As employees return to the office in the aftermath of lockdowns and shutdowns, many employers are realizing just how much empty, unused space they have in their offices. On average, workspaces, including desks and offices, are occupied approximately 42% of the time. Another 18% of work time is spent utilizing spaces elsewhere throughout the building. Not only that, many businesses aren’t effectively using the space they have available. With employees returning to the office, often on a modified basis, many employers are recognizing the need to shift to a hybrid office setup.
The Limitations of Traditional Offices
In a traditional office, every employee is assigned to a specific desk or office. Employees have the ability to use, or not use, that space as they see fit. This model, however, has a number of potential drawbacks and limitations.
In a traditional office environment, many workspaces go underutilized over the course of the day. Often, that leads to wasted overhead costs–costs that many businesses simply write off as “necessary.”
Insufficient Social Areas and Focus Zones
Social areas and focus zones, spaces set aside for socializing or connecting together to work on a specific task, can substantially increase worker satisfaction and raise both productivity and engagement. Traditional office environments, however, often fail to allocate adequate space for those activities.
Misallocation of Meeting Rooms
A large conference room may comfortably seat between 13 and 20 people, but in some cases, four people or less may be using that space at any given time. This is a highly inefficient use of existing space and opportunities throughout the office.
Change for Office Space is Imminent
Big changes are coming to many office environments: a workplace evolution that will transform the way people work. No longer will there be a ‘must’ for every employee to be seated at their assigned desks. The next major trend to grow your business will be adopting a smart office in 2021 and beyond.
What is a Smart Office?
A smart office is an intelligent, vibrant workplace that allows you to work anywhere, any place, at any time. It focuses on shared workspaces and effective resource allocation that will allow employees to make the most of their existing space. And it can help provide a number of critical advantages in the workplace environment.
The Advantages of Smart Offices
Rental & Cost Savings
With fewer fixed seats, you may discover that you need less overall real estate for the office as a whole. As a result, many businesses note a significant drop in rent.
More Collaborative Space
Collaborative space is becoming increasingly important for many employees. Instead of being isolated at individual workspaces, they need the opportunity to come together–and smart offices and hybrid workplace environments make that possible. Collaborative space boosts efficiency and communication between colleagues. With more people working from home, including many industry-wide shifts to permanent work-from-home options for some employees, the office can be used primarily for collaborations.
Increase of Space Utilization
Hybrid offices change the balance of space utilization. 10% fixed seats, 50% collaborative space, and 40% focused/individual work zones, including hot-desking and flexible seats, can transform the way many people work in the office. Instead of single, individual office spaces, employees can make use of more conference rooms, social hubs, phone booths, breakout areas, and lounges–all of which can help improve overall efficiency in the office.
Hybrid office spaces are the wave of the future–and many offices are ready to welcome that wave in. Not only can they help cut overall costs, they can set your employees up for greater overall levels of productivity and success. Are you ready to make the shift to a hybrid office, but struggling to know where to start? Contact us today to learn more about how to make the most of hybrid workspaces and tools.