Hybrid workplace considerations for a return to the office

Companies throughout the globe have come a great distance in embracing the digital office over the previous yr, since work-from-home grew to become the customary for nonessential corporations. Even earlier than the pandemic, I championed the idea of the “trendy” working surroundings and embraced the hybrid office (half in-office, half distant).

In the new regular, extra workplaces will want to transfer to a hybrid mannequin, not simply to minimize down on the variety of folks in a given area at one time, however as a result of we’re all experiencing the perks of distant work, which is one thing workers throughout the board will count on after the menace of the pandemic subsides.

With vaccines turning into extra available throughout the nation, the prospect of returning to the office is turning into a actuality. Many individuals are anxious and prepared to get again into the office in some form or kind. Nonetheless, we should do it responsibly. We should make sure that we empower staff as they return, in addition to those that proceed working remotely indefinitely.

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Stronger Wi-Fi and extra digital cupboard space

It’s a acquainted routine: We’re in the center of constructing a nice level in a staff assembly on a video name when somebody says, “Oh by the method, you’re frozen,” or “I feel you misplaced connection.” Regardless of this uncomfortable circumstance, video calls are possible right here to keep; connectivity will likely be essential to guarantee high-quality video calls can happen for inner and exterior conferences.

Web corporations stepped up at the starting of the pandemic, notably for college students pressured into distant studying environments. Operations groups want to work hand in hand to be certain that their present packages will likely be in a position to help the office’s new wants, and if not, discover different packages that can energy their groups.

Companies similar to Google Drive and Dropbox have been already touting cloud expertise. Now, storage and asset administration will proceed being necessary investments, even when our groups return to the office.

Whereas many have been already aware of these techniques and leveraging them on a day-to-day foundation, not everybody will likely be in the office at the identical time, due to the hybrid workplace and extra versatile work circumstances. After a yr of working remotely, our cloud organizational drives have seen extra recordsdata uploaded than ever—and this pattern is probably going to proceed.

These investments will create a strong infrastructure for groups to work in the office, at dwelling, or anyplace.

Adjusting the earlier state of workflows

Whereas digital workflows have been prime of thoughts, now that the return to office is extra imminent, our in-office workflows will want a reboot. As a key precedence for most workplaces and companies, operations groups will look to improve present areas, making them protected and efficient for the hybrid workforce.

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After a year-plus of distant work, operations groups will likely be tasked with reconfiguring office layouts: the place desks are situated, ensuring workers have sufficient room to really feel snug returning to the office, taking a look at office delicate areas, and offering staff members with areas to join safely.

With hybrid work, workplaces will want to herald a few of the points of distant work that workers now recognize and count on. These embody embracing a few of the advantages of working from dwelling similar to bringing in additional standing desks and incorporating extra versatile areas for telephone calls and private issues, whereas fostering focus.

Extra collaborative and advanced convention rooms

Convention rooms will expertise a main makeover. Whereas the way forward for the workforce is hybrid, convention rooms will nonetheless play a bigger position than they did in the pre-pandemic office.

The fact is that not everybody will likely be in the office suddenly, owing to security causes, but additionally due to the truth that individuals now need a extra versatile life-style.

After all, hybrid groups will nonetheless want conferences and group calls to really feel inclusive and, in flip, productive. Convention rooms will want to be laid out in another way, similar to our frequent areas and desks, to make sure that groups have area between one another on calls. This may embody having fewer seats at a bigger desk, or having one bigger desk and smaller tables in the room too.

This may even imply our video options will want to accommodate these new constructions. Convention rooms ought to be outfitted with high-quality video cameras, microphones, and audio system to present correct and seamless tech experiences to these taking conferences out and in of the office. These options will improve the stage of productiveness and effectivity by eliminating technical points; they may even improve the high quality of expertise for workers, making them nonetheless really feel included, even when working remotely.

The trendy workplace remains to be one thing we’re creating, discovering options that can make work-from-anywhere as easy as potential. However operations groups, office managers, and HR will likely be the driving pressure behind this shift, powering the hybrid workplace.


Frank Weishaupt is the CEO of Owl Labs, a collaborative tech firm revolutionizing how organizations of all sizes talk. Owl Labs is a pioneer in the work-from-anywhere motion, via its work creating the award-winning Meeting Owl Pro and its annual State of Distant Work report.