A digital twin is the virtual version of its physical counterpart, making it perfect for simulation, integration, testing, and maintenance that’s safer, faster, and cheaper. With a dynamic digital twin of your workplace, you get actionable insights you can use for everything from space planning and move coordination to lease negotiations and employee management.
Professionals have many choices in how they work these days. The workplace environment is constantly changing, and hybrid work has become increasingly popular. Employees don’t only have to choose between working at a traditional office or working from home. Coworking spaces – neutral spaces designed to accommodate people from different companies to work side-by-side – are also available.
Given the options of a coworking space or the traditional office, which suits you better?
It’s easy to jump to conclusions solely based on emotions when making your choice. But it’s worth first looking at things logically. What kind of worker are you? What type of environment do you need? What professional traits do you have that lend themselves to one work environment over the other? Look at the pros and cons of each situation before making a choice.
What are the pros and cons of a coworking space versus a traditional office? It comes down to greater autonomy and a person’s ability to adapt to that freedom. Coworking spaces attract workers with good time management and organization. They must set and keep their schedules productive outside of being directly managed. Coworking spaces also mean getting out of your comfort zone and routine, so it’s not for the skittish or those who prefer rigid structure.
Check out some of the top pros and cons of coworking to understand why it works for some but not others.
Benefits of Coworking Spaces
- The freedom to work where and when you want
- Change of scenery can be good for mental stimulation
- Ability to book different types of workspaces for different lengths of time
- Choice of many different types of coworking spaces and themes
- Opportunities for socialization with other professionals
Cons of Coworking Spaces
- Open office environment makes it hard to find privacy
- Can be louder or more distracting than a traditional workplace
- No face-to-face, in-person access to peers and coworkers
- Not guaranteed a seat or any seating consistency
- May not include perks like parking or a break room
If you’re not willing to create your own framework for productivity, a coworking space might not be for you. If you prefer predictability and do better with a clearly defined path, there’s no shame in choosing a traditional office workplace.
In deciding between a coworking space or a traditional office, many people gravitate toward the idea of “more freedom” with coworking. But there’s a catch: less predictability. That difference in perspective is why many people are keen on the traditional office.
If you like having a clear, specific roadmap for the day and values routine, look to a traditional office. A structured workplace also gives you access to peers and amenities in ways remote working can’t offer. For many, choosing a traditional office is a prime example of the adage, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.”
Here’s why traditional offices appeal to some and why others choose to embrace coworking spaces:
Benefits of the Traditional Office
- Familiar working structure and expectations
- Direct, in-person access to peers and managers
- Inclusive amenities, including parking, IT help, etc.
- Comfort from a routine, including commute
- Feeling of inclusion and not “missing out” on workplace happenings
Cons of the Traditional Office
- More rigid oversight and management
- Susceptible to monotony or “brain drain” from the same routine
- Much higher leasing and facilities upkeep costs
- Can be harder to adapt to changes in real-time
- Feeling of isolation that comes with a 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. schedule
New Normal in Workplace: It’s up to you
Given the choice between a coworking space and a traditional office environment, neither is the “right” option. The best choice depends on you and your working style.
Coworking spaces are likely appealing if you’re a driven, independent worker with excellent time management and a mastery of digital communication. If you like structure and order and feel more confident when collaborating with your peers face-to-face, a traditional office may better suit you. If you’re somewhere in between, take the opportunity to work fluidly between the two.
The great thing about the workplace is that the new normal is up to you and what working environment suits you best.
Autodesk University 2022
Autodesk University 2022 was in New Orleans this year, and the annual event, billed as the “design and make conference for innovators” delivered opportunities to learn and connect for industry leaders from architecture, engineering, construction, design, manufacturing, as well as media and entertainment.
3D Viewing Software and BIM
Smart buildings make smart decisions with the help of intelligent building technology. Building Information Modeling (BIM) is one of the most prevalent technologies businesses can deploy for support.
To better understand BIM, we will focus on what BIM is, its role in smart buildings, its many benefits, and how it works.
What BIM is and who it applies to
BIM is a process-driven technology used to map and quantify the physical aspects of a building. It was introduced to solve the gap between computer-aided drawing (CAD) and analysis systems. BIM uses computers to create virtual 3D modeling and integrates project-related relevant information.
The building technology brings every subsystem together in context and profiles dynamic insights about how they affect facility function. For example: If you change X aspect of a specific subsystem, how does it affect systems Y and Z, and the building as a whole?
Everyone uses BIM, from architects and contractors to maintenance technicians and facilities managers. Why? Because BIM is part of everything from building design, to construction, to facilities maintenance. The core objective is simple: quantify as much of a building as possible and use that data to inform better decision-making.
BIM’s role in smart buildings
BIM 3D viewing software turns an ordinary structure into a smart building – a building that uses automated processes to control its operations. As machine learning folds into BIM software, computers can tell us more about our buildings than we could ever learn by looking at schematics and blueprints. It’s easier to understand the impact BIM can make through basic examples:
The architect draws plans for a six-foot doorway, but the developer later changes it to an eight-foot doorway. They change the CAD drawing, which updates the materials list, which changes the costs.
