The five-day, in-office work week is a thing of the past. Many of us now split our time between home and the workplace, a set-up that before the COVID-19 pandemic was uncommon, enviable, and often won through tenure or tough negotiation. In the two years since the wide scale implementation of a hybrid work model across the country, debate has roiled around if this model is wanted and worthwhile long term.
The answer is a resounding “yes” and we have the data to back it up. In the summer of 2020, Gensler’s Research Institute polled 2,300 large office workers to ask them their opinions on the hybrid work model. Over half of the respondents reported liking it and wanted it to be permanent. And according to Forbes, we now have two years’ worth of data to show that this model is actually beneficial to employees.
That begs the question: In this new hybrid world, what is the office for? And how do we design for these new requirements? Read on for four design tips on how to create a high-functioning hybrid office.
Design for Collaboration
The work day is a balance of focus and collaboration. A desk, whether at home or in the office, is an excellent place for quiet work. But what about working together? According to Gensler’s research, those in a hybrid model “are more likely to feel connected and engaged” with their coworkers and company than those who rely strictly on communicating through remote means.
Heartwork’s brings those conversations off of the computer and back into the real world, serving as a great place for formal and informal “touchdowns” in a hybrid work environment. And, Heartwork's Building Block Workbars can be configured with lockers, storage cabinets, bookcases, and lateral files, so that everything a team needs can be organized and accessed all in one place.
Design for Easy Coming and Going
In the hybrid office, flexibility is key. In fact, in JABRA’s 2021 Global Report on hybrid ways of working, employees valued flexibility even more than salary. But flexibility isn’t possible without a culture of trust — between co-workers, employees and bosses, and the wider office community — which is harder to establish when an employee’s office attendance is irregular. One way companies can help to establish a culture of trust is by providing a secure place for personal effects on the days employees are in-office. Shared lockers, like Heartwork’s Basecamp and Building Block lockers communicate full acceptance of the hybrid work model. They also enable seamless transitions between in-office and at-home work throughout the work week while providing spontaneous moments of reconnection between workers.
Design for a Cultural of Common Purpose
Creating connection in the office isn’t limited to face-to-face interaction; a shared purpose and culture can unite people, too. Many companies nowadays have sustainability built into the way they do business, but only in the wake of the new hybrid work model has the understanding that the health of the physical workplace — “wellness” in design parlance — is just as important. According to industrial designerJoe Doucet, wellness isn’t “something that companies [should] engage in to make productivity better for their employees. It needs to be far more endemic.”
Heartwork’s Active Duty Recycling Credenza satisfies the goals of both frameworks. In addition to being built from recycled and recyclable materials, Heartwork’s Active Duty Recycling Credenzas are Greenguard GOLD certified ensuring that they are healthy to be around, offering a convenient and well-appointed way to be earth-first.
Design for Optimized Organization
The hybrid office demands a bit more personal organization from employees than the pre-pandemic office. Having dedicated places for items or papers that should remain at the office can remove the worry about leaving something necessary behind at home. Additionally, studies have shown that clutter can negatively affect focus, especially if it overwhelms your visual field. Keeping desks at work organized and clutter free can make the transition between working at home and in the office easier and more productive.
Accessories like Heartwork’s Perforated Baskets, Filing Baskets, and Monitor Stands, available in 10 exclusive Heartwork finishes, are the ideal solutions for hybrid work organization.