What Does Hybrid Working Mean for Flexible Workspace?

The Flexible Space Association’s Executive Director, Jane Sartin, looks at the latest data on hybrid and home working, and what this means for flexible workspace.

There have been many opinion pieces written on the future of office use post-pandemic, but earlier this week the Office for National Statistics released data from a survey looking at working from home and hybrid working.

Their article outlining the findings is headed ‘Is hybrid working here to stay?’, and it won’t be surprising to anyone with a passing interest in the subject that the results clearly indicate the answer to this question is yes!

More than 80% of people who were required to work from home during the pandemic have said that they will now work on a hybrid basis.

The return to working for at least some of the time in offices or other types of formal workspace has been rapid, with the percentage of people working exclusively from home falling from 22% in February 2022 to 14% in May 2022.

More than three-quarters of people who were able to work from home for at least some part of their working week reported an improved work life balance.  The survey reported that 52% found it quicker to complete work, and that 53% had fewer distractions – but 26% reported more distractions working at home, which is a significant proportion of the working from home workforce.  Only 7% of homeworkers suggested it gave them more job opportunities.

It will no doubt be for future surveys to consider the impact of working from home arrangements on business productivity, innovation and career progression.

So, what does the newly published data mean for flexible workspace?  If people are adopting hybrid working, this of course means that they are not working from home every day, and they need workspace for those days in which they are working in a professional working environment, most likely with colleagues.

Flexible workspace is offering many businesses the greater flexibility they now need.  They perhaps don’t need to retain leased offices with a fixed amount of desk-space that’s in place for many years, but can work within a smaller area of flexible workspace, and be able to expand or contract more easily.

The option of bolstering private office space with coworking space, or utilising a variety of locations, will appeal to many businesses are their staff.

Workspace operators are increasingly looking at how they can meet the more variable needs of businesses, including providing memberships that cover a number of days a month, or even supporting businesses to share private offices.

It undoubtedly feels that flexible workspace and hybrid working are made for each other, and it’s a sector for which there are many opportunities ahead.

25 May 2022

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