XYZ Company decides to remodel. They mockup the changes in a BIM plan, which intelligently reroutes the plumbing, mechanical, and electrical to fit the changes of the new space design.
Support tickets synced to specific cost centers within BIM show the total cost of ownership for the building’s mechanical systems over the past 12 months, which allows facility managers to budget for the upcoming year.
These are just a few of BIM’s many uses. BIM offers nearly infinite possibilities in how it helps professionals plan, design, construct, and manage facilities.
How does BIM benefit facilities managers?
Specifically, BIM’s role in facilities management is to provide quantifiable insights. How much money is X costing you within the framework of facilities maintenance? What is the service record for Y this year? If you upgrade to Z, what will the ramifications be to peripheral systems?
The 3D visualization of a physical building – and the baseline model for a BIM record –is referred to as a digital twin. Digital twins allow facilities managers to identify different elements of a building, isolate them for their information, and understand the needs of that specific element and its relationship to peripheral systems.
- Here are some of the ways, in more detail, that BIM benefits facilities managers on a day-to-day basis:
- Generates cost savings in facilities upkeep, maintenance, and improvements
- Improves project efficiency and expedites delivery time for results
- Reduces safety risks and clashes, which lowers passive change orders
- Offers greater predictability for facilities maintenance and upkeep
- Improves the visibility and oversight of facilities managers in everyday upkeep
- Provides a system of record and visibility for vital systems within the building
- Integrates with facilities management software and systems to automate processes
What is the difference between BIM and CAD
Most people confuse BIM and AutoCAD since the fundamental basis for BIM is a comprehensive CAD model (2D or 3D). While CAD design programs are often used in conjunction with BIM software, the important distinction between the two is the intuitive capabilities of BIM. BIM uses CAD mockups as a medium for bringing broad-scope information about a building together. Or in simpler terms, BIM makes CAD drawings smarter and more dynamic by pairing information to the building’s many systems.
BIM works by applying intelligent insights to the tangible aspects of a building. While a CAD design may show you the layout of a space you intend to remodel, BIM tells you which walls are load-bearing, how to reroute the electrical, and what materials you’ll need to plumb HVAC ducts into the space. CAD is static; BIM is dynamic. More important, BIM insights influence changes made to CAD designs.
BIM is the future of workplaces
In an age where buildings are getting smarter, professionals need to get smarter about how they manage them. BIM informs the best possible approach by providing complete context for buildings and the many systems that govern them. BIM’s intelligent insights offer the epitome of information-driven decision-making.
There’s no doubt that the concept of BIM is complex and sophisticated and can be challenging to grasp for those new to it. But BIM is getting easier to comprehend and more accessible thanks to its role in designing and managing smart buildings. As infrastructure becomes more complex and connected, BIM – and its 3D viewing software – becomes more essential. It’s a system every facilities manager – as well as architect, contractor, and maintenance technician – needs to understand moving forward. The intelligent building technology allows them to tap into insights that help achieve a new standard of success.
With 85% of employees saying they prefer to work remotely at least 2-3 days per week, hybrid workplace models are here to stay, but the ramifications of that stretch beyond organizing team meetings and the right communication technology.
What is the “next normal” when it comes to corporate real estate in the hybrid workplace?
Though experts see 2022 as the continuation of post-pandemic rebuilding for the real estate industry, the tapestry of the commercial real estate sector will patch together new uses for old buildings.
Deloitte’s 2022 Commercial Real Estate Outlook predicts businesses will focus on retrofitting properties and repurposing spaces that are seeing decreased usage, enhancing buildings’ sustainability, and refreshing their perspective on making space more people-driven and flexible.
Hybrid work predictions for corporate real estate
1. CRE leaders will focus on repurposing commercial real estate space
Just because a building has been used as an office in the past does not mean its future is as an office. As companies consolidate underutilized real estate, more buildings are becoming vacant – which presents opportunity rather than problems.
Architect and founder of Real Estate of the Future Nikki Greenberg discussed her new initiative regarding repurposing space in a post-pandemic world, AnyPlace WorkPlace. In a Workplace Innovator Podcast episode, she shared her passion for innovating real estate for the future so that there is no underutilized space.
“I don’t think that a space should ever be vacant,” Greenberg said. “It should always be vibrant.”
If homes can morph from places to primarily eat, sleep, and live to become workspaces, yoga studios, and schools, we can reinvent other corporate real estate spaces too. This mindset is emerging in the development of office neighborhoods.
An effective office neighborhood needs more than powerful Wi-Fi, access to various types of conference rooms and workspaces, and mail services.
This available real estate also can be repurposed to fit a larger social need – cutting down on the homeless population and the housing needs overall in larger cities.
