Designing for the Hybrid Workspace


Many of our clients have contemplated what their next steps are for designing their future workspace. They are faced with either moving to a new office with much less square footage or downsizing from their current office suite. Companies are now embracing the “hybrid office” approach, where employees spend part of their time working remotely and the other part from the office. This approach has created the need for fewer permanent workstations and a larger need for collaboration and social connection in the office. As a designer, this has created ample opportunities for reimagining the workspace.

 Most workspaces already faced an increase in design obsolescence before the pandemic. The rate of change has created unforeseen challenges just like the momentum to work from home. Today, we see that most built environments are obsolete needing to adapt to the changes we see today. Many office spaces were designed for focus work to be done in the open plan with not enough breakaway spaces or focused teaming areas. We now see that focus work happens at home delivering high levels of productivity thus creating a new opportunity for the workspace to be the conduit for collaboration and cultural connection amongst people in the company. In most cases, this has resulted in large amounts of underutilized space that needs resetting for collaboration and socialization.  

Ultimately the goal of any workspace is to create an environment that supports people working together toward a common goal. A good starting point is evaluating how much of your workforce will be splitting their time between home and coming into the office. The next step is collecting information on work preferences and workstyles while in the office. This process can include an employee survey, work style questionnaire, onboarding questions, and through observation of current office work. The workspace equation can seem complicated; however, working with an experienced designer can make a huge difference. They can see space through a different lens and are able to reimagine the space to accommodate these goals. This is typically delivered through a set of flexible planning models to accommodate workstyles and maximize utilization. Developing a space flexible to change is key to adapting to new work practices and policies. Conclusively all clients want to maximize the workspace investment to deliver on the mission, vision, and growth of the organization.

Our work with clients has always focused on adapting existing furnishing to accomplish future goals. Working with our manufacturers, we have developed ways to make the changes needed to accommodate the future lifecycle of the workspace. We now can create collaborative areas where rows of workstations once stood to evolve with the needs of the teams we serve. In most cases, we blend the solution between preowned, refurbished, and new furniture with installation services to support these reconfigurations. Redesigning these types of spaces is always a challenge but it is also so much fun getting to re-envision the space. Creating the vision for the client is always rewarding as it’s such a sigh of relief for them. I’ve had so many clients come to me feeling the stress of a project saying they are not sure how all of this is going to work and can’t visualize how to make this happen. I love seeing their expression after I’ve presented the floor plan. I can tell I’ve helped lift a big weight from their shoulders by reimaging their space and solving their workspace problems. It’s almost like a giant puzzle, pulling it apart and putting it back together.