We have reached a consensus: the majority of employees prefer a hybrid model that has them in the office at least 2 days a week. But here’s the problem. Your executives want productivity, engagement, and profitability. Your employees want flexibility, autonomy, and motivation. How do you create a workplace that meets all of these needs?
Let’s assume we aren’t working with an unlimited budget. This is the predicament many workplace teams have found themselves in when planning their hybrid work strategies. Here are three approaches to real estate, operations, and corporate culture that can help.
1 – Rethink your real estate
In the next year, 20% of companies plan to downsize office space. If fewer people come in each day, you don’t need as much space. Companies can save thousands on real estate expenses by downsizing for a hybrid model, particularly in expensive metropolitan areas. In fact, 56% of workplace leaders anticipate cost savings due to reducing their physical workplace footprint and business travel spend.
It’s not always as simple as just cutting down your square footage. Like most things, downsizing requires some strategic planning. That’s why space management has been such a hot topic lately. Workplace leaders are analyzing trends in how employees use spaces within the workplace. These insights help them improve under-utilized spaces and prevent crowding in popular ones.
2 – Know who’s coming in each day
Hybrid work can be cost-effective even if your company doesn’t plan to downsize. Flexibility should not mean unpredictability. If you don’t know how many people plan to show up on any given day, how do you stock the workplace appropriately? Planning for the maximum number of people is a waste of money and resources.
Instead, you can implement an employee registration system to get a clear view of how many people plan to come in over the coming weeks. This way, you can get a sense of foot traffic patterns on the slowest and busiest days, and equip the office accordingly. There are even solutions for flexible food ordering based on who’s registered for work each day.
But what about all the clients, vendors, contractors who may drop by? Get a complete picture of expected capacity with a visitor management system that requires anyone coming on-site to register in advance.
3 – Make employee happiness a priority
Although every company’s work model is different, they all have one thing in common: employees are their most valuable resource. You can’t sail a ship without a crew. Countless studies have proven the high cost of employee turnover. Financially, one employee leaving costs the employer an average 33% of that employee’s salary. If employees leave often, the impact on company morale may begin to spiral. So how do you keep employees happy?
Center your hybrid strategy around a people-centric workplace experience. Sure, a different group of people comes in every day. But they shouldn’t feel like anonymous, transactional customers. When they come to the workplace, they should feel safe, supported, and welcome. And when they work remotely, they should feel this way too. Of course, there’s no instruction manual for boosting employee sentiment. Every company, every team, and every person is unique. It’s important to check in with your employees about how they view their work environment, schedule, career trajectory, and general well-being.
Employee happiness should be top of mind during all conversations about cost reduction. It doesn’t matter how much money you save if it’s at the expense of experience. When employees feel they’re sacrificing more than they’re benefiting from your hybrid workplace, it’s time to re-evaluate your strategy.
Hybrid work can and should benefit everyone involved. That way, whatever storm rolls in next, your crew will be ready and eager to steady the ship.