As more and more employees start to re-integrate into the workplace in the most flexible manner we’ve ever seen, there’s one conversation that is still very much in mid-flow – what exactly is the role of an office for today’s hybrid workforce?
Whether dedicated offices are actually needed or not isn’t, it appears, up for debate. It’s widely acknowledged that an office environment nurtures a sense of collaboration, increased productivity and mental wellbeing that simply cannot be achieved when working virtually from home. However, the role an office plays for an organisation’s employees is changing already and there are some interesting views as to what the model could look like in the future.
There is a growing trend towards ‘hub’ offices. This concept recognises that when employees are completing a certain kind of work, such as that which requires quiet concentration or virtual collaboration across international teams, this can probably be most effectively completed at home or in an alternative flexible environment. As such, the office becomes a place where employees and other stakeholders can come together in a creative, collaborative sense to progress projects, drive forward initiatives and develop ideas; all of the things that are best served in person. Remember offices and workplaces should be human-centric.
Features of an Office Hub
The traditional set-up of row after row of desks has gone in a hub environment, replaced instead with agile and flexible meeting zones. Office hubs maximise the space available, using clever partitions, purposeful furniture and technology-driven collaboration tools to facilitate everything from a quick huddle to all-staff town halls and everything in between.
A hub will typically feature multiple breakout areas in additional to small collaborative spaces that allow micro-meetings, quiet working areas for teams who want to come together for the day, a variety of meeting rooms and often dedicated space that meets the ‘hot desk’ need of hybrid workers.
Adapting to the Hub Model
Adapting workspaces to the hub concept will support the future of hybrid working and enhance the employee experience going forward. As society restarts its connection with being back in the workplace, a more creative approach to the space available is needed. It can help enable employees to attach value the office environment as a place that has purpose and relevance, rather than as an outdated symbol of presenteeism. In today’s hybrid and agile workplace, that’s a perception that matters.