A HR Manager’s Companion Guide for Hybrid Work

As HR Managers, the shift towards a hybrid work model places you at the heart of transforming how your organization operates.

This evolution challenges you to redesign policies and culture to support both remote and in-office work.

Suddenly, your role expands beyond traditional HR functions to include championing flexible working practices.

This guide aims to assist you by providing strategies and insights tailored to HR Managers navigating the transition to a successful hybrid work environment.

Let’s embark on this journey.

Understanding the HR Role in Facilitating Hybrid Work

The HR department has always had people at its core.

But in an age where these people are spread out like never before, and their movement can be entirely unpredictable, helping your teams flourish can seem difficult. You may not know whether your teams are complying with your hybrid policy, or you may feel like you are slowly losing out on your office culture.

An HR manager’s role in today’s world of work requires finding a coordinated approach to hybrid work.

Nowadays, that involves understanding which hybrid work platform (or Integrated Workplace Management System) can help revitalize your office spaces and give you oversight of your employees’ schedules.

Your role is therefore likely to include:

  • Understanding your company’s specific needs when it comes to a workplace management system
  • Researching different hybrid operating platforms and finding one that fits with your company culture and helps guide hybrid policies
  • Helping to ensure company-wide alignment with your chosen hybrid work partner and onboarding your teams
  • Encouraging office attendance, especially during the winter months
Identifying Room Booking Needs from an HR Perspective

The first step towards finding a desk and room booking platform that works for you is understanding your specific organizational needs.

In order to do so, you might want to follow these three steps:

  1. Assess current hybrid work routines

    Everyone is different, and it’s likely your employees have diverse hybrid work routines. Is there a pattern to how and where people get their work done? Can you identify distinct hybrid personas in your organizations? Are your teams motivated enough to come into the office? Understanding the attitudes of your people to hybrid work is the first step towards implementing a desk booking system that feels tailored to them.

  2. Collect input from all departments

    Just as hybrid work habits will differ on an individual level, departments will also vary in their approach to getting work done in this day and age. Make sure you are aligned with the specific approaches of different departments. Perhaps you see a strong need for Marketing to be supported for in-person work, or perhaps you need to factor in clear remote preferences from your Engineering team. Either way, the desk hoteling software you choose should fit around the needs of your departments.

  3. Be clear on your goals

    What do you want to achieve by implementing a platform to help you navigate hybrid work? Is your company keen on reducing real estate costs by getting leaner about how to use physical space? Do you want to boost in-person collaborationand therefore productivity? Approaching hybrid work tools with a clear goal in mind will be important to ensuring they serve you and your teams best.

Get insights on 148 bookings and 66% check-ins on floor 2 of the London HQ office. Alongside booked and checked-in floor occupancy levels for August and September
Selecting the Right Desk Booking System

So you’ve spoken to your teams, understood their attitudes to hybrid work, and decided what larger goals are most important to you and your organization.

Next up — choosing a hybrid work operating platform.

Here’s our recommended method for going about the search:

  1. Look out for essential features

With plenty of desk and room booking systems available, it’s important to discern which ones truly cater to your needs. Keep an eye out for AI-driven platforms that provide smart recommendations on optimal times for desk bookings, and facilitate more meaningful in-person interactions among your employees. A system that delivers comprehensive analyticson the usage of your physical workspaces can also be invaluable. This kind of data not only helps in managing your resources more efficiently but also in planning for future workspace needs.

  1. Team up with the IT department

    Collaborating with your IT team will be important to fully understanding the technical specifications, integration possibilities, and security protocols that come with a new piece of software. One of the most critical aspects to consider is how the solution will blend into your existing digital ecosystem—be it Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Google Workspace—to ensure your team can effortlessly book spaces and collaborate within their usual setup. By prioritizing a solution that seamlessly integrates with your current workflows, you’re setting the stage for a smooth transition to a hybrid work environment.

  2. Focus on user-friendly design

    Imagine getting excited about a new tool, only to find it’s a headache to use. That’s why the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) of the hybrid work platform you choose should be top-notch, intuitive, and ready to use right out of the box. Good design is crucial, not just on desktop but on mobile too, ensuring your team can jump in quickly and actually enjoy using the platform. When a tool is easy and pleasant to use, adoption skyrockets, making everyone’s life easier.

  3. Prioritize collaboration for employee happiness

    Ultimately, the goal of integrating desk hoteling software is to foster an environment where your employees can thrive together, significantly contributing to the success of your business. Opt for a hybrid management solution that not only facilitates regular space bookings for teamwork but also offers the flexibility to tailor and organize your office layout into distinct neighborhoods and zones dedicated to concentration. This approach doesn’t just enhance operational efficiency; it plays a pivotal role in boosting employee satisfaction by nurturing a collaborative and adaptable workspace.

  4. Keep the future in mind

    As time progresses, your team will expand, and your needs will evolve. Make sure that your chosen hybrid operating platform is capable of adapting alongside your organization. Consider whether the platform offers access to a network of on-demand workspaces, a necessity if your existing office space becomes insufficient for your growing team. The ideal desk booking software should equip you and your team with maximal flexibility, ensuring you can navigate significant shifts in your workforce and workspace requirements with ease.

Assign teams to Office Neigborhoods throughout the week
Measuring the Impact of Your Hybrid Operating Platform

Your journey has begun! You’ve done all of the necessary due diligence to understand how a desk booking platform can fit into your company’s workflow, and you’ve worked with IT to implement the platform smoothly and effectively.

But how do you know if it’s worked? Here are some handy ideas to keep your finger on the pulse of your platform’s impact on both employee satisfaction and space usage.