In April, the Rand Corporation released a report that shows repurposing underutilized commercial properties, such as hotels, motels, or vacant offices, could provide 9-14% of the housing Los Angeles County needs to produce over the next eight years.
Though it takes effort, planning, and coordination, this adaptive repurposing can lead to long-term benefits to areas from large cities to smaller communities.
2. Corporate real estate leaders will improve sustainability efforts
Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives continue to rank as high priorities for CRE leaders. As buildings are either adapted for new use or built new, including elements of sustainability and environmental friendliness is imperative.
Sustainable properties play a significant part in creating a better tenant experience, especially when they include emerging technologies (proptech) that focus on ESG.
More than 75% of survey respondents said their companies will likely expand partnerships with or invest in proptech, including sustainability and risk management software.
3. We’ll see greater flexibility and employee-focused design
Part of making workspaces more people-centric is looking at the primary factors keeping employees working from home rather than in the office. Employees who prefer working remotely cite the ability to balance work with other responsibilities (ie. children or other dependent family members), a healthier work-life balance, and a decreased commute.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Owl Labs “State of Remote Work” reported employees saved 40 minutes a day not commuting. The JPMorgan Chase 2022 Commercial Real Estate Market Trends points to updating infrastructure to enhance roads and shorten commutes further. These investments in infrastructure benefits commercial properties by making them more accessible, connecting businesses to higher quality amenities, and attracting more talent to areas where people want to work and live.
The U.S. government this year launched initiatives to bolster infrastructure enhancement initiatives. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed into effect in July 2021, floods the economy with $550 billion that partially funds infrastructure improvements, such as roads and bridges for easier commutes, and marks the largest federal investment in public transit ever and passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak. The act will work in tandem with President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, which promises to add approximately 2 million jobs per year over the course of the decade.
Effective and efficient space utilization continues to pose an issue for companies as they adjust to changing workspace use. With 87% of enterprises implementing hybrid work, according to CBRE, the trends in interior design and real estate are adjusting to fit the idea of flexibility – whatever that looks like for your company.
A hybrid office assumes employees will move more frequently between home and office. Therefore, a hybrid office should provide a seamless experience between working in the office and working elsewhere.
Ramzah Khan works with companies looking for guidance on developing hybrid and collaborative workplaces.
A studio manager at Ware Malcomb in Washington, DC, Khan offers perspectives in the Workplace Innovator Podcast episode “The Psychology Workplace Design and the Evolution of Employee Experience” on how companies can explore a holistic view of office design to create an employee experience where employees feel valued, heard, and supported.
The biggest trend she is seeing is that leaders are approaching workplace design from a people-oriented position as the idea of employee wellbeing takes on a new meaning.
Elements of an employee-focused hybrid office include:
- A mix of collaborative and private spaces
- Multipurpose areas employees can use depending on the work they’re doing
- Furniture that’s easy to reconfigure
- High-quality conference room technology
- Technology that makes it easy for employees to find and reserve workspaces anywhere
The way you physically plan your office space for when employees and clients are in the office can lead to greater productivity and improve the bottom line.
Architectural Record discussed trends for innovative offices in the hybrid workspace and suggests paying attention to the type of materials you purchase to make the office space flexible. Flooring, for example, can be a key element in creating acoustics to aid, not detract, from work. Materials such as tiles with inherent acoustic properties or carpet with noise-reducing cushion can play a part in helping the functionality of a space filling multiple roles.
Another recommendation is to use the physical space design to give employees a feeling of empowerment. You can achieve this through unassigned desks, lounge-style seating in common areas rather than conference rooms, and rooms sectioned with flooring and furniture to create specific-use areas where employees can choose where they work based on the task.
This strategic use of furniture and physical elements also play into the continued prevalence of social distancing policies. Physical considerations such as enhanced ventilation help with physical wellness, but more and more businesses also are finding the need to plan space in regard to emotional and mental benefits, as well.
Learn more about the future of commercial real estate and hybrid work in our resource on managing change in the hybrid workplace.
From dress suits and cubicles to leisure wear and home offices, the business world looks different today than it did two years ago. What began as a mission for health safety snowballed into a corporate movement. It’s important we take the time to assess the pros and cons of the three types of work: the traditional in-office model, remote work model, and hybrid work model.
Companies and their employees need to understand the benefits, drawbacks, opportunities, and pitfalls associated with the different types of work as they decide which is best for them.
Benefits of working in the office
Before the coronavirus pandemic, most companies operated with an in-office work model. However, what was once the norm has quickly become a controversial subject. Regardless, in some areas, the in-office model remains successful.
Workers can more easily benefit from the organization’s culture, a factor that remains significant to job seekers and employees. 76% of the workforce feel culture plays a role in their professional success, as it directly impacts their well-being. Supportive and collaborative environments are better built when everyone is in the same proximity.
Despite the resounding voices of support, not all employees are pleased that companies switched to the remote work model. Some discovered it challenging to find work-life balance. Those without the convenience of a home office adapted by working from their couch or kitchen counter. When commuting to an office, there is an absolute separation between employees’ professional and personal lives. But without a defined ‘place of work,’ employees have no clear boundaries.
