The Development of the Hybrid Workforce is reshaping the Office Space

The Development of the Hybrid Workforce is reshaping the Office Space

R
by Richard Gall — 1 month ago in Business Ideas 3 min. read
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Many workers were forced to leave their jobs after the pandemic decimated offices and workplaces. It seems that work may just stay home.

According to Microsoft’s Work Trend survey, 77 percent of Malaysian respondents said that they want flexible work options to remain even after the pandemic. Many business leaders and planners are now asking the fundamental question: What’s the office for?

It is possible to be quick to declare offices obsolete. For most knowledge workers, work seems to be possible wherever their computer is.


Many workers were forced to leave their jobs after the pandemic decimated offices and workplaces. It seems that work may just stay home.

According to Microsoft’s Work Trend survey, 77 percent of Malaysian respondents said that they want flexible work options to remain even after the pandemic. Many business leaders and planners are now asking the fundamental question: What’s the office for?

It is possible to be quick to declare offices obsolete. For most knowledge workers, work seems to be possible wherever their computer is.
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Change from the (literal) ground up

There are many examples of change. The office space has changed over time, from the factory lines of Taylorist offices to office cubicles to the Silicon Valley-inspired open-concept offices.

COVID-19 is a major change in the way we work. The office space is poised for another transformation.

COVID-19 has created new expectations for workers. They want to be able to control when and where they work.

This is not a dream for workers. Companies need to meet these expectations, or risk bleeding manpower: In the US, 39 percent of workers would rather quit their jobs than return to the office, with the number rising to 49 percent among Gen-Z and millennial workers.

Yet, on the flip side, not all workers have access to conducive spaces at home, and not all tasks may be optimized for remote work.

Juggling this wide swathe of seemingly opposing needs requires operational intentionality. Business leaders who are considering hybrid work arrangements must look beyond the status quo and reconsider their business practices.

They should also be prepared to make changes from the ground up. This includes rebuilding workplace policies to ensure equality between onsite workers and those working remotely.

Making spaces for work

This shift in perspective can be seen in the Work Trend survey where 62% of Malaysian business leaders indicated that they are thinking about redesigning their offices for hybrid work. What shape will the new office take?

WORQ believes that the workplace should be flexible and agile. We have observed a few trends while working with Malaysian companies that were able to transition to flexible work during the pandemic.
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The rest of the hub and spoke offices

47% of Malaysians who participated in the Work Trend Index survey are not restricted to their offices and congested urban centers. They plan to relocate to a new place this year.

This could be due to commute issues, particularly for urbanites in densely populated cities such as Kuala Lumpur.

The top reason Americans prefer remote work was to avoid the commute. It’s not surprising that many workers are leaving cramped urban workplaces to seek out greener pastures.

Businesses looking to offer hybrid work arrangements may consider downsizing their headquarters and moving to a hub and spoke model.

This model consists of a central urban “hub”, supported by satellite offices in suburban areas. Employees can visit these “spoke” offices for meetings and enjoy a shorter, smoother commute.

The office space grows and shrinks along with the team

A traditional office can find itself with lots of unutilized space when it has a hybrid arrangement. Splitting onsite staff into the work-from-home and onsite teams will result in empty seats. Teams that implement a mix of the all-hands-on-deck and work-from-home days will also see empty seats.


The first option is more effective than the second. This allows businesses to keep their private offices but places a limit on how many people can return to work at the same time.

Flexi-office solutions are another option that is gaining popularity amid the pandemic. Businesses have the option of paying only for the space they use.

We have seen this trend in our own lives: Coworking spaces are not just a trendy solution for freelancers and tech startups; large corporations are looking for flexible options.
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Spaces designed for community

These offices are changing in terms of how they use their space. People are reassessing what work can be done at home and what needs to be handled in the office.

Remote workers often miss out on the opportunity to collaborate in person. To help them make the most of their office time, future workspaces should facilitate collaboration and community.

Richard Gall

Richard is senior editor of The Next Tech. He studied International Communication Management at the Hague University of Applied Sciences.

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