[Blog] What is a Hybrid Workplace Model?

Sep 21st, 2021
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Managing your workforce isn't simply about which teams are working at the office or who is operating from home: the future of work is now a balance of both. That’s exactly what the hybrid workplace model offers and why it’s rapidly gaining traction across the globe. More than half (54%) of employees surveyed around the world said they would consider leaving their jobs if they are not given some form of flexibility regarding where and when they work.

"It's time for companies to rethink the workplace with an emphasis on safety, flexibility, employee experience and reduced costs as we balance between back to work and work from home.” Smarten Spaces Founder and CEO Dinesh Malkani

How do you successfully operationalize hybrid work? Who should be in the office and when? How will this impact office space needs—and office design? How will it affect employee experience, occupancy rates, and real estate portfolios? These are some of the key questions facing organizations as they look to implement this workplace strategy. However, a hybrid work model isn’t just simply allowing half your employees to work from home once a week and asking the other half to come into the office. In order to reap its many rewards, a successful hybrid work model needs to be carefully thought out, ensuring your employees are able to work efficiently and collaborate effectively. When done right, the benefits of a hybrid workplace extend far beyond mere convenience.

What Is a Hybrid Workplace?

Hybrid work offers employees the flexibility to choose where (and when) they work, balancing time between the office and home. The result is that teams once gathered in an office now form hybrid teams, connected via technology rather than being in the same physical space. The notion of a flexible schedule allows individuals to work when they feel motivated or creative, even if it's 3 in the morning.

This flexibility—eliminating frustrating commutes, devoting extra time for professional development, personal wellness, or family—supports a healthier work-life balance. A well-managed hybrid work model makes it possible for organizations to define and create a better future for their employees that is flexible, digital, and rewarding. Companies no longer need to exclusively hire people who live or are willing to relocate to major cities where their offices are. Seventy-two percent of CEOs surveyed by KPMG said working remotely has widened their potential talent pool with attendant upswings in productivity and employee satisfaction.

“Work from anywhere” is the new mantra and the flexibility that a hybrid workplace model provides allows employees to schedule work around their lives, rather than constructing the rest of their workdays around office hours. Hybrid work strikes the right balance between structure and sociability and independence and flexibility.

Different Hybrid Models

A one-size-fits-all approach goes against the very grain of what the model is intended to create. Teams have their own working preferences that make them productive. People thrive when spaces are convenient, and Smarten Spaces’ AI-powered solution—featuring desk management with booking recommendations, smart meeting room booking, and powerful analytics—is designed to enhance the way people experience workspaces in a changing world.

Different approaches enable you to tailor your hybrid workplace model to fit your unique business requirements.

Remote-First Model

his approach assumes that most of the employees are working in remote locations, often in different time zones. This approach must emphasize interconnectivity and the ability for team members to stay up to date on key developments. Smarten Spaces’ Hybrid Scheduler allows managers and employees to plan the most productive and engaging hybrid schedules to optimize team collaboration.

An Occasional Office Model

This version assumes that employees will be in the office part of the week, while exercising remote work options the rest of the time. This kind of set-up benefits from scheduled seating and hot desking features which Smarten Spaces’ all-in-one app provides. Our Desk Management feature enables desk booking and allocation, real-time occupancy and utilization, and space optimization. The AI-based optimal seat allocation feature ensures smart workforce rostering, along with recommendations on demand and supply in a flexible workplace—effectively managing requests for more or less space, service requests, as well as in-office recommendations for seating arrangements.

The Office-Preferred Model

This hybrid workplace model assumes a largely office-centric staff with remote work taking place perhaps one or two days a week. An emphasis on safety is thus paramount. The safety feature on the Smarten Spaces platform enables you to control the number of employees coming to your workplace, configure limits to prevent overcrowding in the office, and allow smart visitor and employee flow management in compliance with regulations. The intuitive app also facilitates auto social distancing, smart cleaning, and contactless access.

Key Benefits of Hybrid Workplace Model

While remote or hybrid work is much more than a novelty that emerged in 2020 when COVID struck, the pandemic has had a huge impact on how these alternative working arrangements are implemented and perceived. It also demonstrated that remote or hybrid work might be viable long-term options for improved productivity, employee satisfaction, and bottom lines.

The numbers support this.

Research by Mercer has revealed that 94% of US employers say they have observed productivity levels remaining the same or increasing compared to everyday pre-pandemic work. Separately, a white paper by Global Workplace Analytics state that companies could collectively save over $500 billion annually or almost $11,000 per employee who equally divides their working hours between the office and home.

Increased Productivity

The experiences of the past year have dispelled the notion that allowing employees to work from home would make them less productive. Remote workers, in fact, have proven to be more productive than their in-person counterparts. In addition, the same technology that enables dispersed teams to collaborate and communicate facilitates more effective work interactions between in-person and remote employees.

Improved Employee Satisfaction

The hybrid work model grants employees more flexibility when it comes to when and where they can work. This increased autonomy (structuring work around their lives) improves their satisfaction in their job resulting in a highly motivated workforce. Increased employee satisfaction will reduce staff turnover and this means savings on the often expensive process of finding and training new candidates to fill vacant roles.

Reduced Business Costs

Raised productivity and higher employee satisfaction levels lead to a third benefit: reduced costs for your business. By shrinking an office footprint, companies could perhaps rent parts of the office to other entities or move to a smaller building altogether. Fewer people in the office means some companies might also choose just to rent a coworking space instead. This further decreases utility bills and the need for other office resources, thus lowering the overall costs of property maintenance.

Easily Transition to a Hybrid Workplace Model with Smarten Spaces

A hybrid work model can significantly increase your organization's productivity, position you as an employer of choice, and help you to attract and retain the best and brightest in your industry. Many companies are discovering, to the benefit of both their company and their employees, that smartly managing a workforce that divides time between the office, home, and other locations is the sweet spot.

Smarten Spaces has the flexible solutions to help you hit that hybrid sweet spot, with our dynamic workplace experience breakthrough leveraging AI technology that brings the workplace and workforce together.

Smarten Spaces is the first company in the world to deliver a comprehensive SAAS solution for the digital workplace. Focusing on digitizing spaces for enterprises, commercial real estate, coworking, co-living, and warehousing, we offer workplace safety and flexibility on a single technology platform to help businesses manage their spaces effectively. Schedule an Interactive Workplace Demo today, and let us show you how our hybrid workplaces and other digital solutions can transform your employee experience.