AI-Powered Office Space Planning for a Hybrid Workplace
Three years into the Covid-19 pandemic, it has become clear – hybrid working isn’t temporary. A work-life in which employees split their time between the office and working remotely is now the working model of choice for over 40% of employers in the United States.
Hybrid working has proven research-based benefits for employee productivity and wellbeing.
However, it does not come without its challenges. In a post-pandemic era where hybrid workplaces are officially the new normal, designing a working environment that promotes productivity and meets the needs of employees and employers alike is one of the most crucial issues for most companies.
Rethinking your hybrid workplace behavior? In this article, we’ll examine the pros and cons of this new working model and the design strategies for getting it right. Then, we will look at different layout models for hybrid workplaces to help you optimize your hybrid office.
- Office Space Planning 101
- How To Optimize Your Office Space Planning?
- How Well-Designed Offices Affect Company Performance
The Pros and Cons of a Hybrid Working Environment
Hybrid working is a relatively new concept for most companies, but it is time-tested and researched in some industries. Despite over 80% of employees reporting they are just as or more productive since going remote or hybrid, 54% of leaders fear productivity has been negatively impacted since the shift. Hybrid working has benefits that actually contribute significantly to employee productivity and wellbeing. The pros of hybrid working include:
- Job satisfaction: Most employees agree that the flexibility of hybrid working has increased their job satisfaction. In fact, a recent study found that remote, and hybrid employees were 22% happier and stayed in their jobs longer.
- Work-life balance: with less commute and more work in the home environment, 75% of hybrid workers report an improvement in their work-life balance and, therefore, in their well-being.
- Physical health: with improved mental health and work-life balance, hybrid workers are empowered to invest more in their physical health. 75% of workers report they move more frequently and have a more active lifestyle thanks to hybrid working.
- Comfort in work: most hybrid workers say that since starting to work more remotely, their workplaces have improved in comfort and culture. With more comfortable spaces, employees’ well-being increases as well.
Despite the encouraging data, hybrid working is not always a seamless, flexible experience between the office and the home. For many companies, it poses new challenges, such as:
- Syncing schedules: with more variation in employees’ schedules and locations, hybrid working makes it difficult to coordinate in-person meetings.
- Stagnation: according to the Office of National Statistics, employees who work from home are less likely to get a promotion. This can affect company culture, creating low morale and lower employee engagement.
- Loneliness: 55% of hybrid employees report feeling lonelier at work than when they worked fully in person. Working remotely can also harm colleague relationships and teamwork.
Thankfully, overcoming these challenges is possible, and designing an optimized work environment for a hybrid workplace has an important role in supporting the model.
Redesigning Office Space for a Flexible Work Environment
Designing a successful workplace environment that accommodates hybrid working requires rethinking and strategizing office design. Starting from the space you’re leasing, all the way to how you configure your office layout, if well planned, every factor in your layout planning can contribute to a better, more productive work environment.
What is a hybrid office layout?
A hybrid office layout, also known as a flexible office, can vary depending on your industry, company size, and nature of work. However, in general, a hybrid office layout usually refers to a layout based on workers’ absence rather than their presence. Hybrid office space planning considers flexibility, comfort, and dynamism. As the office becomes not a mandatory space, it should become a privilege – providing employees with the added value they cannot receive at home.
Hybrid office layouts will usually prioritize common areas such as meeting rooms, leisure areas, a well-equipped kitchen, and open space. This shift in priority is designed to promote collaboration, creativity, and even work-based friendships to compensate for what’s missing at home.
Layout Ideas for Your Hybrid Office
In the last three years of remote working, architects and designers have tested different layouts and strategies for hybrid environments. One of the most popular and promising themes is Activity-based Working (ABW), an approach that focuses on customized layouts tailored to accommodate the specific working behaviors and culture of the company.
While this approach is all about customization, there are a few repeating principles and templates that provide a framework for it. Here are a few office layout ideas to help you get inspired as you rethink your hybrid workplace.
#1 Hot Desking
Hot desking is a type of workplace in which most employees don’t have a permanent sitting. As employees mainly work remotely, they can reserve a particular desk in advance when they need to come to the office.
Hot desking allows for fewer workstations in the office, saving space and cost. In this layout, the conference and meeting rooms are separate from workstations, promoting the usage of the office for necessary collaboration.
#2 The Office as a Second Home
One of the things employees like best about remote working is the comfort of their space; the ability to change position, cook their food and take more breaks. The old, stiff layout of the office is not compelling for the remote worker, for whom traveling to the office can feel like a tedious task.
Prioritizing leisure areas in the office layout can help encourage employees to come more frequently. Things such as a functioning kitchen, comfortable furniture, gaming stations, or even sleeping pods can respond to this demand and make the office a place where employees want to work from.
#3 Boardroom focused
In many corporate offices, the boardroom has the same old round table and gray color palette look. Another strategy to make the office more appealing for hybrid workers without losing its functionality is focusing on innovative board rooms equipped with new technology and providing a seamless experience that will be hard to recreate remotely.
Additions like high-quality video and audio, multiple monitors, a set of cameras and microphones, and more comfortable sitting can totally change the in-person meeting experience. Moreover, in the architectural layout of a board room-focused office, the entire floor plan can revolve around the meeting room, making it accessible, appealing, and more productive.
Automated Hybrid Office Planning – Done in Seconds
In a hybrid work model, the office has stiff competition – employees’ homes. Planning an office space that is both engaging and exciting while staying productive and efficient requires many considerations and customization.
With qbiq, you can plan the optimal hybrid office for your company – in seconds. qbiq’s layout planning package allows you to enter your specific requirements and, with no architectural knowledge or expertise, generate optimized layout plans tailored for your needs.
Want to hear more about what qbiq can do for your business? Request a demo