Arguments against returning to the office
While having a designated workspace and set hours are valuable, they have drawbacks. Set 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. working hours make it difficult for employees to set up personal appointments, as those require pre-approval and requested time off. Mothers who receive troublesome calls – mid-workday – regarding their children are also at a disadvantage. These are not the only inconveniences:
- Money and time spent on commuting (Gas prices are at an all-time high)
- Lack of privacy when completing individual time-sensitive projects
- Recurring distractions that interfere with employees’ overall job success
Companies that disregard these concerns may land themselves in hot water. In June 2022, CEO Elon Musk emailed Tesla employees, stating they must return to the office or resign. Employees quickly responded with pushback, expressing that the mandate negatively reflects the company’s business.
After a taste of flexibility, most workers prefer a remote or hybrid work model. Companies not offering either will have access to a smaller talent pool.
Pros of the remote work model
Working remotely was a relatively new experience for employees. Only 30% of the workforce were remote pre-pandemic, compared to 81% of employees during its’ height. Post-pandemic, companies struggle to determine the best work model for the long-term. To maintain employee flexibility, do organizations keep the remote work model or adopt a hybrid work model?
Remote work eliminates employees from commuting, as well as unexpected tardiness. Factors such as oversleeping, traffic, or time spent getting coffee will no longer be a concern. Instead, employees can put this time towards work productivity and mental well-being. Organizations can offer their workforce:
- Financial savings from less gas and on-the-go purchases
- Less exposure to illnesses such as coronavirus
- Ability to create a personalized working space
Additionally, remote work offers flexible hours, which can improve productivity. Employees can work at the time of day they individually perform the best. While 43% of adults describe themselves as morning people, one in three adults says they work better in the evening. Traditional hours may not be what is best for everyone.
Virtual hiring and employee burnout with remote work
Among “The Great Resignation,” 40% of employees searched for a new job. During a time companies were predominately remote-first, many had to rethink how to hire, onboard, and train new employees. 82% of employers post-pandemic use virtual interviews. However, job seekers have expressed concerns with this process:
- 33% of job seekers feel they cannot convey their personalities in a virtual interview
- More than 90% of employees encounter tech issues during virtual onboarding
- New employees lack access to their hiring manager and helpful resources during online training
Like new hires’, active employees also struggle to get the information needed when learning new tasks. A Microsoft study showed that shifting to remote work hurt collaboration and communication within companies. Employees are less likely to interact virtually than in person. Pinging a co-worker appears more intrusive than walking up to their cubicle. As a result, relationship-building feels forced versus organic.
Benefits of the hybrid work model
A hybrid workplace consists of both in-office employees and remote workers who work together as a distributed team. The benefits of hybrid work are many, for both employees and employers alike.
For employees, the biggest benefit of the hybrid work model is flexibility. Whether they work in-house, from home, or split their time between the two, a hybrid workplace supports them. It’s meant to bridge all gaps between different types of work, allowing a person to accomplish their job regardless of the setting.
This seamless working experience goes all the way down to the workspace level. The hybrid work model demands workspaces to be as flexible as the concept. Hotel desks, hot desks, breakout spaces, and the like are all essential in a supportive hybrid workplace. Beyond keeping the concept functional, they further promote employees to work in the fashion that best fits their needs.
From an employer standpoint, hybrid work offers powerful optimization opportunities. For example, ratio desking allows companies to operate with fewer desks than total employees without depriving people of the space they need. In addition, portfolio consolidation can free up significant cash flow otherwise tied up in overhead.
Negatives to beware of in hybrid workspaces
There are still a few kinks in the hybrid work model that companies need to work through. While it’s a proven, reliable solution to distributed teams and workforces, some drawbacks add up to some clear-cut pitfalls:
- More difficult to communicate in real-time, especially between distributed teams
- Access to technology and applications may differ from office to home
- Employees may find it difficult to adapt or develop new habits
- Employees may feel alienated if not supported in their choice of work style
- Hybrid requires more processes of control to allow for freedoms in works
Similar to the remote work model, a disadvantage of the hybrid work model is the lack of oversight. Companies give up a traditional sense of control over their employees. Managers must proactively help employees develop good habits and understand expectations. As discussed, social-emotional competency is vital for management, and good systems for communication are imperative.
The hybrid work model offers the best of both worlds
Simply put: because the benefits of the hybrid work model outweigh the potential negatives, the hybrid work model is a long-term prospect for today’s dynamic workforce:
- Offers the best of both on-site and off-site accessibility for employees
- Improves flexibility, agility, and optionality of the workplace
- More effective use and utilization of spaces and workstations
- Saved workplace and facility costs through more efficient use of space
- Improved employee experience, which can influence and strengthen culture
- Access to a broader talent pool when hiring or expanding
Companies might’ve adopted a hybrid work model out of necessity due to the pandemic, but it’s going to far outlast it as the new way to accommodate different types of work styles and everyone’s unique preferences. The hybrid model gives employees and employers the best of both worlds.
