3 Ways Hybrid Workplaces Are Evolving in 2023
In 2023 flexibility isn’t going anywhere. Businesses are expected to continue to offer hybrid work arrangements despite the calls from some executives for a full-time return to the office.
Employees have benefited enormously from the ability to work from the office or elsewhere and now consider the flexibility of a hybrid work an expectation, rather than exception.
Businesses have also reaped benefits, namely the space- and cost-savings that come from reduced office space needs and the perks of a workforce that feel empowered by their employer. These benefits will continue into 2023, carrying even more importance as we head into an economic downturn.
Yet at the same time, employers are making a push to increase the number of days employees spend on-site as a way to boost culture and belonging, increase performance, and facilitate collaboration.
Companies trying to strike a balance between keeping unnecessary real estate costs down while trying to entice employees to come back to the office more regularly will need to rethink space management, turn to technology to help manage who is on site and when, and continue to invest in cultural initiatives.
Re-think space management
With employees working at least part-time from the office again at many companies, it’s time for organizations to reimagine the purpose and design of their office space.
While open floor plans were shunned over the course of the pandemic due to safety concerns and the need for greater privacy, it’s likely they will resume in popularity in 2023.
Given that most employees no longer have an assigned desk, open floor plans are an efficient way to provide flexible workspaces in the hybrid world. Unassigned desks with multi-use collaborative and work spaces bring more flexibility, lower office set-up costs, and the ability to change floor plan layouts to accommodate workplace trends or needs. Desk booking software will become a workplace essential to provide employees the convenience and ease of securing a workspace ahead of time.
It’s also likely we’ll continue to see employers invest in high-quality video conferencing rooms. As teams and employees remain distributed between home and work and even globally, a majority of meetings will continue to be held virtually.
Meeting pods are becoming more popular as a solution that provides privacy and convenience for employees on-site as they join video calls remotely. As more companies invest in these semi-permanent, movable structures, they’ll benefit from a room scheduling software that enables employees to reserve space ahead of time and join meetings effortlessly.
Use tech to improve the in-office experience
Most employees come into the office today for one of the same few reasons: to get away from home, to have access to a proper work station, and to socialize.
But arguably the biggest fail of hybrid work in 2022 was the all too common occurrence of employees coming into the office to be around others—only to end up the only one in the office.
Companies can mitigate this by having set in-office days, even if they’re infrequent, to support employees in feeling connected to company culture and one another.
Set in-office days don’t necessarily have to be company-wide, but could be for an org or two that regularly collaborate, like sales and marketing.
Desk booking software is an effective way for employers to coordinate on-site days to ensure productive, collaborative work for employees who are in the office.
With Eden’s desk booking tools, companies also get access to the “invite a colleague to work,” feature, which allows employees to send an invite to co-workers and include a personal note. Employees can also elect to get alerts when specific employees make a desk reservation.
Employees can easily view their outstanding invitations and respond accordingly, which makes it easier to coordinate coming into the office on the same days as their friends and close team members.
Related resources: How to Use Tech to Foster Friendships in Flexible Workplaces
Don’t skimp on cultural initiatives
We know that an attractive company culture and the opportunity to socialize are major factors in drawing employees into the office, but companies can’t simply rely on mandated in-office days to buoy company culture.
Employers must make an effort to build and maintain culture if they want to reap benefits like a more engaged workforce, better sense of belonging, or higher retention rates.
In 2023 HR should have plans in place to intentionally foster culture through initiatives like company-sponsored events and on-site team building, as examples. Use employee surveys to gauge what employees would like to see more/less of, and then survey employees again after events to find out what went well or what would be improved.
The point is that HR efforts will be more successful when intentionally building office culture that makes employees feel like they belong and offers features that employees want, rather than passively expecting employees to build culture themselves.
Workplaces are iterating and changing more rapidly than ever before thanks to technology and the evolving world we live in. It’s unlikely that this pace of change will slow anytime soon, so employers must work on building engaged and people-centric workplaces that enable them to create the most efficient services and products. As we head into 2023, use the tips outlined here to build a better hybrid workplace culture at your organization.