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.

The Complete Guide to Office Lingo Post-2020

Social distancing, shutdown order, household bubbles. The pandemic has introduced a host of words and phrases you probably hadn’t heard of pre-2020. It’s changed the way we speak about the workplace too. From hybrid working to desk hoteling, there’s a whole new vocabulary you need to get to grips with as the world returns to the office and adjusts to a new normal.

Desk hoteling

Internet searches for ‘desk hoteling’ rose by 657% in 12 months. But what does it mean?

Just as for a real hotel, desk hoteling means booking ahead. But rather than a bed, employees book a desk in the office for a defined period of time, and check in when they arrive. Alas, unlike a real hotel you don’t get a buffet breakfast, mini bar or Egyptian cotton sheets.

Desk hoteling brings many benefits. From an employee perspective, you can choose when you work and who you sit with so you can make the most of your time in the workplace. From an organization’s point of view, check-in and booking data allows you to plan your workspaces based on actual and forecast usage. You can create an office that has just the right balance between collaborative and quiet space, and you can ensure desks are clean and ready for use when they’re needed.

It goes a long way to allaying common concerns around hot desking – from health and safety to not being able to find a spot to sit at. Desk hoteling is made possible through desk booking software such as Kadence. The software lets employees book a desk and check in through an intuitive app, and gives organizations a dashboard of usage data to help inform planning.

Asynchronous communication

Before the pandemic, most white-collar workers sat in the same place 9 to 5, Monday to Friday, and the . the back and forth of communication was relatively synchronized.

But with people working remotely, that’s all changed. Expectations around communication have shifted, and increasingly it happens through online tools, such as Slack, MS Teams, Google Docs or good old-fashioned email. People’s working hours are also more flexible; if you like to start early or you need to pop out for the school run mid-afternoon, that’s often okay.

All this points to asynchronous communication, where it’s not necessary for both people in a conversation to be “present” at the same time. You send a message but accept it might not be read and replied to until later.

You’ll no doubt be used to it on some level already, but post-pandemic the balance between synchronous and asynchronous communication has tipped heavily towards the latter.

Hybrid working

The pandemic has shown just how productive we can be working away from the office. No longer is the boss suspicious of anyone choosing to WFH. The productivity, wellbeing and financial benefits are clear for all to see.

With hybrid working, employees divide their working week between their home (or other remote location) and the office. For some, that might mean set days at home and set days in the office. For others, it might be more flexible, only coming in when there’s a team meeting happening, or if they want some peace and quiet away from a busy house-share or kids at home.

It’s a rare gem where the best of both worlds really is achievable. You get the benefits of home working without losing out on the benefits of office working.

Hybrid meetings

Collaboration, idea generation and decision-making. Meetings are an essential component of a high-functioning organization, and they’re going hybrid too. With a workforce spread across different locations, hybrid meetings include both remote and in-person attendees. They’re a great way to ensure business continuity doesn’t suffer and hybrid collaboration is possible when you’ve got some of your team coming into the office and some working remotely.


In a remote first organization, working away from the corporate office is the preferred option. The organization still provides a central workplace for occasions when employees need or want to work from the office. It’s a type of hybrid working, with the emphasis on working remotely. 

Remote working

Remote working has become the new normal. It simply means working away from your organization’s usual workplace. Cloud-based software, always-on Wi Fi and video conferencing have made it all possible. Can you imagine if the pandemic had hit before the internet?

Contact Tracing

As we go back to the office amid potential new waves of the virus, contact tracing is a feature many organizations are factoring in. Desk booking and check-in software make it easy. You have data that shows you exactly who has sat at each desk, and at what times.

Occupancy data

Data is a key component of an effective hybrid workplace. Because individual employees don’t have their own desk, greater responsibility falls to the office manager or workspace planner to create an environment that people enjoy being in and is conducive to good work.

Occupancy data tells you how a space is used by your employees. You can observe trends over time and – if you have desk booking software – look at usage forecasts. With data at your fingertips you can create a workplace that’s perfectly in tune with your people’s needs.

Occupancy sensors

Occupancy sensors can tell you how many people are using a room, neighborhood or floor. They detect movement and count the number of people in a space. Unlike desk booking software, they can’t give you hyperlocal data on how each desk is used or provide usage forecasts.

Office Neighborhoods 

A hybrid workplace using desk hoteling gives office managers and space planners the flexibility to create spaces attuned to employees’ needs – office neighborhoods are a way of organizing your office to ensure those needs are fulfilled. A neighborhood is a dedicated area where communities of employees sit – typically between 30 to 60 people – who require similar amenities or need to work closely together. Neighborhoods can be based around a variety of needs, including job function, project or activity (for example, some tasks might require quiet, calm space, others might demand more collaborative space).


If you ever dreamt of muting a co-worker, the pandemic made it a real-life possibility. “You’re on mute” became the workplace meme of 2020 – as we all watched colleagues mouthing silently and then scrabbling for their mouse to unmute – and it’s not going away anytime soon.

Water cooler chat

One of the casualties of the pandemic, the water cooler chat describes those unplanned, serendipitous encounters you’d enjoy with colleagues throughout the working day. The weather, the weekend or the family. Whatever the topic, they can brighten up a grey day, establish friendships and break down barriers. 

For many workers, they’re one of the main reasons they favor a mix of home and office working.In a recent survey of 1500 business professionals we carried out, 55% described them as one of the best things about office work.

The pandemic has turned our view of the traditional office on its head. The future centres around a hybrid model with employees booking desks and rooms as and when they need them, rather than sitting in the same cubicle for five days a week. Get comfortable with the vocabulary that describes this new culture so you can start planning the way forward for your organization.