  • Conduct regular employee surveys: Consider gathering feedback on a regular basis on key aspects like work-life balance and job satisfaction. These surveys will help you gauge how your team is receiving your new desk booking platform, and where opportunities for improvement lie.
  • Keep an eye on the metrics: A fully-equipped desk and room booking platform should give you detailed insights into exactly how your employees are making use of the tool. Keeping an eye on these numbers will give you a good idea of how your platform is impacting team collaboration and cohesion. Measure changes in your in-house KPIs and see how they correlate with the implementation of your hybrid work platform.
  • Monitor space usage: One of the largest opportunities that comes with a hybrid operating platform is the ability to understand how your spaces are being used on a daily basis. Check in as often as you can to gain insights into office or flexible workspace occupancy, and share the information with relevant stakeholders. You could be in with a chance of cutting down some major operational costs.
  • Benchmark against industry practices: It’s always worth doing a quarterly check of your hybrid work practices and doing a quick scan into what other comparable companies are doing. The field of hybrid work software is always changing, and it’s important you feel like your platform is keeping up with industry standards.
Kadence: Supporting HR Managers in the Transition to Hybrid Work

As organizations worldwide embrace a hybrid work model, the HR department stands at the forefront of navigating what can feel like a complex transition.

Kadence offers a full suite of tools designed to streamline the hybrid work experience and ensure your teams stay happy and collaborative as they grow. We understand that the essence of a successful hybrid model lies not just in the technology, but in preserving the human connections that define a company’s culture.

By providing intuitive solutions for desk booking, space management, and team collaboration, Kadence ensures that the physical distance between team members does not translate into a cultural divide. Regular feedback mechanisms, detailed analytics on workspace usage, and AI-driven insights allow your HR department to measure and adapt your strategies for the good of your teams.

Kadence stands as more than just a tool for managing hybrid work; it is a partner in sustaining the dynamic, inclusive, and productive workplace cultures that you aim to cultivate through your work in HR.

If you want to learn more about how Kadence can help bring cohesion and collaboration to your workforce, you can find out more here.

If you’d like to see Kadence in action, don’t hesitate to get in touch and book a demo with us.


Hybrid Work Management Software – Choosing the Right One

The rise of hybrid work models has become more than just a trend. It’s a necessity. As teams embrace a flexible work environment, effective Hybrid Work Management Software has become critical.

Read our key considerations that will empower you and your team to choose the right software that best suits your hybrid goals.

The Need for Hybrid Work Management Software

The traditional office setup has undergone a seismic shift. Remote and in-office work are now seamlessly interwoven. This brings both opportunities and challenges.

Companies may worry about communication gaps, cultural shifts, employee engagement and well-being. On a logistical level, managers will have concerns about security, technology integrations and managing desk booking in the office.

Hybrid Work Management Software turns Challenges into Opportunities

With the right Hybrid Work Management Software, these challenges can be easily solved. These platforms can bridge the physical and digital workspaces, which means you and your team can instead focus on the opportunities afforded by hybrid work.

The challenges become short-term issues. The hybrid future is one of enhanced flexibility, access to global talent, and increased productivity. A finely tuned hybrid work environment can cut costs, improve employee retention and attraction, and future-proof your business against any disruption.

This is why choosing the right software is essential. It provides a unified platform for task management, collaboration, and communication. It streamlines workflows, ensuring that team members, whether in the office or working remotely, stay connected and productive.

It is through the software that companies can reach their full hybrid potential.

Key Considerations in Choosing the Right Software

1. Seamless Integration

Seamless integration with existing tools is non-negotiable. Look for a platform that effortlessly integrates with the software currently used and appreciated by your team. This includes:

  • Communication tools
  • Project management platforms
  • Document sharing systems

A strong contender should integrate with widely used tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Google Workspace.

Integrations mean that your hybrid employees do not have to jump from app to app. Your team can work without frustration with a platform that syncs with what they already feel comfortable with. This simplifies the user experience and also minimizes the learning curve for your team.

Employees using their Hybrid Work Management Software and using its various integrations.
Choose a Hybrid Work Management Software that integrates with pre-existing tools.

2. Intuitive User Interface

A user-friendly interface is the cornerstone of effective Hybrid Work Management Software. Your team should be able to navigate the platform effortlessly, irrespective of their technical proficiency. Opt for software with an intuitive design that promotes ease of use and encourages rapid adoption.

An intuitive interface encourages collaboration. It should be easy for team members to access and update information. This reduces the likelihood of errors and ensures that everyone stays on the same page, regardless of their physical location.

3. Flexibility and Scalability

The hybrid work model is inherently dynamic. Think about the long-term needs of your team and how those may change as the company grows. Choose a solution that offers flexibility in customization and scalability to accommodate the evolving demands of your team.

Look for software that allows you to tailor workflows, permissions, and project structures according to your organization’s unique requirements. Scalability is crucial for future-proofing your investment. It ensures that the software can grow alongside your team.

4. Robust Security Measures

The hybrid work model introduces new challenges concerning data security and privacy. Your chosen Hybrid Work Management Software must prioritize robust security measures to safeguard sensitive information.

Look for end-to-end encryption, secure user authentication, and compliance with industry-standard security protocols. A trustworthy software provider will prioritize data protection. Your team should work with confidence, knowing that their information is secure.

Personalizing the Hybrid Work Experience

Each organization has its unique systems and requirements. When choosing the right Hybrid Work Management Software, find a solution that aligns seamlessly with your team’s specific needs and work culture.

Understanding the pain points of your team is central to making the right choice. Are communication gaps impeding collaboration? Is task management becoming a bottleneck? Identifying these pain points allows you to prioritize features that directly address your team’s challenges.

For instance, if your team struggles with finding time to collaborate, prioritize a solution with real-time notifications. These can give you suggestions on when your team could work together based on when they will be working at the office.

This is an image of a smart booking notification in the Hybrid Management Software to let you know 2 of your starred colleagues have booked to be in one liberty plaza and to book a space if you want to join them
Get an instant smart desk booking suggestion to let you know when your teammates are heading to the office.

The key is personalization. Tailoring your choice to your team’s specific needs ensures that the software becomes a catalyst for positive change. Without personalization, the software only adds a layer of complexity.

Consider Kadence as your Hybrid Work Management Software

The most beneficial hybrid work environment cultivates a culture of collaboration, innovation, and success.

Kadence helps you and your team perfect hybrid working. Book desks or meeting rooms within seconds. No longer worry about scheduling conflicts and instead spend time building connections.