Make sure you choose a hybrid workplace model that puts your people first, then find the technology solutions to support it. iOFFICE + SpaceIQ gives companies the tools to connect their people, places, data, and assets.
Hybrid work continues to evolve as companies adopt new hybrid workplace models, and there are many lessons we can all learn along the way. What do employees want when it comes to hybrid work, and what can employees do to balance that with the need for better predictability and space management?
These hybrid work statistics offer some guidance.
Employee hybrid work statistics
As you consider how to adjust your workplace, it’s important to assess how employees feel about their work environment. Ask about their preferences, where they are most productive, and what they need from you to do their best work.
- 57% of employees say they prefer working from home full time (OwlLabs “2021 State of Remote Work)
- 85% of employees prefer to work remotely at least 2-3 days per week (CBRE 2020 “Workforce Sentiment Survey”)
- 84% of employees said continuing to work remotely post-pandemic would make them happier (OwlLabs “2021 State of Remote Work)
- When determining a hybrid work model, 40% of employees say they want full autonomy to come and go at will, and 60% want more structure and set parameters/expectations (Gallup, The Future of Hybrid Work 2022)
Does hybrid work increase productivity?
One major concern of managers and C-suite occupiers is that employees will become less productive in the hybrid workplace. This antiquated view that being in the office equates to being productive can lead to harmful management styles, such as micromanaging. When adopting a hybrid work model, it’s important to allow for flexibility within the set parameters and framework, keep your team connected with the right workplace technology, and find ways to enhance trust among managers and employees to give employees greater autonomy and ownership over their work – even if they are completing the work from their couch instead of their cubicle.
- 90% of employees say they were as productive or more productive working remotely versus working in the office (OwlLabs “2021 State of Remote Work).
- 55% of employees are high performers when provided radical flexibility over where, when, and with whom they work, versus 36% of employees who work a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. shift in the office (Gartner, June 2022)
Hybrid work statistics by generation
Navigating the shift in workplace models among different generations takes finesse and more than a little planning. Each generation has unique motivators, wants, and needs. Check out some of the insights we’ve gathered below.
- 46% of Gen Zers and 45% of millennials feel burned out due to the intensity and demands of their working environments (Deloitte Global Millennial & Gen Z Survey 2022)
- 75% of Gen Zers and 76% of millennials said they prefer a hybrid or remote work schedule (Deloitte Global Millennial & Gen Z Survey 2022)
- 53% of Millennial and 33% of Baby Boomer hybrid workers are most likely to look for another job if their employers cease hybrid work models and reinstitute in-office policies (International Workplace Group Hybrid Worker Survey, April 2022)
- 73% of millennials and 50% of Gen Z hybrid workers self-reported that their personal career growth has benefited from a hybrid work model (International Workplace Group Hybrid Worker Survey, April 2022)
Employee engagement and retention statistics
In “The Great Resignation,” the fluidity of employment status among employees is leading to increased turnover and a dwindling workforce. Cash no longer is king when it comes to motivating, retaining, and developing workforce talent. Over the past two years, the pandemic’s upheaval shifted employees’ priorities and desires.
Beyond pay – which is still important – employees are looking for positive work cultures, initiatives that make them feel valued and noticed outside of their work, and elements that help them find purpose and connection to their work. Don’t solely offer pay increases. Offer additional incentives such as increased or unlimited PTO, flexible work hours, supportive mental health and well-being initiatives, and opportunities for employees to connect with their team in-person and virtually. Consider these statistics:
- In April 2022, 4.4 million U.S. employees left their jobs (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 2022)
- 49% of job candidates who have received a job offer are considering at least two others at the same time (Gartner, “Future of Work Reinvented”)
- 52% of employees say the pandemic has made them question the purpose of their jobs (Gartner, “Future of Work Reinvented”)
- 32% of employees say they feel supported at work (Gartner, May 2022)
- 78% of employees say they feel more included working in the office rather than remote (OwlLabs “2021 State of Remote Work)
- 46% of women versus 36% of men seek higher salaries and flexible working hours when negotiating new jobs (PwC’s 2021 “Future of Work Survey”)
Mental health and well-being in the hybrid workplace
The pandemic brought concerns about employee mental health and well-being to the forefront, and they remain important in the hybrid workplace. Burnout is increasingly common as the lines between home and work have blurred. Employers need to be more mindful of setting boundaries, including establishing hours when employees are expected to respond and when they should disconnect, encouraging employees to use their vacation time, and training managers to look for signs of burnout.
