We’re marking the third September in a row of the great return to the office (RTO) that didn’t happen. Office occupancy rates are still at 40%, traditional office demand is at 55% compared to pre-pandemic levels and the future of the office is not looking great. At the same time, interest rates are increasing and the world is slowly slipping into the next recession. Sounds a bit dark at first but there‘s also an opportunity hiding in plain sight. There’s no better time to revisit and build a solid, efficient, and flexible new workplace strategy than now!
We’ve covered at length and depth How to define a winning workplace strategy here. In this post, we will explore the 4 most popular workplace strategies that are gaining momentum in 2023, offering a balance between employee experience, flexibility, cost-efficiency, and effort required to implement (simplicity).
* 1 star – good; 2 stars – better; 3 stars – best;
What’s visible in the table is that the Hybrid (and Remote) workplace strategies offer a great balance between flexibility, employee experience, cost-efficiency, and model simplicity. While the office-centric strategy is sub-optimal due to its lack of flexibility and cost-inefficiency.
Arguably the easiest to implement and the most flexible workplace strategy is to go fully remote. In a nutshell, you will have a very simple strategy with a lot of benefits, such as great flexibility for employees and the ability to hire anywhere, etc. Fully remote is also a very cost-effective workplace strategy too! You only need to sign up for a platform, such as LiquidSpace where you can give access to your employees the benefit of using coworking and on-demand spaces. This is a very important step as you still need your teams to collaborate, meet or work outside of their homes! Coworking offers the best of both worlds – exciting and flexible spaces, available when you need them without the commitment and costs of owning an office. The benefit of a platform, such as LiquidSpace is that you can still remain in control, and set up budgets, allowances, etc.
The second most flexible option is to go hybrid leaning toward remote! Hybrid work comes in many forms and shapes. One very popular hybrid option is to go hybrid, leaning a little more toward remote. This is a relatively straightforward workplace strategy where many of your employees will be remote and some will be coming to an office (HQ). However, managing a hybrid / remote strategy is not very simple due to too many moving parts and optionality. The benefits of such a strategy are having a main, culture hub, or an HQ while offering a lot of flexibility and great experience to employees. The culture hub is important to light up the company spark and have a base where people can come to collaborate and feel that they belong. After all, collaboration is among the most important hybrid work model KPIs you want to track.
This strategy is also very cost-effective as you don’t need to use large long-term leased space. In fact, the main hub can also be in a coworking space which further enhances flexibility. Furthermore, you should also allow people to use on-demand space to stimulate collaboration and creative work. Let people work from where it works!
Such a workplace strategy can easily be implemented and managed with a platform, such as OfficeRnD+LiquidSpace Hybrid Anywhere. It features management capabilities for the hub, as well as the on-demand spaces.
The most popular workplace strategy for 2023 seems to be “Hybrid” with a little more focus on the HQ. The culture hub, or the office, is where the company will come together to collaborate, grow, learn and promote the company culture. A good hybrid work policy also incorporates great flexibility by allowing people to work from home, as well as, well, from anywhere. In an office-centric hybrid setup, we should still give variability and optionality to employees to work from where they want to work. In many cases, that can be a coworking space nearby, a cafe, or a meeting space across the street.
The hybrid workplace strategy is very cost-effective, as it assumes the company is adopting desk hoteling. Therefore, you can maintain a lot less space, typically 1/2 or even 1/3 of what is needed for an office-centric company. For example, you may need just 300-500 desks for every 1000 employees.
In order to manage a hybrid workplace, you will need proper software to streamline operations and simplify the scheduling for your employees. It will ensure that your strategy is executed properly, measured by data, and also, ensure your employees get the best experience there is.
The most traditional and popular workplace strategy of the past is office-centric. There are many organizations that believe that the world will return to its normalcy pre-COVID and that all people will return to the office full-time. The office-centric workplace strategy is still valid and we will see a lot of organizations adopting it in 2023. Such a strategy has a lot of benefits and can be very valuable, especially in the early days of an organization. Spending a lot of time together, in the office can be beneficial for moving fast and being always on the same page. An office-centric work policy can be very suitable for command and control teams which is popular for startups and early days. When speed, alignment, and execution are all that matter.
The office-centric strategy is the least cost-effective as we will need to maintain an office for every employee. Also, it offers the least flexibility and subpar experience to employees. On the positive side, it features great simplicity. There’s no need for complex solutions, processes, and policies to make it work.
We believe we will see all these 4 types of workplace strategies widely adopted in 2023. All organizations are different and your workplace strategy should be different too. Make it special for your employees!
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