Going Hybrid? 3 Considerations for Startups

Bri Morgaine
November 16, 2021
hybrid office for startups

Like many other startups, your team is probably wondering how to transition from fully (or mostly) remote work, to a combination of in-office and remote. 

It’s become clear that employees are interested in returning to the office, at least in some capacity. But, employees are also interested in maintaining flexibility and working from where they feel comfortable. Sometimes that’s the office—and sometimes that’s from home, or from their neighborhood coffee shop.

To keep your team happy and engaged, it’s important to offer this flexibility. And, it’s hugely important to make sure that all of your team members feel safe returning to the office and know they’re supported regardless of where they’re working.

What to keep in mind when setting up a hybrid office 

If you’re making the transition to hybrid, here are three of the most immediate areas you should focus on. 

1. Is your space optimized for flexible in-office work?  

If you’re planning to return to the same office space you had before the pandemic, you might want to reassess.

Your pre-COVID office might be too big for your current needs. Or, it might include spaces that aren’t going to be as heavily-used with a hybrid team. 

Here are some things to consider: 

How many employees do you anticipate working in the office at any given time? 

Consider surveying your team to get a sense of how many days folks actually want to work from the office. 

You may find that you don’t need as many desks as you have employees, since not all employees will be working in the office at once. So, a smaller space might make more sense as you transition to a hybrid office environment.

Does your team need dedicated desk space, or can you use hot desks? 

Your executive team might still want to take advantage of having dedicated desks or offices. But, depending on your business, a hot desking model (where employees work from any open desk, rather than having assigned seating) may work better for everyone.

Having flexible hot desks allows your employees to choose desks near coworkers who will be in the office that day. This can create a more inviting hybrid experience, as employees can shift their seat based on whether they need to do deep work or collaborate with colleagues that day.

Do your shared spaces and office perks fit a hybrid workplace model? 

Does your office still have that ping pong table and beer on tap in the kitchen? 

Maybe it still makes sense to offer those things to your team. But, this is a good time to reevaluate your entire office setup and the perks you offer employees, and see if they make sense from a hybrid perspective.

We’re not saying that in-office communal spaces and perks should go away. Collaboration and building a sense of community is, after all, one of the main things we all miss about in-office work. 

But, since not all employees will be in the office every day, consider setting up office space to maximize collaboration and communication among smaller groups, and pivoting your “in-office perks” to perks all your employees can take advantage of, no matter where they’re working. This could look like letting go of the ping pong table in favor of a lounge/work area with comfy couches, or offering a monthly coffee or lunch stipend instead of a fully-stocked office kitchen. 

2. Do you have the right tools in place for a hybrid team? 

It’s important to use tools that enable your employees to do their jobs effectively, regardless of where they are. 

Your team can’t touch base in person every day. This means that project management tools, HR tools, and workplace software tools need to support hybrid work. 

Here are some areas to consider when investing in a hybrid workplace toolset: 

Project management tools should work for remote and in-person collaboration

Having an organized repository for shared work makes it easy to collaborate on projects both in-office and remotely. If your employees need to wait to hear back from a coworker about where to locate a specific doc, this slows down processes—especially when they can’t drop by their desk to ask where to find it. 

Using a cloud-based project management tool that integrates with your existing communication platforms (for example: ClickUp, which integrates easily with Slack) is essential. Your team should be able to communicate asynchronously, and access any documents and project work as easily from the office as from home. 

HR and onboarding tools help all employees feel supported and connected

Your employees will always need answers to basic questions about your company. They’ll need information about holidays, perks, expensing processes, and more. But, they won’t always be able to walk across the office to ask your HR or People Team questions. Plus, you might be conducting some of your new employee onboarding remotely, and it’s important that new team members can easily access the information about your company that they need. 

We use Lattice, Tangelo, and other similar tools to help manage these processes, and give all team members access to information wherever they are. It helps ensure a clear, smooth experience for all employees, whether they are currently working in the office or not. 

Specialized workplace software tools make it easier for hybrid teams to coordinate

If you’re utilizing hot desks, having a tool in place so that employees can see who will be in the office when, and which desks are available, is incredibly helpful. It’s also a good idea to invest in a tool that allows your team to book meeting rooms ahead of time, so they know that one will be available when they come into the office. 

Our desk booking and room scheduling software enables teams to book desks from anywhere (including via Slack), work next to specific coworkers they need to collaborate with, and reserve rooms in advance. 

3. Do your employees feel safe?

Aside from ensuring that your employees have what they need to do their jobs effectively in a hybrid workplace environment, there’s another very real concern to keep in mind:

Does your team feel safe and comfortable coming back to the office?

Here are several steps to take to make your return to in-office work more comfortable for your team: 

Survey your company: 

Get a pulse on how your team feels about working in the office, and what steps they’d like you to take to make them feel comfortable. 

This could look like enforcing occupancy restrictions to avoid a crowded office, or requiring proof of vaccination or negative COVID status to work in the office (which we’ll talk more about below). 

Track vaccination status and test results: 

Establishing a system for tracking vaccination status or COVID test results is key to keeping your team healthy and making everyone feel comfortable. 

It’s possible to do this manually, using a spreadsheet or something similar. But, it’s cumbersome—and we personally found that it was highly inefficient and a strain on our People team! 

We recently launched our employee vaccine tracking feature as a part of our COVID team safety product. Your team can easily upload their vaccination records, submit test results, or fill out health questionnaires—all before coming into the office. And, if someone does get sick, you’ll be able to easily see who was in the office and keep everyone in the loop. 

A great hybrid office comes down to choosing the right processes and tools

A hybrid workplace can be the best of both worlds. It gives your team flexibility and ownership over their work schedule, while still allowing for in-person collaboration and the sense of community built within a physical office. 

If you’d like to see how Eden Workplace can help optimize your hybrid office, schedule a demo today to learn more. 

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