As Hong Kong is embraced by the icy grip of the third wave of COVID-19 – and working from home for many becomes the norm again – hybrid working is seen by many pundits as the most likely scenario in the future of work.
A hybrid model is a mix of remote working and working from the office and it’s a model that’s gaining traction – in Hong Kong and beyond – as the ongoing pandemic continues to shape the way we work.
According to the International Workplace Group, 85% of businesses believe greater location flexibility has led to greater productivity, while a Gartner study found that 74% of CFOs intend to send some employees to remote working permanently.
Figures like this make a compelling case for the rise of hybrid working.
It’s a contention that’s backed up by an in-depth report entitled Hybrid Working: Creating the Next Normal in Work Practices, Spaces and Culture by tech solutions provider Poly.
“In many cases, the adoption of remote working on a massive scale has demonstrated how employees can operate with the same – if not greater – efficiency and productivity, while achieving a better work-life balance,” the report posits.
One of the key takeaways from the report was that 91% of organisations support work from home, a significant jump from 63% prior to the global outbreak of COVID-19.
The report predicts three ways in which workspaces will evolve:
#1 Enterprise home setup
As the pandemic has driven most of us to work from home, kitchen tables, ironing boards and even garden furniture have been used to create home workspaces. But as remote working is embraced in the long-term, employees’ makeshift set-ups will become slicker and more professional work spaces incorporating the enterprise-grade technology needed to work effectively.
#2 Co-working spaces
Co-working spaces will become much more common, allowing remote and flexible workers to work alongside colleagues, without the restriction of being tied down to specific desk or location. These spaces, already projected to increase more than 40% globally prior to the pandemic, a trend that is certainly to accelerate in the current situation – and offer a more cost-effective way for businesses to operate.
#3 Satellite offices
There’s a clear benefit to ridding the P&L of overheads by shutting or downscaling office space. Rather than using large, city centre offices, businesses will look to smaller ‘satellite’ offices dispersed across more locations. Recent Research from Gartner revealed that 13% of CFOs have already made cost reductions in real estate.