Moving to a hybrid work model was an easy choice for many companies these past few years. It offers employees flexibility and enables employers to save on operating costs, among many other benefits. But can this model of work suit companies that primarily use the office to build rapport with clients? In short, yes! In a hybrid model, firms get the best of both worlds. Employees can enjoy work-from-home days and leverage the office on other days to give their clients a white-glove experience. But, making hybrid work doesn’t happen overnight. To be successful, you need to plan ahead and adopt the right tools. Not sure where to start? Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. In this post, we’ll break down exactly what to do to prepare for the change and how to go about adapting your space to create a great experience for everyone onsite.
Prepare your firm to switch to hybrid
The first thing you should do before adopting a hybrid work model is prepare your firm to make the switch. By getting everyone on the same page, they’re more likely to feel ready for a new model of work. To prepare, you’ll want to:
- Create a hybrid work policy: Be sure to document changes to your firm’s working policies. A clear hybrid work policy helps employees know what’s expected of them and prevents misunderstandings that could cause your team more work. Be sure the policy includes why your company chose a hybrid model, when employees should be onsite, and clear guidelines for coordinating office days.
- Invest in tools for hybrid work: Be sure your firm has the right tools to make hybrid work. This should include virtual communication and collaboration tools, an employee scheduling tool, a desk booking solution, and room scheduling software. It should also include a visitor management solution for a seamless onsite experience for your clients. Even better, your firm can invest in a robust workplace platform that brings all of these tools together in one place.
- Train folks on these new tools: Finally, be sure your team and employees know how to use any new technologies your firm implements. This will help employees feel prepared to transition to hybrid work—and ensure they actually use the tools the firm invests in. As for your team, training will help ensure they know how to use the backend of these technologies in order to get the most use out of them. This guide walks you through the steps to take to successfully roll out new technologies.
Pro tip: Dive deeper into the points above in the office manager’s guide to planning for hybrid work. You’ll learn about the tools that support hybrid and different types of schedules for this model of work.
Access data to make smarter decisions for hybrid work
Once your employees and team are prepared to switch to hybrid, it’s time to start making changes to your space. As we’ve mentioned, one of the benefits of hybrid work is the flexibility it provides. Employees have more say in how they work, and can be more efficient and productive as a result. Below, we’ll go over the workplace occupancy data you can use to help you create an office where people can work flexibly.
- Foot traffic data: This data helps you understand trends in employee and client foot traffic so you can adjust your space accordingly. For example, if a large number of clients are scheduled to be in the office, you can plan ahead to give them the best experience possible. For example, you might have food catered on these days, or plan to have extra security onsite. You can also use this data to identify the best days to plan office events.
- Desk booking data: This data helps you understand where folks like to work in the office so you can create more of their preferred types of space. It also helps you spot trends in how folks like to work so you can create a supportive environment tailored to employee needs. For example, you might find that employees book more desks in the middle of the week. This could indicate that they use these days to do heads down work, like preparing for client meetings and reading through important documents. To support them on these days, your team might avoid planning office activities in these spaces to minimize disruption.
- Meeting room booking data: This data helps you understand which meeting rooms folks prefer. For example, you might learn that rooms with video conferencing equipment are more sought after than those without it. With this information, you can install conferencing technology to underutilized rooms to make these spaces more useful for employees.
- Upgrade your technology: Finally, don’t make the switch to hybrid work without the right technology to support your team. A workplace platform will provide all of the real-time occupancy data we mentioned above. It’ll also:
- Enable employees to easily find and book space to work in the office
- Integrate with the tools your team and employees already use
- Streamline the client experience so anyone visiting feels welcomed and at ease
Elevate the onsite experience for employees and clients
On top of adapting your space for hybrid work, your job is to help folks realize the value of the office. To do that, you need to provide a high-quality employee and client experience. Try these tips to up level their experience for hybrid work.
- Give your employees the tools they need to manage their day: Empower folks with a workplace platform that caters to their busy, on-the-go schedules. They’ll be able to find and book space to work onsite, plan and coordinate their work schedules, and invite clients to the office—all in one app.
- Go beyond basic needs: When budget allows, find ways to surprise and delight your employees. For example, knowing your employees have busy, meeting-filled schedules, you might stock snacks and beverages that are easy for them to take on the go. Or, you might organize networking events to attract new clients and help employees build rapport with existing ones. Not sure where to start? Ask employees to take a short survey to discover what kinds of office amenities they’d be most interested in.
- Make them look good to their clients: Employees will appreciate the extra care your team takes to make their clients feel welcomed and happy. For example, you can reserve the conference rooms with the nicest views for client meetings. Or, you can stock rooms with beverages and snacks when new or VIP clients are in the office. Some firms even have “experience centers” to help forge better relationships with clients. “When a customer enters a[n experience center], they should begin to understand the connection being made and the potential of the partnership being forged by the experience," explains Greg Gallimore, Gensler’s Northwest regional leader of Digital Experience Design.Of course, you don’t have to start there. Begin by using the visitor data in your workplace platform to identify the most popular days and times to host clients. With this information, you can staff your front desk appropriately on your busy days. You can also schedule maintenance repairs on quieter days to avoid disrupting important meetings.
- Collect and incorporate employee feedback: Finally, be sure to ask your employees how your team can improve the office to meet their work needs and help them enjoy being onsite. This is a great way to surface new ideas for your space while also getting a better feel for what folks like and dislike about it. With this knowledge, you can make improvements to your space and hybrid policies that employees care most about.
—Hybrid work has a lot to offer firms that want to build strong client relationships, but transitioning to this model of work isn’t easy. Having a solid plan will help your employees realize the value of the office and enable you to make every client who walks through your door feel like a VIP.