The pandemic might have propelled us into remote working but a hybrid workplace is a useful model that could address other crises such as transport strikes, high petrol prices, floods, earthquakes or fire. In Sydney, CBD employees have been asked to leave the city centre twice since 2014; once during the Martin Place siege and again in the following year when then-premier Mike Baird recommended that employers allow staff to leave work early to avoid transport issues likely with the coming chaotic weather system. Enabling a hybrid workplace can mitigate risks to staff and productivity while enabling building owners and tenants to respond rapidly to changed circumstances. Of those employees surveyed in a 2021 Jones Lang LaSalle report in the US, 55% want to work for organisations in places that can innovate and adapt to future crises.
What is a hybrid workplace?
The term ‘hybrid workplace’ describes a work model that uses multiple locations rather than a single office building. Under this model, work from home is accommodated by technology, as is ‘the third place’, often a café or library. (Most larger office-based businesses will recognise the concept of ‘meeting room 5’ – the nearest coffee shop.)
Is the office dead?
While we believe that the office will remain the primary destination for many workers, especially those who need to collaborate on creative projects, in the interim we must recognise that for the immediate future, it is unlikely that all workers are prepared to return to the office on a full-time basis. However, organisations and employees alike recognise the value of a physical office in instilling and reinforcing culture, attracting and retaining talent, enabling innovation and providing the valuable social connections that most of us are hard wired to expect. Building owners and tenants alike, however, must consider flexible design for workplaces that allow for rapid change of use depending on need.
Reimagining the workplace for a hybrid work model
The hybrid model has proven to be good not only for business, but also for community and the environment. The benefits of not commuting to the office, while they are more evident in capital cities, cannot be discounted for Mount Gambier. Organisations with office-based workers will need to enable workers with technology that will lead to seamless connections between the primary office location and remote workers, wherever they may be.
Although the work from home movement was accelerated during covid, organisations must be prepared to embed the learnings from the past two years and adapt offices to cater for a new regime.
When looking at office space, how can you keep people safe? As a commercial property owner, how can you design units for maximum flexibility? Are there opportunities in your organisation to move to activity-based working? Will this increase demand for tech-enabled meeting rooms and quiet spaces?
There’s a strong business case for more flexible work spaces. A continued requirement for social distancing means fewer people in the office at one time. Many of the previous face-to-face meetings that might have involved interstate travel can now be carried out reasonably effectively via, for example, Microsoft Teams, Zoom or Skype.
Employers should consider that work is no longer a destination but something that must be achieved. Flexibility is becoming a key employee value proposition that will help employers attract and retain talent. Organisations, while improving technology, can find cost savings through reduced need for office space or lower outgoings if time in the office is compressed to three days rather than five, for example
Importantly, organisations must consider security – not only the safety of their employees with office design and facilities with restricted access entries, but also, through the appropriate workplace health and safety policies that cater for both on-site and off-site workers.
Can we help with your Mount Gambier commercial property?
Call Herbert Commercial on 08 87 250 500 for a complimentary annual investment portfolio assessment. From this assessment, feedback may warrant the need to seek Herbert Commercial’s advice and expertise with formulating a plan to action restructuring or renegotiating the best lease scenario moving forward. We’re here to help.
As the only dedicated commercial property agency in Mount Gambier, we have a network with and are sought after by national commercial agencies as a trusted extension to their services. Our wealth of commercial knowledge of the Mount Gambier market extends to the broader commercial market, meaning we can ensure you achieve your commercial property goals.