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Hybrid – the new standard of future office workplaces?

The future is hard to predict – but change is certain. And yet, the overall idea and design of the office has not changed that dramatically since the late 1940s. Sure, there have been many technological and cultural changes, which have improved the workspace for the better, but it's only recently that people have started questioning the traditional office set-up. What will the workplace look like in the years to come, and what can we expect from it? Here are some key areas that we at LINAK predict will change in the future.

Modern office environment

The past couple of years have shown the world that people can work from home effectively. In fact, an American study by Texas A&M Ergo Center of over 40,000 office workers changing to working from home showed that they were just as productive after about four to six weeks of transition.

A recent survey by Microsoft showed that 73% of employees desire flexible remote work options moving forward. This trend means that companies do not need as much office space as previously. But what will the hybrid workplace look like? Many companies, including Amazon, have started to follow a similar path of implementing a couple of workdays for employees to work from home. So we can expect office space occupancy for any day of the week to be close to 60% soon.


You better get flexible

Flexibility is the key to success for the hybrid workplace. Recent acceleration of new technologies and platforms has made Microsoft Teams and Zoom household tools to keep up with work. The focus now is on how we can leverage technology even more to ensure that people working from home have the same experience as people working in the office.

But we need to be aware how we stay connected with each other when the communication is moving from real life to online. A quick laugh when going to get a coffee or seeing a reaction from a colleague to some great news is gone.

Home and office

This affects everything from team performance and individual happiness to how companies should hire and develop their employees.

Many predict the office to change to more than just a working location. Basically, it will become a hub for connections. Desk reservations and hoteling will be more common practice, and layouts for space will be more centred around how people come together for work and camaradery. It may be more common for businesses to follow the footsteps of large companies like Google, who is downsizing and renovating its spaces to add value for the company, teams, and individuals.


Getting greener in more ways

Sustainability has been a buzzword for the past 15 years, but many have been hesitant to make changes to their facilities and processes due to the associated costs. Now that the traditional work spaces need an update to match the hybrid ways of working, sustainable initiatives might as well also be considered.

A recent survey by NEXT showed that office employees do not want to settle for the offices they once had. They want spaces with natural light and renewable energy sources, and no single-use materials. They want the sustainable office of the future and are willing to choose companies and jobs that are offering benefits around it. It is something that not only effects the environment, but also mental and physical well-being.

Most likely, this will mean that we will not only see a change in materials for office products turning greener, but employees will also want green elements and daylight to be brought into the office.

Head with green leaves

According to research published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, employees working in a room with natural light show better productivity and mental health. Furthermore, employees who are exposed to natural light in offices sleep better because the light improves circadian rhythms.


Time to get comfy

The trend of combining a residential feel with commercial environments has been a topic for quite some time, and has become an essential consideration when planning or building a new space or redesigning existing spaces.

Designers are now focusing on how they can bring greater comfort and flexibility into a workspace and on creating a versatility that is a far cry from the cubical style of working from the past. Thinking about colours being added is also important, e.g. incorporating colours that inspire or have a calming effect. Designers can also use colours as a tool to create zones for collaboration or as a way of identifying the specific purpose of an area.

Sofa with green plant

Making employees as comfortable in their working environment as possible, while also helping them improve their productivity, is going to be a major goal for designers in the coming years.

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