Companies can benefit significantly from hybrid work since fewer employees in the office means less need for costly office spaces. This, of course, means that the best hybrid offices need to undergo some changes, not just to attract but, more importantly, to retain employees and keep them motivated.

FlexOS had the honor of welcoming Nguyet-Minh Hoang (Senior Director of Commercial Leasing, Savills Vietnam) and Hoa Nguyen (General Director, ADP Group) to join our CEO Daan van Rossum to address some of the biggest pain points that employers are facing in their hybrid workplace and workforce: the design of the hybrid offices and building connections, community, and culture in a hybrid workplace. 

An Office that Caters to The Needs of Your Employees

When a traditional ‘from 9 to 5’ company decides to switch to the Hybrid Work Model, there will be resistance. It is a healthy reaction, especially when a staff member has yet to figure out what is happening and what will come next.

Nguyet-Minh Hoang, Senior Director of Commercial Leasing at Savills, shared that employers must understand what employees are looking for to design an office space that works for them. The approach that the real estate agency adopted was creating employee personas.

Every company requires different work settings to support all activities. The Personas provide an understanding of the different work styles of the employees and help identify how different groups may use the space. From there, employers are able to construct the appropriate hybrid workspaces for their teams.

Employee Personas in the Workplace

There are 4 main design principles which the ADP Group has identified and now abides by to successfully set up an effective and efficient hybrid office for companies that are transition to this new way of working:

  • Design for better focus: Removing traditional office design will result in more open space.  It is important to give people quiet places to focus and mitigate disruptions.
  • Design to support collaboration: Retaining the flexibility employees have experienced while working from home and still having the kind of in-office contact with colleagues that strengthen teams and collaboration.
  • Design to strengthen connectivity: Emerging from a workstation to a space that encourages a network of creativity and synergy.
  • Technology support: New digital processes mean developing new habits and rituals for individuals and teams that support and engage them in a hybrid world. This might require training for your workforce to leverage technology to become more efficient and productive
The Purpose of a Hybrid Office

Build Social Capital By Bringing Your Hybrid Teams Together

However, as important as physical spaces are to the shifts towards the hybrid work model, not all companies can afford to do so immediately, yet a new issue emerges: human connection suffers. Ben Hamley, a work futurist at JLL, recently shared that based on new data “the ‘more hybrid’ someone’s work pattern is, the more they feel they lack strong connections with colleagues.”

We also know from Microsoft that half of the hybrid and remote employees feel the relationships with those outside their immediate teams have weakened, and over 40% of the employees feel a loss of connection with their company as a whole. Ensuring people have an opportunity to reconnect with one another is crucial.

As the most essential connection points between higher leadership and employees, managers and team leaders ought to direct and prioritize building and rebuilding connections between people to fuel creativity, teamwork, and strong support systems that empower them to tackle challenges. We have to intentionally create opportunities for employees to come together, reconnect, and engage.

Understand What Your Employees Love And Care About

In many companies, “engagement” is done by one or more HR team members who “brainstorm” ideas to engage employees. As a result, this kind of brainstorming in a vacuum often means ideas don’t match what employees are actually interested in. A simple survey should give companies all they need to know. Now, with this data in hand, companies can create a wider set of engagement opportunities that the employees can choose from. This helps personalize the workplace experience while also building more and stronger connections between people in the company.

Manager Nudges

The key is to ensure there’s always something interesting to do for each individual. Events shall cover all major interest groups: fun, creative, social, learning & development, well-being, and more. 

Important occasions like work milestones, birthdays, and others are also great opportunities to get your hybrid teams together. These in-person interactions are essential for managers, whose actions can “make or break” the employee experience, to motivate their teams better and help them achieve the work-life balance and well-being that they seek. 

The personalized events and meaningful team gatherings nudge employees back to the office to fulfill the social needs that remote work can’t offer, employees can be more productive and efficient with their focus time. And happy employees will stick around for a long time.

Kickstart Your Hybrid Office and Team

Do you want to learn how some of the best companies in the world launch and manage hybrid workplaces?

Download our whitepaper “Hybrid Work in Southeast Asia” starter kit  to learn from experts at Google, Hubspot, Airbnb, and more.