo with us today and see our tenant and workplace experience technology suite in action.