Evolving Workforces

The Next Normal

A Complete Guide to How Hybrid Work is Impacting the Workplace and Transforming Commercial Real Estate

August 16, 2021 20 Minute Read

woman working in hybrid workplace
Executive Summary

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3 key truths about hybrid work that are transforming commercial real estate.

01 Hybrid Work Isn’t New.

But It’s Now Normal. The pandemic accelerated the adoption of workplace flexibility, demonstrating that many people can be productive outside the office. Work now includes a multitude of digital-first tasks, such as writing emails and creating spreadsheets—which can be accomplished virtually and often were prior to COVID-19. Hybrid work is consequently something many already engaged in to varying degrees before the pandemic.

02 Hybrid Work Will Require a Hybrid Workplace.

With employers viewing the office as a place for collaboration and meaningful employee connection, the role of the workplace is shifting towards a more intentional work setting defined by its ability to bring people and teams together. This shift has marked implications for office design, planning and workplace equity—or balancing the in-office and virtual employee experiences.

03 Hybrid Work Will Lead to More Consumer-Oriented Offices.

In this ‘next normal,’ organizations will need to create differentiated offices where employees want to work. This will lead to more consumer-oriented approaches to the workplace where employers design their offices around the needs of their workforce. After a large-scale experiment in virtual work due to the coronavirus pandemic, the traditional boundaries of where work is performed are being redefined.

office lobby

Individual employees overwhelmingly want the flexibility to work virtually in the future, according to research from CBRE. But most office workers also want to work in an office for at least part of the week.

Meanwhile, companies want their employees to remain productive and connected to one another. For some, this will mean a full return to the office. Others will give their employees latitude to find the right balance of work in—and outside of—the office.

The need to balance employee flexibility and organizational productivity has led companies to explore hybrid work models, which enable employees to work from the office or virtually. Their approach involves rethinking how, when and where we work.

Under a hybrid work model, employees are given greater flexibility to choose where they work, often within a set of guardrails established by leadership. This hybrid arrangement balances the benefit of time together in the office with employee expectations for greater convenience. This makes it vital for each company to define what hybrid work means for their organization and set the agenda for their employees to ensure they have time together in person.
Lenny BeaudoinExecutive Managing Director of CBRE’s Workplace, Design, Occupancy practice

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