Work from home, work from the office, work from anywhere — these terms and acronyms are now customary on job listings. Where companies traditionally offered positions requiring a person to work from a physical office, many of those same employees were sent home during the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Now, about a year and a half later, we're seeing a new shift. The firm here or there is regularly replaced with a hybrid workplace, allowing people to mix up their schedule with WFA — Work From Anywhere and WFO — Work From Office.
HR Professionals have been inundated with feedback from employees as they work through these transitional periods. The overwhelming response tells the story — employees want more choices and they don’t want to return to the office every day. It’s time we create solutions to accommodate these desires while fostering an environment for continued productivity.
Many of today’s millennials are balancing work, life, hobbies, families, and even children. Remaining present outside of work is easier when they can cut the commute from time to time. In turn, these individuals are happier and feel seen and respected. Happier employees are more productive and loyal.
Studies show these traits also have positive effects on mental and physical health. Catering to this demographic is a win-win. Let’s look at what a hybrid workplace looks like and the structures companies around the world utilize. It’s important to embrace this change and we want to provide the inspiration for you to improve your organization.
What does a Hybrid Workplace Structure Look Like?
A hybrid workplace will look a bit different for every organization, but generally speaking, these companies are choosing to keep their office instead of relying solely on work-from-home employees. You may find fewer formal desks and offices and more open concept workstations and meeting rooms.
For most companies, there’s often a mix of work styles based on position requirements. A customer or employee-facing a role will have more requirements for working in the office compared to their co-workers in, say, knowledge, administrative, or finance roles.
Allowing those that were previously required to work 100% from home a bit more flexibility and choice are often enjoying the new balance. They can engage with their team and gain social interaction when at the office but remain productive and comfortable when choosing to work at home.
And of course, the new WFA (Work From Anywhere) options is a concept more and more are embracing. But it’s not only HR departments. Hotels, resorts, and destinations around the world are marketing to these digital nomads and remote workers, encouraging them to change their scenery by offering an atmosphere suited for working by day and vacationing by night — or by whatever schedule they choose for that matter.
Companies Offering a Hybrid Workplace
Salesforce has embraced the changes forced upon its workforce. Their Flex workers are primarily remote workers who enjoy coming into the office a few times per month. But they acknowledge they do have individuals who are strictly WFA and WFH.
They’ve taken the concept a step further by redesigning their office to foster community and collaboration — after all, that is what their employees needed and wanted for their WFO days.
Google makes working from anywhere easier for many of us so it’s no surprise they’ve embraced hybrid workplaces for their staff. The tech world is notorious for leading the way for remote working with nearly 100% of their work happening on a computer.
Google's cloud-based tools for collaborations, chatting, and video conferencing are behind the success of working from wherever for many people and companies around the world.
Spotify is another company that has acknowledged that the work its employees do is not location-dependent. The improved work-life balance, as noted by their employees, is a large contributing factor to embracing the hybrid workplace model going forward.
They’re putting the decisions in the employee’s hands. Not only can Spotify employees choose whether or not they want to come into the office, but they can also pick whatever city they’d like. They’re even going as far as covering some coworking center costs where there isn’t a Spotify office nearby. There’s no arguing their commitment to the hybrid workplace.
Hybrid Workplaces Are Here To Stay
Companies and employees alike are benefiting from hybrid workplaces. Throughout the transition, employers have learned to trust employees, find new ways to engage, and have seen increased productivity. As the concept is fully embraced, companies can reduce their costs by maintaining smaller amounts of physical office space.
A recent Forbes article shared that only 7% of employees that participated in a February 2021 study desired to work from the office full-time. You can’t argue with the numbers — study after study shows employees don’t want to be location-dependent. But that doesn’t mean they never want to see their co-workers again.
As Salesforce put it “This isn’t just the future of work, this is the next evolution of our culture”. And we think they’re right. While the pandemic likely accelerated the shift, the success and improved work-life balance and productivity felt by people around the world are highly encouraging for the hybrid workplace.
There will be people who prefer to work at home or only want to be in an office. Figuring that out for yourself is prioritizing your well-being and mental health. We’re all different but the trend of balance and hybrid workplaces is becoming increasingly desired by employees and embraced by HR professionals and companies.