With Kadence, work smarter by knowing where and when your colleagues have booked a desk. Our Smart Suggestions recommend when to head into the office, so you can collaborate, and even choose a desk next to them.

Kadence seamlessly integrates with your existing technology tools – so you can use Kadence in Slack, Teams, and more without disrupting your workflow.

And with Insights, Kadence gives you a detailed guide to how your team uses the offices available to them. Reports will tell you what spaces are being wasted, so you can save on real estate costs.

If you’re looking for the right hybrid work management software for you and your team, book a demo today and we’ll show you exactly how Kadence can help you find your rhythm for work.


The Hybrid Manifesto: Principles for Hybrid Work

This post is a summary of the Hybrid Manifesto – a guide to a flourishing Hybrid Workplace Policy. For the full manifesto, please visit hybridmanifesto.org

What is The Hybrid Manifesto?

The Hybrid Manifesto is a document that sets out the guiding principles for implementing hybrid workplace policy. It aims to provide companies with a framework for creating a work environment that benefits their People, Profits, and the Planet.

Why did we write it?

We are at a crossroads in time.

With the availability of tools for fully remote work, people no longer need to commute to offices to do their jobs.

However, coming together in person has its own set of unique benefits, such as accomplishing shared goals, connecting as human beings, and building community.

The question is — how do you balance those two things? It’s a daunting task, especially when you’re doing it without the right support.

That’s why we wrote the Hybrid Manifesto.

At Kadence, we’ve helped countless organizations manage the transition to hybrid work over the last few years.

We wanted to use our knowledge to make it easier for every single organization on the planet to understand the foundations and principles behind hybrid work, and give them a framework to optimize their work environment through a hybrid workplace policy.

What are the foundational pillars of hybrid work?

The Hybrid Manifesto defines four key pillars that are essential for successful hybrid work: Trust, Alignment, Execution, and Flourishing.

Trust is the foundation for all team health and performance, and is established through effective, transparent communication.

Alignment ensures that everyone is rowing in the same direction, in sync with their team members and the company.

Execution means that everyone on the team is able to articulate the strategy of the organization and execute it.

Flourishing is the commitment of a hybrid organization to the long-term health of People, Profits, and the Planet.

Building these foundations in an organization has some important long-term benefits.

What are the key benefits of hybrid work?

The Hybrid Manifesto promotes the three key benefits of hybrid work:

1. Shared vision above corporate controls

Personal goals and company goals are aligned, as opposed to being “top-down”

2. Situational flexibility above rigidity and repetitiveness

Empowering people to choose where to work yields better performance and happier employees

3. Meaningful collaboration above individual burnout

The social role of collaboration is protected and valued as an important work tool

By implementing the principles outlined in the manifesto, organizations can achieve increased productivity, reduced burnout, and greater employee retention. Learn more about the Hybrid Manifesto here and how it can benefit your organization.

If you are a company thinking about transitioning to hybrid work, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team.

How did we get here? The Hybrid Working Evolution

“Hybrid work represents the biggest shift to how we work in our generation…it will require a new operating model, spanning people, places, and processes.”

– Satya Nadella, CEO & Chairman, Microsoft

The pandemic has changed the way the world works forever and now 90% of companies are moving to hybrid working. Whether a company moves to hybrid or not is no longer the question – the question now is how to do hybrid.

The vast majority of companies are unknowingly sleepwalking into a hybrid model that has the potential to destroy not only their company’s culture but also its performance. This is due to a focus on managing hybrid real estate (their second largest cost) to the detriment of their most valuable asset and largest cost, their people.

As the world transitions to hybrid, more variables will be introduced to the everyday work experience – making it increasingly difficult to coordinate and work with colleagues. In fact, Adam Grant has stated that “the first and perhaps cardinal sin of hybrid work is a lack of coordination.” Many solutions are stuck trying to solve today’s hybrid challenges with yesterday’s facilities management tools – making it impossible for employees to know where the best place to work is or, more importantly, who they can actually work with.

In this three-part blog series, we will look at the common hybrid working models, discover how we got to where we are today, the challenges that are presented by hybrid working, and most importantly – how companies can solve the challenges by adopting a facilities people-first approach to hybrid work.

How We Got Here: Hybrid Phase 1

The pandemic didn’t just create the hybrid working model out of nowhere, it has simply accelerated the trend. In fact, the trend started in the early 2000s when the internet became good enough to be reliably used at home. In Hybrid 1, the work desk could be anywhere, as long as there was an electrical socket and an ethernet cable.

Shortly after this came Hybrid 1.5 – the birth of WiFi. WiFi meant that employees were no longer tethered to the desk by an ethernet cable. There were still some physical barriers though and it wasn’t until the Blackberry, and subsequently the iPhone, that work could truly happen anywhere and at any time. The iPad catalyzed the *bring your own device* (BYOD) movement and the global investment in WiFi infrastructure went into overdrive. The canvas was now set for people to work anywhere because the tools for work were now untethered from the office.

How We Got Here: Hybrid Phase 2

In 2020 the pandemic brought about Hybrid 2 (aka forced remote). It wasn’t hybrid per se, but an unexpected extension of hybrid that many of us were already familiar with.

Because the infrastructure for flexible working had already been laid over the last 20 years – Hybrid 2 worked – white-collar workers kept their jobs (though often at the expense of their mental health) and companies themselves largely continued to grow. By the Summer of 2020, the conversation had already turned to thinking about and planning for what work would look like after the pandemic. It became clear that what companies and employees wanted above all else was flexibility.

Hybrid working

Hybrid phase 2 proved that employees could be trusted to get work done anywhere. Naturally, employees wanted to keep the flexibility and autonomy they had gained during the pandemic. It also proved that companies could operate without all their expensive real estate and that employees worked just as hard at home as in the office. Furthermore, companies now had access to talent outside the confines of an acceptable commute to the office.

This brings us to today as the pandemic moves to endemic, the stage is now set for the future of work to finally begin! Over half a billion people are now moving to hybrid – there hasn’t been a change to the way the world works like this since the Industrial Revolution. This change has huge implications for society, the environment, companies, and workers on a global scale. If we, as a society, get this right, everyone benefits.

