Hybrid Working Office Design: 5 Ways to Create Offices People Want to Work In

Remember the time when we all came into the office every day? The latest government statistics suggest that concept’s looking as dated as fax machines and electric typewriters. In September 2022, more than 1 in 5 UK workers followed a hybrid working model, and 1 in 8 worked remotely full-time.

Flexible working patterns require creative solutions to office design. If you stick with the space and layout you had before the pandemic, you may not be capturing all the benefits a hybrid working office space can bring.

Join us as we explore five hybrid working office design solutions that work.

1. Engage with Team Members

It’s easy to think we know what our colleagues want from a hybrid working office space, but we’ll never know if we don’t ask. Getting input from employees has several benefits, including:

  • Greater engagement with the final design
  • Access to creative ideas you may not have considered
  • Potential to identify and overcome design flaws before they are implemented

When they make the trip into the office your employees should feel that it was worth the time and effort. Once they arrive, they should be able to get to work fast and enjoy perks that they can’t get at home. The main benefit? Opportunities to naturally interact with colleagues.

2. Promote Human Moments

The open-plan offices many of us have worked in for years have done little to foster interactions between coworkers.

We’ve got the esteemed architect Frank Lloyd Wright to thank for introducing open-plan offices to the world in 1906. While they seem like a great use of space, most people frankly hate being chained to the same desk day in, day out.

Crucially, poorly designed open-plan offices not only crush the human spirit, they also kill communication. Generating human moments is the backbone of a great hybrid working strategy, and it’s something your office design must address.

So consider dividing your office into zones that create “human moments.” This will probably mean reducing the number of desks but bear with us; there’s a solution for that. Create breakout areas where people can continue their work on laptops while sitting in comfortable chairs, and crucially, interact with their colleagues more easily.

You could set up nooks where a couple of people can hold a private conversation without being overheard or a bar-style area with high seating. This can simply provide a change of scenery or a practical space for a small standing meeting.

Once you’ve got the design right, show your team that it’s permitted - and even encouraged - to take opportunities to interact. When leaders make liberal use of these spaces themselves, others will follow.

3. Use Tech to Reduce Hot Desking Angst

Of course, for your hybrid working strategy to work, you need to manage the new office design effectively. Hot desking can be invigorating, but workers will soon get disenfranchised if they never get to work in their preferred spot. This is especially true if flexible working arrangements mean people don't all arrive at the same time (think beach towels on sun loungers, every single working day).

Desk booking technology is a great solution to this problem. Team members can view and book available workspaces at a glance. As an organisation, you can set the parameters, allowing you to stop people block booking their favourite space for weeks on end. While it’s not a perfect solution, it can help to reduce angst and ensure everyone can get to work as soon as they arrive.

4. Keep Part of the Office Flexible

If you have the space, keeping one section of the office as an open space with flexible furniture makes sense. Think about including:

  • Lightweight tables and chairs
  • Flexible sofas
  • Moveable privacy screens

These options can be quickly reconfigured to form individual working spaces or a large venue for a big meeting. Adjustable privacy screens can minimise distractions and keep things confidential.

5. Harness the Power of Acoustic Pods

Before the pandemic, we might not have been too familiar with soundproof office pods in the UK. However, these silent sanctuaries are now being used by some of the world’s biggest multinationals. They provide havens of calm and concentration in the midst of busy workspaces.

The concept of acoustic pods is simple. They’re small, freestanding soundproof booths. They range from the size of a phone box to a small room that can accommodate up to six people for a meeting. Cool features include:

  • Aviation grade aluminium
  • Thick glass doors and back panels
  • Bluetooth speaker connectivity
  • Ventilation system for comfort
  • Acoustic PET board providing high-quality soundproofing

In addition, they come with multiple power outlets and comfortable furniture options. Your workers can move seamlessly from desk to pod without missing a beat.

What are the benefits of providing quiet spaces for office workers? A 2021 study found that exposure to moderate sound levels like those in an office can cause clear psychological effects on workers. The solution? Providing quiet places for workers to retreat to.

Acoustic phone booths and meeting pods are easy to add to your office design. They don’t require any renovations to the office and you can place them almost anywhere. Providing these quiet spaces, and minimising distractions from noisy meetings, can help everyone concentrate and remain productive.

Craft the Perfect Hybrid Working Office Design

Creating the ideal hybrid working office design is a challenge. But if you get it right, you can make the best use of your space and create an environment your employees want to work in.

Focus on crafting a hybrid working office space that facilitates those priceless human moments. Whether that’s sharing ideas over a coffee or holding impromptu standing meetings, they all add up and promote collaboration and camaraderie. Happy teams are productive teams, and productive teams help companies achieve their goals.

Don’t forget to give your workers the gift of peace and quiet by installing some acoustic office pods. Providing your workers with a selection of individual phone booth spaces and collaborative office pods can allow them to get their heads down in silence or express themselves in confidence.

At Soundbox Store, we supply soundproof office pods to UK businesses from corporate giants to startups. No matter what business you’re in, we’ve got the quiet space solution for you. Click here to check out our range, and contact us for more information today.