- 64% of organizations have begun offering new well-being benefits, such as counseling services and self-care tools (Gartner, May 2022)
- 96% of HR leaders are more concerned about employees’ well-being today than they were before the pandemic (Gartner, “Future of Work Reinvented”)
- PwC announced in May 2022 that they will invest $2.4 billion in new employee well-being initiatives, which include the ability to choose which workplace format works best for them individually (i.e. Work from home, in-office work, a digital nomad who works anywhere, or a combination) (Forbes, May 2022)
- 65% of employees say the pandemic has made them rethink the place work should have in their lives (Gartner, “Future of Work Reinvented”)
- 56% of women are more likely to prioritize their health and well-being over work than pre-pandemic (Microsoft “2022 Work Trend Index”)
- 47% of employees reported they are more likely to put their family and personal life over work than pre-pandemic, and 53% say they are more likely to prioritize their health and well-being over work than pre-pandemic (Microsoft “2022 Work Trend Index”)
Implementing hybrid workplace solutions
To support new ways of working, employers are investing in new solutions that make it easier to manage office space and reservations and improve collaboration from anywhere.
Gartner forecasts that IT spending worldwide will grow 5.1% this year – which equals $4.5 trillion. The majority of that is predicted to be on cloud technology and other similar technologies designed to support remote and hybrid remote work.
Make sure you choose a hybrid workplace model that puts your people first, then find the technology solutions to support it.
iOFFICE + SpaceIQ gives companies the tools to connect their people, places, data, and assets.
Our comprehensive portfolio of workplace and asset management software allows workplace leaders to make data-driven decisions and improve interactions within the built environment. Explore our solutions for more insights on the future of hybrid work and how to manage it.
It’s clear the hybrid workplace is here to stay — a CBRE survey of enterprise leaders found 87% plan to permanently adopt a hybrid workplace model. What’s less clear is how to implement it in a practical way that gives employees flexibility while also optimizing real estate costs.
The definition of the hybrid workplace is different for everyone. There are several different models of hybrid work— ranging from a “virtual-first” strategy to one where employees primarily think of the office as home base — and the term continues to evolve as quickly as employees’ expectations.
As the idea evolves, industry leaders are categorizing hybrid workplaces into at least five models. Though these are not hard and fast rules, they provide a springboard from which to find a system that works for your employees and your company’s needs.
Here are some factors to consider as you think about which hybrid workplace model may work best for your company.
Hybrid workplace models: Pros, cons and considerations
What is office-centric hybrid work?
This is a work environment that prioritizes in-office work, with some flexibility to work outside of the office. In this hybrid work model, the office is still the default setting as it has been in traditional workplaces. An office-centric hybrid model emphasizes bringing employees back into the office most of the work week, while offering limited time where an employee can work remotely. This focus on physical proximity may still allow for some flexibility, such as offering employees autonomy to set their own hours.
Examples of office-centric hybrid workplaces include Google, which recently announced plans to bring employees back to the office three days a week while allowing them to work remotely two days a week. Employees can request to work remotely full-time but may receive a pay cut.
Tesla is another example of an office-centric work environment.
CEO Elon Musk told his employees in an email that they must be in the office for at least 40 hours a week if they want to work remotely at all.
“This is less than we ask of factory workers,” he said, adding that he would consider making rare exceptions on an individual basis.
Advantages of office-centric hybrid work
This workplace model emphasizes the importance of in-person interactions, which can be beneficial for both your company and your employees. For younger employees in particular who missed out on mentorship opportunities while working remotely or newer employees who didn’t have a chance to get to know their colleagues as well as employees who worked together in person for years, the renewed emphasis on the office environment may be a welcomed change. Employees who regularly work together in person may be more likely to form close relationships more quickly because there are more opportunities for casual conversation or getting together outside of work.
The expectations for an office-centric work environment tend to be more clearly defined, leaving less room for ambiguity compared to other hybrid workplace models.
Disadvantages of office-centric hybrid work
As many people discovered during the pandemic, working in the office doesn’t necessarily mean employees will be more productive. In a survey by Owl Labs and Global Workplace Analytics, 90% of employees reported they were just as productive or more productive working remotely as they were in the office. For some employees who need to focus on deep work that involves more individual concentration, working primarily in the office can create additional distractions. In general, employees in an office-centric work environment may become frustrated with a lack of flexibility, leading to higher turnover. An office-centric workplace may also make hiring more difficult because managers are limited to a certain geographic area.
Fully flexible hybrid
What is fully flexible hybrid work?
This workplace model allows employees to choose how often they come to the office depending on the work they’re doing and their roles or responsibilities.
It might also include flexible scheduling. Amazon is one example of a company that is adopting flexible hybrid work. The company initially announced corporate employees would go back to an office-centric model and require employees to be in the office at least three days a week. More recently, it announced it would leave the decision up to individual teams.
“We’re going to be in a stage of experimenting, learning and adjusting for a while as we emerge from this pandemic,” chief executive Andy Jassy said in a message to its employees.
Advantages of fully flexible hybrid work
The emphasis on flexibility allows individual teams or employees to choose what works best for them without requiring a certain number of days or hours in the office. This appeals to many employees, especially those who are more experienced and used to having autonomy in their work.