Hybrid 1 provided the toolkit for hybrid working

Hybrid 2 proved that it could work under the most extreme conditions

..and now post-pandemic everyone wanted a third way!

After two years of build-up, the dawn of the future of work is now upon us – so what’s going to happen next as we transition out of the pandemic? Read on for the second part of the blog series here >>

When do people choose to come to the office and why?

When people choose to come into the office has fast become the hot topic of the last 18 months. During national lockdowns, the global workforce had unintentionally been handed the gift of choice enabling them to choose HOW they worked. It not only made people far more productive, but it became a key differentiator in what employees were looking for in their work, and careers.

Now that more people are returning to their office for the value of face-to-face collaboration, community, belonging, and well-being certain days have become more popular than others. An interesting insight claiming the attention of employers looking to understand employee booking habits, and how their spaces are being used.

Is Thursday the new Friday?

Bookending the working week at home is becoming a common trend amongst workers. With a quieter Monday, as well as Friday ‘many are commuting to their workplace during the “core” midweek days – Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.’ Interestingly from Kadence data, as much as Tuesdays-Thursdays are the most popular days that people decide to go into the office (see figure 1), those that do choose to come into the office are a relatively small number compared with those overall (see figure 2).

Busiest office days

Figure 1

Hybrid working

Figure 2

A recent study in the Office of National Statistics showed almost 60% of the U.K workforce claimed to have improved well-being with hybrid working. Not only this but employers saw 42.6% reduced overheads alongside a mighty 40.8% in increased productivity due to this change.

https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/articles/ishybridworkingheretostay/2022-05-23

Conclusion: Working part remote, and part in the office makes things better for companies as well as their people, and to do this successfully requires a tool that makes team and individual schedules visible so you can plan to be in the right place, at the right time, and with the right people, every time!

In-person vs. Heads-down

Really, there’s no contest here. The bottom line is finding what works for you and your team. Whether coming into the office on a quieter day so you can concentrate on your work in a different environment in many ways is just as appealing as doing that from home. Finding a rhythm for in-person team collaboration, or solo work whether virtual or face-to-face, in the office or at home is the key here.

https://wfhresearch.com/

 

In the data above, taken from WFH Research, Nicolas Bloom, an Economics professor at Stamford University found that face-to-face collaboration was the most popular reason to head back into the office. With ‘quiet’ being the least of the drivers to go into the office, what are the benefits to working from home when you need to? 

Whilst many realize that working from home does come with its benefits, the true benefit here in adopting a flexible working policy, and allowing people to work whenever works best for them, is how it vastly improves individual productivity. (see slide 12 of Microsoft’s New Future of Work Report 2022) Although there is no right or wrong way of working, here are some quick pros and cons that might be helpful when it comes to working from home.

Pros to working from home:

  • Through having to use telecommuting tools such as Slack, Zoom, Asana, and Microsoft Teams, you’ll learn to be excellent at communication and time management in a way that wouldn’t be that necessary in an office amongst your team.  
  • Workers are typically less distracted socially, and able to concentrate on important tasks in quieter environments. The surrounding office noise, as well as the temptation to socialize (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing) with your teammates, might mean you get less focused work done. 
  • You’ll save on time and money. Allowing you to spend more time with family, and saving on the cost of commuting 

Cons to working from home:

  • Workers can sometimes find it hard to stop working and make clear distinctions between work time, and family/personal time. ‘With a shift to remote work and elimination of physical boundaries knowledge workers felt a sense of being ‘always-on’. Tools that help individuals disconnect after work can reduce stress, promote employee wellbeing, and reduce liability stemming from after-hour work’ (Williams 2018)
  • Feeling disconnected from your team, and a huge helping of FOMO
  • Creating deeper connections with management, and feeling undervalued, and unseen for your work efforts

It’s clear a balance is needed, and for workers to adopt hybrid working in the true sense of the word requires tools that make it work successfully.

 

Help your team make the best choices

Choice and autonomy are key differentiators that separate the companies that empower their people, and the companies that are continuing to trudge on in the old ways of working. Having said that, it’s just as important to establish frameworks that help guide your people to make the best choices without being controlling. We call this ‘coordinated scheduling’. Having too much choice sounds great in theory, yet when employees that need to focus are presented with too many endless options we step right back into a bedlam of friction that takes up too much thought time, and productivity. The secret here is to identify the moments that matter to be together and present your teams with the right choices with tools that empower them to do great work.

 

Conclusion

Teams choose to come into the office for many reasons but the evidence favors in-person collaboration – being connected to your people and a clear work-life balance. A critical mass of people flooding to go to the office does encourage others to attend for fear of missing out, typically during the middle of the week, catapulting what could quite easily be the new working model for generations to come. However for most, it’s flexible working, and working in a way that works best for you that always trumps who’s planning on going into the office, whichever day of the week that may be. A solution that makes this possible, with all the added benefits in between, is the one that will come out on top.

When do your teams go into the office and why?

How to Set Up Office Neighborhoods That Create Synergy

It’s not merely enough to have a business model that supports both in-person and remote employees. Instead, your new business model should be flexible enough to cater to the flexibility of the different work styles and schedules.

Office neighborhoods software allows you to meet these demands head-on. As such, knowing the different office neighborhood sections enables you to put seats and employees together in a way that supports every individual, team, and department in your organization.

Our desk booking software solution also makes it easier for employees to easily find their seats as they navigate through different tasks and demands, like navigating from individual work to collaboration activities.

What Are Office Neighborhood?

In its simplest form, this is a combination of the open office and the traditional cube office floor plan but with a higher resemblance to an open office plan. However, the office neighborhood layout is grouped into synergetic workers, making employees members of a community or group rather than individuals in different departments.

The strategy uses urban physics, an engineering concept that gets insights from studying interactions between people in a city and discovering problems, trends, and opportunities. It then uses this information to design an optimal working environment with better interactions.

Matching Employee Needs

The more your office neighborhood fits your employee needs, the more effective it is. For instance, an office neighborhood layout incorporates quiet and collaborative sections, giving employees various options to work more productively.

