From home to hybrid office: How to transition as an employee
Author: Helene Timm
August 20, 2021
How do you imagine working now that society is slowly opening up again?
This might depend very much on the experiences you made during the pandemic. Did you spend your mornings in quietness with a blanket and tea in front of your computer at home? Or was your kitchen table supposed to be your focus space but then turned into the headquarters of managing your family?
In a study conducted by DNB Næringsmegling among 25 companies with the largest office uses in Norway, 56% said that they would like to work remotely for two days a week. Thus, what employees are asking for post-lockdown is a hybrid office model. But how to implement it? While the traditional office was simply there and demanded you as a worker to come in daily 9 to 5, the hybrid space model should cater to your needs. So the question to ask is, what are your needs as an employee in regards to an office.
It is likely that the place and time for your work play a role in creating a flexible office model. The lock-down might have shown your employer that you can work productively anywhere at any time. So when should you be where? This depends on your tasks and preferences. Here are three possible places you could use in your hybrid office model:
The satellite office
The Satellite office
A satellite office is a branch so to speak of your company but in your neighborhood. It provides you with a focus space outside of your home but not far from home. This is also a place where you can meet colleagues that live in your area and work on shared projects together with them.
Satellite offices give you the flexibility of home office but the commitment and focus of the headquarters. This way you can slowly adjust to seeing colleagues again and collaborate while being home a lot faster than you used to be when you commuted to the city.
Besides a satellite office benefiting yourself, it might also make it easier for you to care for your children or elderly family members. A study in 2020 in the US has shown that 1.2million parents, mainly women, had to leave the labor force to care for their children. So work in the future will have to be designed a lot more around your personal life responsibilities and this is a way to start. Last but not least, we have to see the bigger picture, we are increasingly facing the consequences of climate change. But during the lockdown the air pollution in urban areas air pollution in urban areas fell globally by 35-45%. Reducing commutes will therefore also have a positive impact on the environment. Staying outside the big cities will also give you an easier access to nature and its therapeutic effect on you. This way, chances are higher that you spend at least two hours per week in green spaces, as recommended by the European Centre for Environment & Human Health at the University of Exeter.
Despite the infinite amount of digital solutions, studies have shown that human connection is also created by sharing spaces and places. Hence not sharing an office at all can leave a team feeling disconnected.
The hub will be a place for collaboration with your colleagues and your clients in the heart of the city. Also physically it will be a space that is designed to collaborate, discuss and be social. The kick-off of a project is a good example of an activity that benefits from the team coming together in person as it includes tasks such as setting roles, responsibilities, expectations, and deadlines. The same could be relevant for you if you work with clients. Preparing client meetings as well as the meetings themselves benefit from in-person interaction. Hence, anything that requires problem solving and deeper discussions or could help the team building should be done synchronously in the hub. When people talk about returning to the office to have more “facetime” to benefit their careers by building their connections, the hub might be the space they will speak of in the future. But since in a hybrid office model your whole company will spread out and work in a space that fits their specific task, there will no longer be that “one place to be”.
But on a Friday, when you have already been to the hub and worked in the satellite office you might remember that yet another benefit of the hybrid office model is the luxury of staying home. While you are getting yourself comfortable at your kitchen table you begin to send updates and direct questions to your colleagues that can be answered digitally when it suits the person and their schedule. Arranging your schedule and your location according to your needs also means that we will work asynchronous to our colleagues at times. Therefore, what the hybrid office model will teach us, is that showing up in the same place day in, day out does not guarantee efficiency. But if a space is designed for a specific task, it becomes easier to focus and carry out that task. This will be efficiency without having to follow a cookie cutter system.
Paguro´s take on the topic
In our opinion a satellite office is the one model of the above mentioned that is easiest and quickest to adapt to while drastically changing your pandemic work routine. It allows you to spend less time commuting to the office but be closer to your team than in home office. This benefits you, your family and the environment.
You can use the arguments mentioned above in a conversation with your employer or simply send them our article on hybrid offices for employers. You could suggest that you will look for a satellite office yourself and would simply need a stipend to cover the costs. Some companies already allow it with platforms like Airbnb, where employees could create a business account to stay at accommodations they prefer when on business trips. The same is possible on our platform Pagurospaces.com. Here you can find and book an office on flexible terms. ‘Flexible’ means that your employer does not have to pour a whole lot of resources into a new office building, but they can start small and give a satellite office, chosen by you in your area, a chance. Bonus: Paguro sends you a direct invoice for every booking you make which you simply forward to your employer. As we have a variety of spaces in our portfolio there is a space no matter your type of activity or company. If your company grows or your activities change you can simply book a different space, we even encourage you to do so. Because this is why we build Paguro, so that you can be flexible in renting a commercial space.