Disadvantages of fully flexible hybrid work
Without clear guidelines, this model can be unpredictable at times. If it’s up to employees to decide when and where they work, it may be more difficult for employees who want to connect with their colleagues in person to know when to expect them. They may come to the office only to find it’s mostly empty, further disincentivizing them from returning.
The use of space in a fully flexible hybrid workplace can also be unpredictable. On certain days, employees may be able to sit and meet anywhere they want, while it may be difficult for them to find a workspace on other days.
If you plan to use this model, you’ll need a solution that makes it easy for employees to find and reserve space, request service or amenities, and stay connected with each other. Office space booking software and employee experience apps are two types of technology that can help.
What is remote-friendly hybrid work?
This hybrid workplace model (sometimes referred to as remote-ish hybrid) is essentially remote work with guidelines. For instance, it might specify that employees in certain time zones are permitted to be fully remote, while others will be required to come to the office on certain occasions, including training, client meetings or weekly team meetings.
HubSpot is one example of a company with a remote-friendly hybrid environment. While it has a company headquarters, it has offices all over the world and offers “location-agnostic” perks and benefits independent of the office. It also has a clear hybrid work policy that allows the company to plan for the space it needs to accommodate everyone. Each year, employees can choose whether they want to work primarily in the office and have an assigned desk, work primarily from home and visit on occasion, or come in up to two days a week and use desk hoteling to reserve a space.
“Our culture is not tied to locations,” HubSpot Chief People Officer Katie Burke wrote on the company’s blog. “It’s rooted in our values, our amazing people, and our mission of helping millions of organizations grow better.”
Advantages of remote-friendly hybrid work
This workplace model can be good for companies that want to offer flexibility while still maintaining control over scheduling. It allows managers to recruit employees from anywhere and gives them discretion to hire people they believe will thrive in a remote setting. At the same time, it offers employees in the office the benefit of in-person collaboration, amenities, and company-sponsored activities.
Disadvantages of remote-friendly hybrid work
One drawback of this model is that it can create feelings of inequity between employees who are fully remote and those who work in the office at least part of the time. Remote employees may begin to feel they are missing out on certain perks or not receiving the same support as those who are more visible.
This model can work, but your leadership team and managers need to make an extra effort to ensure they are giving equal time and attention to employees regardless of location. Remote employees should also be given the same consideration when it comes to pay raises, bonuses, and promotions.
The Washington Post Chief Executive Cathy Merrill faced backlash after she wrote an op-ed saying she believed employees who choose to work from home are easier to “let go” due to being less valuable.
Other leaders of prominent companies have expressed similar sentiments.
Hybrid remote office
What is a hybrid remote office?
This is a model encompassing all remote and in-office options where employees choose how they want their schedule to look. A hybrid-remote office offers office hubs where some of the company travels to work physically in the same space, coordinated with a different group of employees who work remotely.
HOK Consultant Adam Stoltz refers to this as the “hub-home-spoke” model.
In this ecosystem of spaces, the company’s headquarters remains the hub for collaborative activities, but many employees will also continue working from home. Those who live far from the hub can have the option of working at nearby coworking spaces or satellite campuses.
“Access is the new ownership,” Stoltz said. “If you don’t need to own it, then don’t. Consider leveraging the community, shared economy, or emerging membership models to meet your needs.”
Advantages of the hybrid remote model
One of the biggest advantages for employers is that this model can significantly reduce real estate costs. If you maintain a central hub but lease other smaller spaces, you may have the opportunity to consolidate several underutilized spaces. Space planning software makes it easy to identify these opportunities and see the impact of different space scenarios.
Disadvantages of the hybrid remote model
While this model maximizes flexibility while optimizing space utilization, it can also make it more challenging to develop and maintain a strong company culture among employees who rarely work together.
Remote or virtual-first
What is a virtual-first workplace?
A remote or virtual-first work model empowers employees to work remotely, rather than just allowing them to work remotely. In May 2021, LinkedIn reported that the percentage of paid job postings offering “remote work” grew 357% beyond the 2020 share. Managers with a more traditional mindset may need to reprogram their perspective to build their teams and processes with this in mind.
This is a good fit for companies that have a strong digital mindset, or whose employees function more like independent contractors.
One example of a virtual-first workplace is Dropbox.
“The vast majority of our employees don’t want to go back to exactly the way things were before,” Dropbox CEO Drew Houston said in an interview with LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman on the Masters of Scale podcast. “I think that both the remote-only choice and the ad-hoc, ‘everybody come to the office when you feel like it’, the two main options, have major issues.”
In an entirely remote workplace, he said, it’s more difficult to build a team and maintain strong relationships.
The second alternative makes it more difficult for employees to have meaningful collaboration if they never know when they’ll see their colleagues.
The virtual-first workplace gives employees flexibility with some structure.
For instance, there may be established “collaboration hours” when employees are expected to be available regardless of their time zone. This could also include leasing collaborative spaces similar to the hub-home-spoke model.