By including sections where employees can brainstorm and interact, you create a space that caters to every employee’s working style. The strategic placement of your desks additionally ensures you follow the social distancing protocols.

Neighborhood Sections

Typically, each section seats at least 30 people, and the groups are based on the function, activity, project, or amenities available for work. Additionally, office neighborhood seating is organized into either desk hoteling or hot desking.

The hot desking seating arrangement allows employees to select their desks every day on a first-come, first-served basis. The desk hoteling will enable employees to pre-book a desk space either by the hour, day, or week and check-in once they arrive at the office. Different groups can also book a group of desks.

Different Types Of The Office Neighborhood Layouts

There are many different suggestions on the types of neighborhood sections you should have in your office. But the trick is to get the one that suits your employee’s needs the best. As such, the most common types of neighborhoods include the following:

  • Open seating office neighborhoods
  • Team specific office neighborhoods
  • Activity-based office neighborhoods

Open Seating Office Neighborhoods

As the name suggests, the open seating office neighborhood allows employees to sit anywhere in the section, as long as the space is accessible to the employee. This plan is perfect for employees that prefer a more flexible work culture since it allows them to work from any desk.

It also caters to specific employee needs, like meeting on a sofa during brainstorming activities instead of rigidly assigned desks or office boardrooms. Ensure these spaces are also equipped with tools like whiteboards to facilitate effective working. An open seating neighborhood is ideal for remote, volunteer, or traveling employees and other visitors.

Team Specific Office Neighborhoods

In this section, only a specific team can sit in the neighborhood. For example, you can have different sections for a sales team floor plan and a customer support team floor plan. The best time to use a team-specific office neighborhood is to provide a custom experience for each employee.

Also, different teams often have different needs. For example, a sales team needs spaces to store sample products while the design team requires large desks and fixed monitors to create product plans and design prototypes. This means that a one-size-fits-all seating setup is not ideal for your employee working sections.

Activity-based Office Neighborhoods

Do you have a special team with special activity needs? If yes, an activity-based office neighborhood is ideal for meeting the needs of these employees. Keep in mind that different floor plans support various work activities, meaning you need a flexible plan when arranging your desk clusters.

As such, this is the perfect seating model if your employees have special requirements for their workstations or if employees need unique spaces for certain types of working activities like group work on occasion.

Examples Of Neighborhoods In Offices

Small and large companies can customize their office neighborhoods entirely. As these examples show, you should aim to build neighborhoods that provide your employees excellent satisfaction instead of adopting the trending options.

  • Google: The Company used urban physics to design their Chicago workspace, thus, creating a neighborhood that looks like a speakeasy. The section has increased connections and innovative creativity among Google employees due to its intimate setting.
  • Groupon: The Company’s conference room is tiki bar-inspired, meaning it provides an escape for employees, an ideal setting for brainstorming ideas.
  • Uber: Uber headquarters have smaller neighborhood sections that provide a unique sense of collaboration, community, and shared support.
  • Gerson Lehrman Group (GLC): their office is arranged into neighborhoods that model the activity-based working neighborhood type, allowing employees to work together on similar projects. 

Implementing And Managing Office Neighborhoods

As mentioned, an office neighborhood includes a variety of sections that include large communal tables, standing desks, pods or focus booths, conference rooms, huddle rooms, hot desks, and breakout spaces.

Prepare First

But before implementing an office neighborhood design, it is essential that you first determine your employee needs. Also, office neighborhood software like Kadence can help you design, schedule, and manage your sections and seating arrangements.

For instance, a modern workplace scheduling system is excellent for gathering workplace analytics to use when designing how to utilize your office space effectively. Our Space Management solution tells you which rooms are used the most by employees, making it easier to understand and fashion your neighborhoods according to employee preferences.

Keep Employees in Mind

Design thinking, together with employee feedback from surveys of running focus groups, put you in your employees’ shoes. This space is excellent for generating ideas to transform your office into fantastic neighborhood sections.

Keep in mind that your seating setup affects your bottom line. As such, you need strategic seating that will boost your ROI and employee productivity. This also means using technology solutions that facilitate your office neighborhood setup. One such solution is desktop booking software.

Desktop Booking Software

office neighborhood

The solution allows you to create a neighborhood with flexible seating arrangements that meet your employees’ needs. For instance, check the request of your employees on the software data and create a seating that fits their demands. Meaning, you offer options like open space or hot desks if that is what your employees want. A desktop booking software also makes it easier for workplace managers to organize seating arrangements based on the specific needs of different departments.

If your office is hybrid, the software can create several types of neighborhoods like bookable seating for hybrid workers that require specific slots during the days they come to the office, open seating for unannounced workers or visitors, and assigned seating for employees that require dedicated seating arrangements.

Make Your Spaces Work For Your People

An excellent workplace scheduling software solution provides added features and capabilities that make setting up and managing an office neighborhood seamless. For instance, features in your software solution might include desk permissions to customize different desks to specific departments or employees, neighborhood reporting to help collect data that is useful for optimizing your office sections, and integration capabilities with tools like Outlook that further enhance office processes. Besides, a synergic office neighborhood section is a perfect system for putting your employees top of mind, making it easier for them to remain motivated, productive, and engaged at work. 

Hybrid Workplace Persona #4: The Traditionalist

A diverse workplace brings many benefits to an organization, but it can also present challenges – particularly in times of change. The shift to hybrid, for example, is bound to impact your people in different ways.

As you navigate the transition, understanding the personalities you’re catering for will help you plan every aspect, from systems to workplace layouts. In our hybrid workplace persona blog series, we’re looking at four of the most common characters you’ll find in your organization: the soloist; the adapter; the culturalist; and the traditionalist. In each one we explore how you can help them adjust to this new normal.

In this final edition, we’re going back to basics with the traditionalist.

The traditionalist likes things just so – at work, they’re as regular as clockwork. Monday to Friday, 9 to 5. Dependable and reliable, their natural habitat is the office. A sighting at a café or co-working space is rare. Averse to change, they’ll probably be the most resistant members of your team to hybrid. They’ll wish things could return to the pre-pandemic norm and would prefer to come into the central office every day.

