Before the pandemic, most employees saw the office as the only place where work can be done. This quickly changed due to lockdowns and restrictions. Now that vaccines are being rolled out and the world is beginning to reemerge into a post-pandemic era, the role of physical offices has also changed. 

Instead of being the only place where work can be done, offices may become places to carry out site-specific tasks or collaborate in-person with team members. Companies are now beginning to transition into the ‘hybrid’ office, where work is done part of the time at home, and part of the time in office buildings. 

The hybrid model is growing in popularity as both working from home and working from an office have their own benefits. Working from home provides employees with more ways to juggle responsibilities concerning work and family. The physical office will remain open, however, to provide a space to better cultivate connections, collaboration, and company culture.

An article published by Harvard Business Review states that the office space is still needed to provide “a social anchor” for employees. Though working from home provides many benefits, employees may feel fatigued with back-to-back virtual meetings and online communication. A physical office space allows employees to foster stronger emotional connections through nonverbal and environmental cues. An office environment also offers employees a healthy shift in mindset that a work-from-home setup may not provide.

Companies Are Shifting to Hybrid Work Setups

A study by the McKinsey Global Institute shows that the pandemic has forced companies to rethink the ways that work is structured. This has led to remodeling cultural and technological systems to help enable remote work. This has also led to a permanent shift in how employees view work and productivity.

Many organizations are aware, however, that allowing all employees to permanently work remotely is difficult, especially when certain tasks need specific tools or spaces to be executed. Some companies are finding it difficult to facilitate employee training and coaching remotely. Others are struggling to find the best way to provide work-life balance as well as the right tools for efficiency and remote collaboration. This is why top global companies have introduced the “Flex” work setup, allowing workers to choose certain days when they go to the office. 

This will impact not only office cultures but urban environments. Economists predict that the flexible structure will have many great effects on various aspects of city living, including transportation, gasoline prices, retail in urban centers, and demand for office real estate.

Two of the companies that have pioneered the shift to the “Flex” setup are Google and Hubspot. Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced that workers are expected to spend time in the office only three days a week. Around 60% of its employees will be on a hybrid work setup. Hubspot, meanwhile, is also providing its employees flexible work options. Eimear Marrinan, Hubspot Director of Culture, said that their company culture “does not need four walls to thrive," and that it is instead rooted in their values, people, and mission. 

The Future of Work is Here

Employees need the right tools so they can transition seamlessly to a flexible work setup. One solution is Autonomous 360° by Hybrid.ai. It provides employees the needed software to allow them to remain autonomous, regardless of whether they choose to work at home or inside the office. Hybrid also has a team of experts to provide employees with the needed knowledge, skills, and additional tools to aid in their transition. 

Though employees will work in various locations and have different schedules, this doesn’t mean that it will become difficult for managers to track productivity. Autonomous 360° provides people management tools to keep track of employee site preferences and schedules through a central platform. Workplace analytics will also allow team leaders to better understand productivity data and adjust accordingly. 

Those who will choose to remain in the office will be provided dynamic workspaces to foster collaboration and creativity. The space management software provided will help employees book and track office spaces and resources being used.

Various companies are now powered by Hybrid’s Autonomous 360°. These include large tech companies such as Google, Microsoft, Intel, Apple, Shopify, and Adobe. It also includes those in the finance sector, such as Deloitte, Allstate, and Finix. Universities and colleges have also utilized Hybrid’s solutions, such as New York University, the University of Michigan, and Stanford.

The future of work is flexible. Now that cities are beginning to reemerge from lockdowns and restrictions, businesses need to apply the benefits gained from remote work setups during the pandemic. Solutions to further boost productivity and systems that allow employees more options need to be put in place. However, many companies are still wondering whether they need to spend much just to build new infrastructure or create new systems. It turns out that they don’t need to look far for the answer. Hybrid.ai has already provided the solution.