Moving From the Office to Hybrid Working: The 5 Biggest Changes

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a lot of drastic changes, particularly in the workplace. The past year of lockdowns and safety restrictions have shifted the way people view work, leading them to discover that there are many ways to be highly productive other than just hunkering down in a cubicle all day.
Waterman moving from office to coworking

Globally, more employees are asking for a hybrid working setup, which is a combination of remote and office work. This has resulted in many businesses considering adopting this kind of working model permanently as they adjust to a post-COVID world. Some of the many different types of businesses adopting this model include:

It’s not exclusive to just one industry, either. Different industries are seeing the benefits of a hybrid work model, including:

  • Legal
  • Finance and insurance
  • Management, coaching and consulting services
  • Computational, IT and web development services
  • Marketing and advertising

In fact, hybrid working is expected to become the norm as it allows both employees and employers maximum flexibility. Because there are so many variations of this model (i.e. an equal balance of remote and office work or a bigger prioritisation on remote work), it has opened numerous options for what people need in a flexible working space.

The end of the traditional 9-5 office day

Although the COVID-19 pandemic circumstances aren’t ideal, it has given Australians the opportunity to prove that working from a coworking space is just as productive as working in the office. As an added convenience, working remotely also reduces the need for long commutes, parking fees, and the standard nine to five shift, while ensuring that staff are socially distanced and compliant with safety restrictions.

This has made employees and business owners alike realise that a traditional office space isn’t a necessity for them to be productive and efficient at work. In fact, the benefits go far deeper than just having more efficient employees (although that is a big incentive).

We’ve put together five reasons why businesses are seeking more flexible work models, including cost-effectiveness, increased team morale, and meeting the needs and expectations of clients.

The rapid development of technology and internet availability has also enabled businesses, employees, and entrepreneurs to carry out their work effectively in a hybrid working setup.

Some of the flexible work models we’re transitioning to in a post-pandemic workplace include:

  • Clubhouse – The office is a hub where people collaborate and socialise, returning home to do quiet and intensive work.
  • Activity-based working – Employees stay in an office and move between a variety of workspaces (e.g. meeting rooms, hot desks, lounges, etc.) throughout the day.
  • Hub and spoke – Instead of travelling to a central office in a business district, people work from smaller satellite offices located closer to where they live.

While none of these models are new, more people are now expecting companies to explore viable hybrid work arrangements because of their benefits. Their growing popularity has also caused more interest in coworking spaces to meet the specifications of a company’s hybrid or flexible working model.

5 changes that hybrid working has brought on

The hybrid working model has been eye-opening for many people who now see what their workspace can be like. Gaining autonomy and flexibility has increased people’s productivity and helped them build a better work-life balance. Using coworking spaces for a hybrid working setup also gives people the opportunity to make connections and build a community with others.

1. WFH is now WFA

For those who can’t work from home because of noise, distractions, or lack of space, coworking spaces are far more appealing. As more people learn to adjust to remote work, the work from home (WFH) setup has gradually evolved to work from anywhere (WFA), resulting in more independence and control of their schedule and location.

Research by the University of Birmingham shows that employees with higher levels of autonomy have a more positive overall well-being as well as better job satisfaction. Employees feel more empowered and motivated when they have the choice of when and where to work, ensuring that they’re more productive and performing optimally.

Recognising what their work preferences are and being able to meet those requirements with WFA allows people to be more efficient compared to a monotonous, mandatory routine that doesn’t necessarily take into consideration their homelife schedules, personal commitments, or caretaking responsibilities.

2. Increase in productivity

According to Hays, renowned recruiting experts worldwide, 61% of Australians say that hybrid working is the most productive model. On a global scale, more people see work from anywhere as a viable model in the future.

This is unsurprising considering the positive impacts that hybrid working brings, particularly in an individual’s productivity level. Because this setup minimises the distractions that come with office working as well as the stress of long commutes, hybrid working boosts a person’s well-being, leading them to be more productive at work.

Having more independence has also pushed more people to develop successful time management skills. Employees are now more conscious of the time they have and are better able to prioritise their workloads. One noticeable result here has been the drastic and improved change in how meetings are conducted, namely in eliminating ineffective and unnecessary meetings in order to focus on more critical tasks.

3. Flexibility is now a necessity in retaining employees

Now that people have discovered the advantages of having a hybrid working model, 54% of employees surveyedaround the world would consider leaving their job post-pandemic if they’re not given some form of flexibility in where and when they work. The EY report goes on to mention that employees believe that their productivity can be accurately measured regardless of their location.

It has become more likely for an employee to leave and find better opportunities if their current company doesn’t have plans to implement flexibility in the workplace.

Exactly what will happen remains to be seen as many parts of the world are still feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In Australia, this includes unexpected outbreaks, sudden localised lockdowns, and the implementation of safety restrictions, making flexibility a must for the majority of employees.

4. Achieving better work-life balance

Working close to home creates more opportunities for a healthy balance of family time, socialisation, and exercise. Because of the autonomy and flexibility hybrid work brings, the overall morale of the team is higher and there’s a significant increase in work-life balance for each staff member.

There’s also a decrease in burnout because people have more control over their schedule, giving them more time to decompress and enjoy recreational activities outside working hours.

It also opened up new opportunities for people from all walks of life, such as single parents who couldn’t afford to take a job in a traditional office setup and needed a more flexible work arrangement. With a hybrid working model, they can schedule their time and choose their workspace around their personal responsibilities and commitments, all while maintaining their productivity.

5. Building more connections and a stronger sense of community

A hybrid working setup extracts the best qualities of working in an office space: Socialising, making connections, and collaborating with other people.

Having a physical workspace serves as a social anchor for businesses. When individuals in a team have face-to-face interactions, it makes it easier to gauge each other’s moods and personalities, giving people the opportunity to establish and develop relationships.

Many businesses with a hybrid working setup utilise a coworking space in order to build a community within their team, and outside of it. With the help of coworking space-wide communal activities and locations, employees can network with experts and professionals from different industries.

Some may baulk at the idea of starting a conversation with a complete stranger, but the open and inviting environment of a coworking space makes it possible (and even typical) to build genuine connections with people from other businesses.

As we move into a post-pandemic world, hybrid working will become the norm for a lot of companies as more people realise the independence and flexibility it provides, resulting in increased productivity and a better work-life balance.

It doesn’t have to be a solitary experience either, a hybrid working environment in a coworking space provides many opportunities for people to connect with one another in a professional working space.

If you want to experience the benefits of a hybrid setup in a coworking space, book a tour of the Waterman Business Centre.

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