Rearranged office space, desk hoteling, and a more flexible office culture will be hard to swallow. They’ll want to get back to their own desk, set up just how they like.

Here are 4 ways to help them cope:

1. Offer permanent workstations

If you’ve got the space in your office, there’s no reason why you can’t mix desk hoteling with permanent desks.
Ask employees who would like to be in the office full time, and set aside an area with permanent desks for them. You’ll overcome any anxiety a traditionalist may have about sharing desks or having to sit at a different desk each time they come in.

Desk booking software systems give you the power to experiment with layouts virtually. You’re also able to easily remove any permanently assigned desks from the pool of bookable workstations.

2. Allow recurring desk bookings

If it’s not practical to assign permanent desks, the next best solution is to allow long term desk bookings. Your desk booking software should enable employees to book the same desk at regular slots over time. Not quite a permanent desk, but close.

Your traditionalists will be comforted knowing they’ll be at the same desk each time they come in.
This does, of course, risk people block-booking a desk but not using it. A good desk booking system should flag unfulfilled bookings, so you can have a polite word with repeat offenders.

3. Get visibility into teams’ schedules

Traditionalists don’t just want a permanent desk, they’ll miss office life as well. Days when the place was full and buzzing. The daily chats with colleagues, coffee in the cafeteria, and lunchtime rituals. The rotating schedules of a hybrid workplace won’t appeal.

The solution? Implement a system that allows people to get visibility into teams’ schedules and sync their work flow. Traditionalists will be able to organize their time around colleagues’ schedules, so being in the office feels like it used to. It will encourage collaboration and help rekindle your organizational culture.

4. Customize office neighborhoods with the right amenities

For the traditionalist, work activities are best supported by the office and its facilities. Working from the kitchen table in a shared house is a long way from ideal. While your hybrid workplace won’t be the same as a pre-pandemic office, office neighborhoods give you the opportunity to tailor parts of the workplace for teams.

A brand and marketing team neighborhood, for example, might include access to breakout spaces for brainstorming. A finance team neighborhood might be more focused on quiet concentration. In a slimmed down, hybrid office, your traditionalists will appreciate that they’ve still got access to the tools and amenities specific to their role.A compromise between the way things were and the way they are

Catering for traditionalists inevitably involves compromise. A hybrid workplace is going to look different to an office built for a traditional 9-to-5 culture. But with the right tools and approach, you can find a middle ground that leaves even the staunchest happy.

Finding a way for them to keep a permanent desk – or at least book one long term – and enabling them to sync their working patterns with colleagues will go a long way to recreating that traditional office atmosphere. And tailored office neighborhoods will ensure the new look office still has all the facilities they were used to, back in the good old days.

The Space Management Challenges Your Return To Office Plan Must Solve

How do your people feel about returning to the office? How do you? Putting together a return to the office plan that delivers a safe, efficient, and agile space management process is an immensely complex task.

Health and safety measures at your workplace

People worry about their health and wellbeing. Close to a half (39%) of American and British workers say they’ll no longer use shared kitchen areas, cups, and utensils or make coffee and tea rounds in the office. A quarter (24%) won’t even use shared elevators.

You need to make sure workspaces are cleaned and sanitized properly, ideally, as soon as they’ve been released back to the pool. That would help you optimize the workplace experience for the employee as well as maximize the use of company real estate.

What’s more, the global health situation and government regulations will likely continue to change. There may be potential outbreaks in the office requiring you to adjust its layout and restrict employee access at a moment’s notice. You need to be prepared to act swiftly in all of these scenarios.

Desk and room booking process for your hybrid workplace

Just walking into the office and grabbing a desk for the day is no longer acceptable. Nor is a manually updated excel sheet of desk bookings and the employees working in the office a long-term solution.

Yet both you and your people need visibility over who’s coming in and when. A quarter (25%) of US and UK workers worry about finding the right kind of workspaces once the office doors open. It’s not just a question of choosing between a silent zone and a collaboration hub.

Can your plan for returning to the office solve these three challenges?

People want to:

  • book a desk that’s close to the amenities they’ll need that day;
  • have it available at different times to optimize their productivity cadence and maintain a healthy work-life balance;
  • be sure the colleagues they’re looking forward to meeting will be in the office.

Your team managers will also appreciate a more efficient way of organizing hybrid team meetings than a half hour back and forth via Slack or email to pick the right time, book a room, and check the tech they need will be there. Combine that with health and safety concerns, and there’s little wonder many suffer from anxiety about returning to the office.

Can your return-to-office plan solve these challenges? Yes, it can. In fact, it’s crucial that it does if you want to nurture collaboration and motivate your people to come to the office for that face-to-face time that’s so crucial for productivity and mental wellbeing.

Three questions to answer in your plan for welcoming people back to the workplace

1. Will you choose a phased approach or open up to everyone at the same time?

There are various internal and external factors that may impact this decision or be affected by it, including government-imposed restrictions, company budget, internal approval processes, and the building’s cleaning protocols.

2. What’s the main role of the office in a hybrid work context?

Survey your employees to understand what they value most in a workplace and what they need to perform at their best. That will likely include different activity-based office neighborhoods, such as social and collaboration hubs and silent zones. Space usage insights will help you to further optimize the office layout.

3. What do you need to look for in a space management app?

The success of any space management system starts and ends with user adoption. So choose a workplace app that’s a fit for the company as well as the people.

Look for:

  • Ease of use with excellent UX and UI across devices
  • Useful features like smart suggestions, single sign-on, and integrations with your existing tech tools, apps and software
  • Support for coordinating individual and team cadences for easy collaboration.
  • Well-rounded safety measures covering self-certification, automated cleaning updates, and touchless mobile check-in.
  • Agile space management features such as customizable layouts and flexible policy settings that allow you to instantly block desks, office neighborhoods, or an entire building.

To uncover the exact steps to implementing a safe and efficient desk booking process in a hybrid workplace, download our Complete Guide to Building a Return to the Office Plan.

