Hybrid Office Design: Ensuring Your Office Layout Works for Both In-Person and Remote Employees

Author: Gina Cunsolo

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Although pandemic restrictions are being lifted around the country and the economy is roaring back to life, workers and businesses are considering a new approach to the typical office. Instead of asking staffers who have spent the past year doing their jobs from home to make the transition back to the office suddenly, many employers are eyeing a hybrid model. Under a hybrid office approach, workers spend part of their week in the office and the rest working remotely.

For many, the hybrid office concept offers a variety of benefits. It allows companies to save money by reducing office space requirements. At the same time, it provides workers with the flexibility to work from home when desired, contributing to improved morale and higher productivity.

Still, adopting a hybrid model will require redesigning office space for maximum efficiency and thoughtfulness to ensure that both in-person and remote employees share an equally excellent audio experience. Here are some ideas for hybrid office design and the perfect Yamaha UC solutions to pair well with each environment.
 

Hybrid Office Hot Desking or Reserved Space  

Workers will no longer have assigned desks in the hybrid space and instead share that space with others. The challenge will be ensuring everyone has the space they need when they need it. Under a hot desk scenario, space is allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis. Employees arrive at the office, grab the first available space and get to work.
 
If employees spend days or weeks in the office working on a specific project or need particular types of spaces, though, a hoteling approach that allows them to reserve areas or rooms might be preferable. An example might be a small group is working on a project and needs a huddle room outfitted with specific technologies. In those cases, having the ability to reserve that space in advance would be beneficial. 

Huddle rooms can include anywhere from 1 to 10 people. That being said, it’s important to consider different audio solutions for each use case. Individuals or small groups could benefit from our Bluetooth Conference Phones, the YVC-200 or YVC-330, while larger groups could benefit from our YVC-1000.


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Consider a return to the cubicle farm

Although the much-maligned cubicle farm was being phased out in recent years in favor of an open-office approach, it's making a comeback. A cubicle farm layout in a hybrid office provides several benefits compared with the standard open office, which was an ample open space filled with dozens of desks. Cubicles offer employees a private space free of distractions to work or make phone calls. Walls can easily be heightened with plexiglass to enhance social distancing. And while the open office was supposed to foster communication and increase productivity, studies have shown that it's actually the cubicle farm that delivers those results.
 

Provide space for groups to meet

Let's consider an example hybrid office. Space might be split between a cubicle farm, several huddle rooms for small groups to meet, and a larger conference room for board meetings and the like. Each of those spaces can be designed to meet specific needs; for example, huddle rooms can be outfitted with soundbars and conference phones, while larger areas might include microphone systems or other audio solutions. It's a safe bet that videoconferencing will be an integral part of nearly any business as we advance.

For larger groups, and for those who need a video solution, the ESB-1090 & Huddly IQ Camera Collaboration Kit for video conferencing is an excellent option. And for huddle rooms, the ADECIA Tabletop Microphone & Line Array Speaker Solution ensures that employees in the room and joining remotely are heard in high-quality audio.
 

Look at what others are doing

It's been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and if another company is finding success with the layout of their hybrid office, there's no harm in learning a lesson from them. The new office design of a London-based accounting firm, for example, includes:

  • Several meeting spaces

  • A large workspace for clients

  • Private booths for staffers to work quietly or make phone calls

The office of an American real estate management company features a large meeting room outfitted with video screens, high-quality conference room speakers, and webcams. An office of a global coworking company features a mix of desk space for individuals to work and dedicated spaces for team collaboration.

Although the design of a hybrid office will depend mainly on the needs of a company and its employees, there's likely to be a common feature of each.Communication is crucial to the success of any business, and communication technology will be the foundation of any hybrid office. If you're designing a hybrid office and need some advice on choosing the right technology, consult the Yamaha UC experts.