Fiscally, this makes a lot of sense as real estate costs continue to creep up, but remote working is not an all-or-nothing solution. Remote workers will have a need to work on-site for a portion of the time and when they do, we’ll need to consider how we design for and accommodate them. Research from Owl Labs, shows that up to 48% of respondents site social interaction with coworkers as the part they miss most about the office, followed by team celebrations (40%), company culture (34%), and being closer to tactical strategy (26%). A Remote Worker Hub provides opportunities for individuals to work from the office when needed and bridges the gap on these missed events. This concept will be critical in supporting the workforce long term.
The easy solution to this new workplace development is implementing a fully unassigned office layout.
Adopting an Activity-Based Working (ABW) model gives employees the opportunity to choose between a variety of workspaces designed to support a number of work styles and settings that employees need throughout the day. By taking advantage of shared spaces, this type of workplace model allows you to allocate fewer individual seats than employees giving employers the ability to accommodate remote workers within their existing occupancy.
A recent IFMA survey found a 21% increase in organizations that added more people to unassigned seating areas. While unassigned seating is on the rise, there is still some hesitancy to fully move towards this style of working.
If your company isn’t culturally ready to move to unassigned seating, how do you accommodate this new percentage of the workforce on site? This is where the Remote Worker Hub can offer the best of both worlds by blending unassigned seating for remote workers and assigned seating for on site workers thus realizing space savings when converting on site staff to remote. For companies who office in a multi-tenant building and don’t have the capital to make these improvements, this could also be offered as a new type of building amenity. Pivoting building amenities to support this new sector of the workforce will be crucial for landlords to support their tenants as the workplace responds to a new work style.
Regardless of if the Remote Worker Hub is within the lease space or provided by the landlord, there are a few main points the space should address. The Remote Worker Hub will be the physical bridge between the remote and on site offices.
It will provide remote workers a home in the physical office giving them a sense of place when coming on site. Providing an abbreviated office ecosystem within the Hub is the goal allowing remote workers all of the perks of on site work. It should be set up to provide the remote worker a variety of spaces to support a number of working styles—group collaboration to focus work and access to high or low energy space. Through the ABW model, remote workers should be provided a variety of spaces that enable each person to organize their work activities in a productive and enjoyable way that best suits what they need to do and who they need to do it with. It should be a place where spontaneous interaction is welcomed but provide ample space for focus and productivity.
We’ve proven that we can work remotely, but no amount of zoom happy hours, Slack channels, or virtual trivia nights can replace the innate human need for person to person contact. Being mindful of this need by creating a workplace that embraces remote work culture will be the great differentiator for companies moving forward.
architecture | interior design | Experiential design