4 new product features to help empower your team for a smooth return to office

As workplace leaders, managers of teams and employers are slowly discovering ways and methods to pull in their troops from remote working comforts, we can all agree that returning to the office for everyone now looks different. 

The office is key for collaboration and should be designed for a great working experience for all. Buzzing with your teammates and co-workers around ideas during focus based project work simply isn’t the same as working solo from home in your pyjamas. What we need are solutions for flexible working to enable the best workplace experience for all. We need solutions with features to make returning to the office easy and exciting that helps empower your team to do their best work – here are some of our latest features you need to know:

  1. Self-certification: keep your employees safe
  2. Multi-device booking: book a space on any device anywhere
  3. Parking: book a space for your ride to work
  4. Floor insights: optimize spaces with deeper data insights

Self-certification: Keep your employees safe

The return to the office post-Covid does mean that the office needs to be a safe environment for your team to return. For your space to be the place your team loves to be it also needs to be the place where your team feels safe. Self-certify will allow the employer to customize their health screening message and policy, as well as allow employees user to self-certify before checking in to their reserved spaces. 

Multi-device booking: Book a space on any device anywhere

To maximise on when you book it’s important to maximise on how you book. Web booking as a new feature adds another dimension to the booking experience with more versatility and flexibility to book in the way you want. 

As an employee, you are now able to create bookings through a web browser in all the same ways you can through the mobile app. Better still, if you are unable to download the app on your mobile device or have limited storage, web-booking is also mobile compatible giving you the same experience either way.

Parking: Book a space for your ride to work

We recognize that commuting to the office in your car, motorbike or bicycle means parking can be tricky, especially at peak times. Hoping space will be available when your mind is focused on the presentation you need to deliver that morning doesn’t add up to a great working experience. For us, we wanted to help create the best booking experience by creating the best booking convenience. 

As an administrator, you can now add and assign parking spaces to a particular building allowing your employees the option to add a parking space to their booking that day. One less thing to worry about.

Floor insights: Optimize space with deeper insights

Insights are heavily focus on capacity and occupancy monitoring, as an administrator, you now have fuller and deeper visibility on space usage of spaces to enable you to make more use out of less. 

With ‘Floor insights’, administrators can see high-level or drilled down statistics into a particular floor and office neighborhoods. See what parts of the floor space are busier than others and allocate resources accordingly to help your teams do their best work – find out more about Kadence analytics here

Book a demo with one of our team today to see how Kadence’s desk booking software could help you create an effective hybrid workplace.

Which companies are going hybrid?

Remote-only, hybrid working model, or all staff back in the office? As vaccinations roll out and economies tentatively open up, organizations are working out what their new normal will look like. For some, the pandemic accelerated a transition to flexible working that had been brewing for some time. Others are keen to get back to a traditional office setup – as far as possible.

But going hybrid is more than just functional – the when and the what. It’s about company culture. How much freedom employees are afforded, how prescriptive the leadership style is, and how prized innovation is will all influence where a company falls on the hybrid spectrum.

How 10 companies are approaching hybrid working – or not!

From Netflix to Google, let’s take a look at how different companies are approaching going hybrid. Some have focused on teamwork and collaboration, others on flexibility or wellbeing. And for the traditionalists, it’s all about getting back to the office and seeing their coworkers again.

Showing a spectrum of how different companies will work after the pandemic, from Netflix in the office to GitHub 100% remote

Source: CoScreen

Remote-first approach

For many businesses, the pandemic highlighted how effective a remote-first setup can be. Fully remote companies are now eschewing the traditional office setup to give employees the flexibility and freedom to work from home, while remote-first companies let them choose where they work. This means employees aren’t expected to work for the company office.

1. Coinbase ‘No-office Headquarters’

Crypto currency exchange Coinbase has closed its main office headquarters for good and will encourage employees to work remotely or at smaller, local offices. Company founder and former Airbnb engineer Brian Armstrong sees it as a democratizing move that ensures equal career opportunities for all employees, no matter where they are based.

An official statement said: “Closing our SF office is an important step in ensuring no office becomes an unofficial HQ and will mean career outcomes are based on capability and output rather than location. Instead, we will offer a network of smaller offices for our employees to work from if they choose to.

2. InVision: International Reach And Employee Happiness

Did you know that InVision has a director of Employee Happiness? Making their employees happy is an important objective for InVision. To that effect, the company has a house swaps channel that keeps employees aligned and connected.

As far as fully remote companies go, InVision has mastered the art of providing a company culture that hires a top talent team of hard-working and humble individuals. This is in addition to excellent company values and an amazing product that customers love because it is aligned to their needs.

More than that, InVision is globally distributed with an international reach. As one of the company’s benefits, employees can swap locations to work and travel to new places across the globe. This comes with excellent medical insurance, a free gym membership package, and options packages that imbue the feeling of company ownership.

3. Equinix: Drop-in workspaces

Multi-national Equinix has a remote-first model centred on flexibility. There’s no location requirement for staff, though drop-in co-working spaces are available in certain locations. A long-term IT strategy based on flexible digital infrastructure meant that the company already had in place the technology to enable remote working when the pandemic hit. They’re also looking at enhancing their in-office experience, including hybrid meetings where your Zoom call launches automatically as you walk into your pre-booked meeting room.

4. Buffer: Solves Remote Loneliness

In 2020, Buffer discovered that twenty percent of remote workers struggle with loneliness. Therefore, the company put measures to help their fully remote employees work through unplugging and loneliness feelings. This was achieved by offering a monthly stipend to every remote employee for coffee shops. When employees work in a coffee shop, the different energy and setting mitigate loneliness.

 

5. Go Daddy: Empower Employees Outside Work

Imagine working for an organization that lets you take a part-time job outside your office hours. More than that, the company helps you pursue the side hustle. This is what Go Daddy does. The company has a culture of empowering its remote workers beyond their responsibilities at work.

This means that any employee with a hobby they would love to monetize will get help from Go Daddy. In addition, the company offers opportunities for workers to enhance their careers through education.

