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Hybrid Offices: The Prospects Of A Permanent Shift In The Workspace Countries like the UAE, which possess an abundance of workspaces, top-notch infrastructure, and high-speed Wi-Fi, are tailor-made for the hybrid work model.

By Jareer Oweimrin Edited by Aby Thomas

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Following a grueling two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, the workspace as we know it has changed forever.

For the better part of those two years, remote work has been the standard protocol in response to lockdowns and safety guidelines. However, the recent rise in herd immunity has led to the gradual reopening of the physical workspace.

The threat is yet to be extinguished, especially with the surge caused by the latest Omicron variant of COVID-19. Consequently, there lies an air of ambiguity when deciding between working from home or an office space, and that thus paves the way for hybrid offices and the prospects of a permanent shift in the workspace.

Challenges posed by remote work

Remote work is highly beneficial in saving time on transportation, staying close to family, and increasing productivity. However, it still poses plenty of challenges to companies as a whole. For instance:

  • The glaring disconnect between diversely located company employees leads to a decline in team spirit and morale.

  • The absence of physical social interaction can hinder employee productivity. Employees with a more extroverted nature tend to thrive with the presence of physical human interaction.

  • The nonchalant attitude while working from home often generates a plethora of unfit habits, such as procrastination.

  • According to Findstack's ultimate list of remote work statistics for 2022, 16% of employees working from home feel less involved by their employers in the goal-setting process.

Despite being an efficient alternative during the pandemic, remote work has been a temporary solution to a large-scale dilemma. Now, we need to usher in the era of hybrid offices.

Hybrid offices: bridging the gap

The hybrid work model is witnessing a surge in adoption by fast-growing companies, at an estimated 63%. According to recent studies, more than 83% of employees have favored the hybrid office approach.

Countries like the UAE, which possess an abundance of workspaces, top-notch infrastructure, and high-speed Wi-Fi, are tailor-made for the hybrid work model. Hybrid offices are a big hit right now, as they offer employees the flexibility of choosing between working from their homes, offices, or even a blend of both.

Furthermore, the hybrid work model offers an array of benefits, such as:

  • Hybrid offices strike the perfect balance between managing work-life harmony, and sustaining healthy social interactions with fellow company teammates. This combines the family-strengthening element of remote work with the morale-boosting workspace social interactions. Additionally, this ushered in the return of water-cooler time, a well-known office term for fellow employees who would socialize and discuss their weekends and sports results over their designated water breaks. Subsequently, this boosts the team spirit and collaborative synergy within the company as a whole.

  • It also bundles employee comfort with employer cost-effectiveness through flexibly leased hybrid offices, such as serviced offices, co-working spaces, and meeting rooms. These workspaces are a match made in heaven for both employers and employees. For instance, they offer flexible rental options ranging from short-term to long-term. Moreover, these workspaces provide employees with a variety of amenities and services, a comfortable work environment, and networking opportunities with a diverse community of people.

Indeed, hybrid offices are a force to be reckoned with as the latest surge in the model's adoption exemplifies solid proof of that. For instance, industry giants including Apple, Spotify, Twitter, LinkedIn, and plenty more have solidified their leadership prowess and astute foresight by becoming early adopters of the hybrid work model.

Related: Three Reasons Why We Need To Watch, Follow, And Invest In Africa In 2022

Hybrid offices: A futuristic vision

Hybrid offices are on the rise, and the possibilities are endless. In an ever-evolving era of technological advancements, there lies ample room for improvement to an already thriving hybrid work model. For example:

  • For effective smart offices, companies can utilize the usage of smart office sensors. For instance, Verizon's latest articles tackle how digital technology aids in data collection that could help boost workplace effectiveness, efficiency, and safety.

  • To further enhance hybrid offices, companies can prioritize embedding video conference technology within their new hybrid models. Hence, this could bridge the gap between a diversely located working staff and ensure efficient and effective collaborative teamwork.

  • Experts envision a shift towards cloud computing and virtual reality (VR) as the future of technological optimization in the workspace. These booming technologies could set the bar high in terms of enhanced technological advancements. Furthermore, this combination, aka cloud VR, is expected to augment product design, project reviews, and collaborative synergy.

Aside from the technological aspect, workspaces require a revamp of their set-ups- this includes:

  • Eliminating the outdated open floor plan, and switching to a less crowded arrangement aids in amplifying employee productivity. Consequently, this provides a comforting distraction-free environment, and diminishes the risk of spreading diseases among staff.

  • Deploying a diversified furniture layout throughout the office creates an environment that bolsters inspiration, ingenuity, and synergy among company employees. Companies should invest in an ergonomic office setup to ensure a smoother transition to hybrid offices. For example, an ergonomic chair is a mainstay among the hybrid office layouts, as it helps induce high levels of functionality, productivity, and employee well-being.

Additionally, the surge in adoption of the hybrid work model has left businesses with excess office space that put a strain on their commercial real estate costs. This paves the way for a couch surfing approach, or office surfing, where businesses would rent out their excess office spaces in a manner that ensures both cost effectiveness and environment diversity.

A permanent shift in the workspace is on the horizon, and fluidmeet has been a catalyst of change in the transition towards hybrid offices across Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and all of UAE. As a peer-to-peer marketplace, fluidmeet offers a diverse assortment of serviced offices, coworking spaces, and meeting rooms tailor-made for the elevation of your businesses. Indeed, the hybrid work model is inevitable, and business leaders who capitalize early on will benefit the most.

Related: Building A Successful Omni-Channel Customer Experience Strategy: The How-To

Jareer Oweimrin

Founder and Executive Director, fluidmeet

Jareer Oweimrin is the founder and Executive Director of fluidmeet.

Jareer has worked in entrepreneurial settings for most of his professional career. He’s enthusiastic about technology and its application on real estate and the hospitality industry. Previously, he led the new market business development for a large transnational pharmaceutical company. He has established entrepreneurial ventures in the UAE and USA.  

Jareer has also served as a management advisor for an entrepreneurial consulting firm that had engagements with government organizations, government-related entities, and private companies. He has led multiple large-scale consulting engagements and managed large teams. When he’s not running fluidmeet, he enjoys the company of his family and books. 

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