As economic conditions remain a continuing challenge, we’re all considering ways to reduce our overhead. At the same time an increasingly mobile workforce affords us more flexibility about how we structure our workspace – and whether or not we mandate that people be present Monday-Friday, 9-5.
In this series, we’ll look at creative ways to rethink your management model and office space. You might conclude that you could reduce your space needs with forward-thinking changes or that you could forego an office altogether.
For many businesses, much of a given employee’s responsibilities are on phones or computers, and can thus be done outside of the office. Nonetheless, having a central spot for key meetings, drop-in working sessions, and employee interactions is still important. For this type of company, a “hybrid” workspace might be the best solution.
The Hybrid Model
In a hybrid model, employees can work either at home or at the office, and they have the ability to decide which and when.
For this model, the design of the space is important. Most offices were designed with compulsory attendance in mind. Since that may not be the case for your business anymore, you can begin to think of your office in a new way – as a place that flexes to different work needs, and as a place people would voluntarily want to go.
A hybrid workspace strives to create a more fluid and friendly work environment with some key features:
* An open-plan work area replaces stand-alone cubicles
* Work stations can easily be reconfigured (e.g. rolling desks & filing cabinets), depending on a working group’s needs
* Break-out rooms allow small groups to work together without interrupting others (private offices can be repurposed to meet this goal)
* A variety of seating accommodates different work situations (e.g. office chairs, straight-back chairs, couches)
* Indirect lighting (instead of harsh fluorescents) and bright, bold colors (as opposed to drab neutrals) are used throughout to create a warmer, more creative environment
In this new office environment, employees can “drop-in” to an open desk when they’re in the office, working groups can push desks together to collaborate side-by-side, and loud conversations or private phone calls can easily be moved to a breakout room.
But most importantly, by taking a more flexible attitude towards both having employees in the office and the workspace itself, you no longer have to squeeze your full workforce into a single space. This could mean big savings for your business, while also creating a happier and more productive team.
Continue Reading "Rethinking Your Office (and Your Overhead), Part 2 - The Satellite Model"
***This article is adapted from the research and writing of Tony Bacigalupo, founder of New Work City, a co-working space in New York City. Tony’s fieldwork feeds into the knowledgebase of the Behance Team, who run the Behance Creative Network, the Action Method project management application, the Creative Jobs List, and develop knowledge, products, and services that help creative professionals make ideas happen.