How to find the best workplace model for your company
As a leader, you have an unprecedented opportunity to reinvent your workplace. Start with a conversation among your leadership team about your company’s goals and how you see the hybrid workplace supporting them. How frequently do you meet with customers or clients in person, and how important is the office to your company’s brand reputation among them? How important are in-person activities to maintaining your company culture?
You also need to get meaningful input from employees — but make sure you’re asking them the right questions, HOK director Kay Sargent said.
People can’t respond to a work environment they have yet to experience, so asking what type of schedule they want can be counterproductive. Instead, ask questions about how they work best, how frequently they need to meet with their team or clients, and what amenities and support services they need from the workplace.
iOffice + SpaceIQ have all the technology solutions you need to make the hybrid workplace work for you, from space planning and office hoteling software to employee experience apps. Explore our hybrid workplace solutions here.
The modern workplace is driven by technology and the ability to connect a dispersed, hybrid workforce. To be successful, building owners and facility managers need to be able to make data-driven decisions quickly that drive building efficiency while delivering on workplace experience.
As technology continues to improve in ways that better connects building owners and operators with critical data, 7 industry trends are further pushing the need to utilize tools to bridge the building lifecycle gap.
Watch webinar on demand: Bridging the Building Lifecycle Gap: How technology is connecting AEC & operations
1. Knowledge gaps and labor shortages in the FM industry
According to a report from ARC, by 2026, nearly 40% of facility management professionals will retire. This will leave many FM positions to fill and an even larger knowledge gap. Due to misconceptions and an overall lack of information about the field of facilities management, younger professionals aren’t keen to fill the void. As facilities management evolves and technology is more readily adopted and utilized, the perception of the role is likely to change.
In the meantime, building owners need a way to collect the existing knowledge of their workforce before facility managers leave and take critical information with them. This ensures that whoever comes along to fill the role won’t be starting from scratch.
2. Poor existing data handover processes at the end of construction
The handover process at the end of construction projects is often insufficient in providing the information required for a smooth startup. Building owners either receive no information, or they receive piles of physical documents that make capturing necessary information difficult and time consuming.
Bridging the gap between construction and operations is key to ensuring startup activities are more efficient. Implementing an effective system that digitizes the document management process during construction handover can ensure data that might otherwise get lost is captured and hours of manual entry of paper documentation is eliminated.
3. Time-consuming building startup activities
Due to poor handover processes, operations teams are often required to re-inventory a building before operations can begin. This adds a lot of additional costs for a building owner who is trying to get their building up and running and generating value quickly.
4. Out of date or lost construction documents
If a building owner does get all the documentation at the end of a project, there’s no way to guarantee that will stay up to date without capturing that data digitally. If there’s maintenance performed on an asset, or if an asset is replaced, hard copies become obsolete.
By incorporating a system that captures those installs and services throughout the design process, the need to backtrack and spend time and money tracking down assets is eliminated. Furthermore, it allows facility managers to take a more proactive approach to maintenance.
5. Growing use of 3D models and wayfinding simulations
A trend that is growing is the use of 3D models. This helps in a few different areas specific to facilities management. 3D models can be used to do fire evacuation simulations for development of safety protocols, which also ensures a building is operating under compliance.
3D modeling can also be utilized for wayfinding both from an occupant standpoint when trying to locate people and rooms, and on the FM side when dispatching technicians to perform maintenance somewhere in the building.
By understanding the layout of a given area before dispatching a technician, there’s a basic understanding of the tools required for the job. For example, if a tech knows he’s going to need a ladder to perform maintenance in a given area, he’ll arrive prepared, rather than having to leave to retrieve a ladder and add to billable hours for the job.
6. Building owners looking to get more value out of contractors
In a 2021 Verdantix survey, 48% of firms said getting more value from their existing facility management contracts would be their highest priority over the next 12 months.
BIM can deliver insights into the historical cost of maintenance activities to better allocate budgets for contractors, as well as ensure facility managers are only paying for services and time that are necessary to get the job done.
Additionally, this allows for the development of proactive maintenance plans that keep overall costs at a minimum, while reducing workplace disruptions.
7. Demand to optimize asset lifecycle management and maintenance to reduce costs
Overall, there’s a trending need to capture better data more effectively. A view of a complete inventory means better application of best practices regarding assets. Removing cumbersome paper-based handover practices and implementing a technology-driven approach significantly limits the risk of data loss from conception to finalization to continued operations over the course of the lifecycle of a building. Utilizing a BIM and the comprehensive insights it delivers will prove to be an invaluable resource as we continue to see facility professionals retire and professionals new to the field take their place.
Learn how Autodesk and iOFFICE + SpaceIQ are making these capabilities a reality
With Archibus by iOFFICE + SpaceIQ, you can improve your asset lifecycle, strategic space planning, and more with existing BIM data via a seamless bi-directional integration with Autodesk.
See iOFFICE + SpaceIQ experts’ presentations from Autodesk University 2021