Hybrid working: what is the true impact?

It’s time to talk about the tough subject of change. Few like it, but it’s inevitable. It surrounds us. It’s everywhere you look. And right now, work is changing fast.  

Change is advancement and growth, but equally is ageing and decay. It’s meeting new people and losing touch with others.

It’s the difference between missing someone and forgetting someone. It’s nature. It’s the seasons. We can choose to accept and embrace it, or fight and ignore it.  

One thing is clear, Covid-19 changed our world immeasurably

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Within days it changed how we lived. It robbed us of physical contact, and sadly, of so many loved ones. It was frightening. But we learned. We adapted.  

For knowledge workers pivotal changes took place.

They transitioned from working wholly in offices to wholly within their homes to now a mix of the two: hybrid working.

Covid-19 may not have materially changed what employees were doing, but it changed where they were doing it.  

Leesman research has found by Q4 of 2022, 72% of organisations confirmed they would be deploying a hybrid model throughout their teams.

So, it’s evident that hybrid working is here to stay 

But what’s the true impact?

What about the HR teams where the onus is on them to create hybrid working strategies that maintain employee happiness and company growth? What about the executive leadership teams who now are stuck in limbo?

Should they abandon their costly real estate or forge ahead, confident that people work better together, albeit with the risk of losing talent?  

Although it may seem like a lose-lose option right now, the pandemic has provided an immense opportunity for change.  

But change doesn’t come without its complexities and that’s what you have to be prepared for.

It touches everyone differently. A change of office location will make one person’s commute longer and shorten another’s.

A days-in-office mandate will benefit some and hinder or disadvantage others. It’s what happens with change. It’s hard. 

So, where do you start? Do you look to the future of the business? The future of your people?

No, we think you need to start by understanding why employees aren’t rushing back to your offices and whether the space is configured to support their needs.  

Organisations must change their approach to the design of space designed for work.

Especially when Leesman data shows that the average home supports the average knowledge worker better than the average office. Whether the office is used for fostering connections, facilitating learning for those at the start of their careers, supporting diversity and inclusion, or enabling individual focused work, it’s time to create a new type of space that works for the employee.  

This uncovers a whole new challenge for leadership and HR teams, how do you find out what these needs are? How do you provide a space for employees that works? Well, start by asking them.  

Leesman, joined by Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Real Estate as a strategic partner, is launching The Hybrid Future.

The definitive investigation into the true impact of hybrid working on people, places, and society.

The past three years have highlighted that hybrid works; nothing broke but our ecosystems supporting our workplaces have suffered and still are.  

So now is the time to assess what’s happened and what needs to change.  

Tim Oldman is CEO of Leesman