Is your business ready for hybrid working?

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Natalie Rice, Creative Director of Sagal Group, addresses some hybrid (work from) home truths.

‘83% of workers ‘identified a hybrid model as being optimal in the future’.’ Accenture ‘Future of Work Study 2021’

It’s time to face facts.

There’s no turning back the clock or getting the genie back in the bottle.

Like it or not, hybrid working is here to stay. This model of work, identified in the Accenture Future of Work Study 2021 as ‘The ability to work remotely 25%-75% of the time’, should lead to an energised and productive workforce, if handled correctly.

But, frankly, that’s a big ‘if’.

No awards for originality will be given to anyone who points out that, before the pandemic, many offices were not the ideal working spaces. After a lifetime of commuting to an office where they’re often crammed into unconducive spaces for 8 hours a day, there can be little surprise so many employees wholeheartedly embraced the homeworking lifestyle when lockdown necessitated it. Without the need to travel or make small talk with Darren from accounts, workers lapped up the relative freedoms of their work from home lifestyle.

2 years later and the homeworking honeymoon is over. Employees are sick of endless Zoom calls, work invading their home lives and the constant need to juggle conflicting responsibilities.

The rise of hybrid working has to be seen as a reaction to both work models. Like sugar-crazed kids in the glory days of Woolworths, workers want to Pick ‘n’ Mix their own selection of the best bits from both approaches.

Hybrid working allows employees to experience all those things they missed when they were stuck at home: group creativity, mentoring, onboarding, socialising and the like. It also keeps the best bits of homeworking: the avoidance of daily commutes, the freedom to structure a workday and the ability to concentrate away from the distractions of an office environment.

So, is your business ready for hybrid working? If it isn’t, it needs to be. There’s no opting out. The truth is any business that doesn’t embrace this hybrid model is inevitably going to haemorrhage talent and lag behind competitors. Telling new team members that you don’t facilitate hybrid working is going to be like announcing you’ve still got dial-up internet.

What’s vitally important is curating a vibrant office space where hybrid workers will want to spend time. The office needs to be worth the commute. A true destination office, where teams can easily and comfortably engage in the types of activities that are best done face-to-face (meetings, mentoring, brainstorms), becomes the heart of a business; the hub around which hybrid workers rotate.

  • Is your office a destination?
  • What about your office will make your people want to be there, rather than at home?
  • How are you going to make your employees fall in love with being in the office again?

If you can’t answer these questions, I’d suggest your business isn’t ready for hybrid working. This is a problem.

Perhaps you need help from a company that specialises in activity-based working spaces that turn an office into a destination. One comes to mind. Now, what was its name again?

Natalie Rice, Creative Director Sagal Group.

Your office should serve as the centre of your business. It should ooze everything that defines you, your dreams, your mission, and your culture.

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