Go Daddy has a flexible work schedule to ensure workers are not overwhelmed, meaning you can schedule your working hours around taking care of pets and children. Go Daddy expresses the advantages of working for fully remote companies that value their employees.

6. Airbnb: Let employees take charge

Employees are in charge, not companies”, says Airbnb CEO and Co-Founder Brian Cesky.

With an agile and decentralized business model, Airbnb has fully embraced flexible working, allowing employees to work from wherever they choose. Their logic? Employees want it, so Airbnb needs to accommodate it to attract the best people, as Cesky says: “The employees and the talent market is going to drive working flexibility, not the companies. Because if a company says these are our rules, they’re not going to have the talent.

7. Doist: Asynchronous Working Hours

Doist has worked hard to fully accommodate its employees and provide an entirely flexible experience. The company is one of the global, remote-first, and fully remote companies that care significantly about employees. For example, new parents can bring their baby and partner to the company retreat. You also choose your coworking office based on your preference, and the working hours at Doist are entirely flexible as long as you clock 40 hours at the end of each week. Doist primarily works as a remote-first company.

 

8. Close: Focus On Deliverables

This fully remote company helps businesses convert traffic into revenue into leads. Close doesn’t focus much on working hours. Instead, the company looks at the deliverables of each remote employee every week. Close offers its employees realistic projects, deliverables, and deadlines and empowers them to work on the deliverables individually. In addition to this flexibility, Close offers a monthly $200 coworking stipend and two annual team retreats.

 

Going hybrid with a focus on teamwork

Companies like Google, Facebook and Fujitsu have put in place infrastructure that helps bring their respective teams together to reignite collaboration and connection.

9. Google Campfires

Google has long been a workplace innovator. The Googleplex’s open plan offices with bright and bold common spaces and free food and transport seemed like a window into the future when it launched back in 2003.

In 2018 Google commissioned a team of space architects, engineers, builders and tech specialists to redesign the workplace environment around three principles: work can happen anywhere, workplaces are more than desks and meeting rooms, and employees’ needs are changing constantly.

Its post-pandemic innovations focus on facilitating hybrid working, and include flexible team pods that can be reconfigured quickly to meet different needs, and “campfires” that cater for hybrid meetings. A campfire features a seating circle interspersed with vertical digital displays that show remote attendees dialing in, to try to establish an equal footing for all participants.

10. Fujitsu Creative Hubs

Pre-pandemic, the Fujitsu culture prized long hours in the office and face-to-face work. But fast forward 18 months, and 85% of employees favor either a remote or hybrid workplace model. To support the transition, the company has committed to creating an ecosystem of workspaces designed to cater for different needs. The setup is made up of hubs, satellites, and shared offices.

Hubs will facilitate creativity, co-creation and serendipitous encounters between colleagues. Satellites will enable teams to coordinate shared projects using video conferencing and face-to-face meetings, and shared offices provide easily accessible spaces in urban centres for employees who want to use an office for independent work, online meetings or virtual training.

11. Facebook: A place for culture building

In another vote for a hybrid, remote-first model, Facebook plans for many of its employees to work off-site most of the time – but come into the office for culture building, training, key meetings and events.

The social media giant is actively hiring remotely too, particularly for senior level staff who don’t need as much in-person training or career development support. CEO Mark Zuckerberg sees it as a boon for diversity, as he can recruit outside of traditional tech communities such as Silicon Valley and San Francisco: “Enabling remote work is going to be very positive on that front toward creating more broad-based economic prosperity.

A focus on employee wellbeing

From recognizing meeting fatigue to a clearly-communicated phased return, Microsoft, Coda and Intel have prioritized employee wellbeing.

7. Intel: Meeting-free Fridays

Intel is embracing hybrid working, and is making cultural changes to help ease the burden on remote workers. To combat meeting fatigue – something most of us will be familiar with – they’re instigating meeting-free Fridays. They’ve also set meeting start-times at ten past the hour to make them shorter, and are encouraging days off to disconnect.

8. Microsoft: Phased return to the Office

Microsoft has in place a phased return to the office that includes different stages, ranging from remote-only to fully open campuses. Even with fully open campuses, hybrid work and flexibility will be the order of the day. Microsoft describes their research-driven approach to designing agile workspaces that encourage collaboration and meet the diverse needs of its teams.

9. Coda Inclusive Meetings

Online collaboration firm Coda has embraced the refreshed company culture forced upon them by mandatory remote work. They’ve made their meeting cadence lighter and more inclusive to cater for employees spread across different locations. Meetings are now all held at 1 pm and recurring meetings are banned on Wednesdays to allow time for focused work or for employees to change work locations and balance other life commitments. They’ve also introduced a company-wide social hour to help with isolation, including quizzes, cocktail-making and online games.

Office-first model

To keep the balance, here’s one example of a business that’s bucking the flexibility trend and keen to get back to how things were.

10. Traditionalist Netflix

Netflix is going against the grain and has come out as staunchly office-first. The world’s largest subscription streaming service expects employees back in the office this fall. However, CEO Reed Hastings does acknowledge the hybrid workplace is here to stay, accepting that most companies will end up seeing employees work “four days in the office while one day is virtual from home.

A final thought on how organizations are adapting to the new era of work

Organizations are working out where they sit on the workplace spectrum, from 100% remote to a traditional office. The in-between – a hybrid model – is favored by the majority. Hybrid ranges from office-first (remote is available but in-office work is preferred) to default digital (no location requirement but co-working spaces are available in certain locations).

Offices are changing to accommodate hybrid working models, reflecting the need to support collaboration, facilitate serendipitous encounters and provide quiet workspace for employees who need or prefer to work from an office. Company culture is in transition too. Remote workers are at risk of becoming isolated, burnt out or feeling left out. Care needs to be taken to mitigate against these challenges to ensure a happy and productive workforce.

Any hybrid working model will require innovative digital infrastructure to support it too. Desk scheduling software, such as Kadence, is one such tool. It allows employees to reserve office space when they need it, making their in-office experience as seamless as possible, and gives organizations data on how space is used so they can optimize their workplace based on historic and forecast usage.