The pandemic has proven that not being in an office does not come at the expense of productivity and there has been a significant shift in the way we work. Businesses of all sizes are now exploring options on how their staff will work from now on. The options can be anything along the spectrum of back to the office on one end and fully remote on the other end. In between these two are several degrees of hybrid working.
Employee surveys are not uncommon for companies that are open to exploring options. The decision for a hybrid workplace solution is then tailored to the needs of their workforce. There is a variety of options in this employee-driven approach:
With this workplace solution, a company does not have a formal office. Every employee from interns to C-level-management and directors are working remotely. Some define it as “working from home”, others take a work-from-anywhere (WFA) approach. They use this opportunity for workcations and longer trips abroad. Business owners and HR managers should consider a few aspects for a remote-first company.
Apart from technology to facilitate remote team collaboration, the HR policies for remote work should define where employees are allowed to work from and where not, e.g. within the UK or abroad, from home or from anywhere. Insurance and tax regulations are important in this approach. Employees certainly appreciate an allowance for a home office set up to remove the need for sofa working or the kitchen table office.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio
On-demand access to workspaces
An allowance to purchase a desk, an ergonomic chair or a separate screen is a great gesture, but it might not be what employees want. Not everybody enjoys the full-time home office and would rather work from a café or a coworking space. There is a solution for these employees too via memberships for on-demand workspaces. Each employee could decide where they would like to work from on any given day. This could be a coffee shop around the corner or near the nursery where they pick-up their children or a coworking space in town. With on-demand access, it could be any workspace included in the membership. At Othership, this means a few hundred workspaces all across the UK by the hour or daily. Employees in London can benefit from the same package than employees in Manchester or Edinburgh.
A similar approach to on-demand workspaces is a workspace allowance for employees. Instead of taking a membership for them, the employer leaves the decision to their staff. Each team member can decide what to use the workspace allowance for. It could be an on-demand membership or the rent of a fixed desk in a coworking space or any other option that works for the individual team member.
Multi-location office memberships
This hybrid workplace solution works in a similar way as the on-demand membership but focuses on office networks. The offices are in different locations and it is usually one office space provider who manages them all. This is at the same time a restriction: Such memberships usually offer a wide range of locations, but they still aren’t everywhere. Before a company signs up for such a solution with a workspace provider, it is worth verifying that all employees will have a workspace within a reasonable distance from their homes.
There has been a shift in the way we work. This does not mean that one way replaced the other, it is much more a broadening of options. The traditional way is still as valid as any other workplace solution and private offices are still much-needed for many. This could be a small head office that employees can use, a medium-sized office with hot desks for half the company to use at any time up to a large office space with fixed desks for each team member.
Offices often come with long leases, and it is, therefore, important to establish the exact need of a company before signing any agreements. Choosing the perfect office is as exciting as it is important for a business and should not be rushed. Questions like “How many employees need a desk in the office?” and “How many days per week is the team expected to be in the office?” should be answered before a decision is made. Othership has numerous partnerships with office providers and experienced business advisors to guide companies toward their new home.
Changes to your existing office
In some cases, a company might already have the right solution. A few months of post-pandemic working can provide the answer a business is looking for. How is the current solution working? An existing office could be adapted to the new situation. For example by adding or removing a few desks, improving a desk booking system, or replacing a few desks with sofas or a coffee area.
A combination of the above
The employee-driven approach is likely to demand a hybrid solution where some employees prefer to work from home, others prefer a desk in an office and the rest would like to work from anywhere. This adds complexity to the search for a workspace and requires flexible office solutions. Feasibility and cost are only some of the considerations. As a pioneer in flo-working, Othership has a large network of workspaces and a dedicated team to help any business find the solution that works for them.