Updated: Apr 28
Know the concepts that will define the workplace where you will be working
Most of us think we understand how the world of work will change over the next few months. We have gotten the idea that as the pandemic fades and companies get back to “normal,” more of us will be working less time in our home offices.
But something is getting lost in translation. Employees know their way of working is about to change, but most of them are short on specifics . . .
“My company apparently expects me to return to working in company locations,” says a woman who has been working exclusively from her home outside Manhattan over the last year, “so I guess I’ll have to figure out how much time, and where, and when. I'm ready, but for what exactly? I’m short on specifics.”
“I think I’ll have to start commuting again,” says a man who has been working from his home office north of New York City, “but I hope my employer realizes that when I go back to commuting 90 minutes a day, my productivity is bound to suffer. Are they ready for that?”
The World of Work Is about to Come into Sharper Focus
Yes, we know that things are about to change - we understand that. The question is, how?
We can start to understand how when we consider that a whole new world of work options is about to erupt and change just how and when and where we will be working. In short, everything is about to change.
We can begin to see the outlines of that change when we understand the following concepts that reflect how our world of working is about to change . . . and what more of us will be expected to do.
Depending on your patterns of work and your employer’s needs and expectations, you will soon find yourself in a world of work that includes . . .
You won’t work exclusively in your home location or exclusively in a company location. Instead, you will work flexibly, according to your schedule, from a number of places that can include . . .
Coworking spaces that are shared by employees from a group of companies
Offices owned by companies that are not owned by your employer, but shared between your employer and other companies
Hotel meeting spaces, restaurants and other facilities that your employer contracts to use
Libraries, colleges and other wi-fi-equipped spaces that your employer has identified, or that you simply go to and use
Hoteling is not new. It has been used by a variety of companies, most often small to midsize ones, for years.
In essence, hoteling simply means that you show up to work and you get assigned a work location for the day. Also, this location will probably not be the same tomorrow.
It is called “hoteling” because it works like checking into a hotel. In that process, you show up at the front desk, where an agent looks at available rooms and assigns you one. Note that the hoteling approach can only work in larger companies that can offer workers a selection of unused, available desks, cubicles, offices, and other facilities that can be assigned flexibly, as needed.
Note that with today’s technology, employees can “check in” ahead of time and be assigned locations where they will spend their workdays.
Working at Hot Desks (“Hotdesking”)
Using a “hotdesk” is essentially the same thing as hoteling (See just above.) However, you are more likely to find this approach used by smaller companies that do not have a lot of unused, unassigned work locations. These companies generally have unoccupied desks, not nice vacant offices, available for you to work in and enjoy.
One difference between hoteling and hotdesking lies in the kind of location where you will probably spend your day. In hoteling, you could be assigned to an unused office or cubicle, or conference room. In hotdesking, you could find yourself working in an shared open space that is available for use by employees who need working space for the day.
One similarity between hoteling and hotdesking is that if you work in either arrangement, you will not leave your laptop or other belongings overnight. You will probably work in a different location the following day. So don’t bring that framed picture of your dog or your family and plan to put it on your desk and make your work area your own. Plan instead to enjoy the adventure of moving around.
Using Hyper Local Workspaces
We have written on this blog before about the hyper local way of working. In essence, it means that employees have the option to work from facilities that are located near their homes - usually without having to spend time on lengthy commutes.
But as is the case with hoteling and the other work arrangements we describe above, there are different ways to use the Hyper Local approach . . .
A company can lease a small office space in a location near the homes of a number of employees
A company can arrange to have a company desk, or several desks, available for employees to use as needed in companies close to their homes
A company can barter for, or rent usable space in a hotel or restaurant for employees to use as needed.
Companies have needed, and used, overflow space for many years. It is exactly what it sounds like - space that a company arranges to use when there are more employees on hand that can be accommodated by current desks and space.
For example, we know one company that invites all its remote salespeople into headquarters one day a month for a hands-on meeting. Where are all those people going to go? It certainly makes no sense for the company to rent enough square footage, month-round, for everyone. So the company does what only makes sense, by renting a meeting room at a hotel.
There are many other forms of overflow space too, depending on how often it is needed, how much of it is needed. But the bottom line is, using overflow space smartly and strategically can save a company a lot of money.
Work from Home
No surprise here. Many employees have been working from their homes during the pandemic - and many will be able to continue to do so, even when Covid-19 goes away. Working from home is now an integral part of how companies and people work, and it is not about to go away.
Which of These Options Makes Sense for Your Enterprise and Your Employees?
The answer is, it depends on a number of “moving pieces” that pertain to your employees, your business’s space demands, and more.
Here are some questions to weigh as you decide which of these “new world of work” strategies and options can work for you . . .
Where do your employees live, and what is their typical commute to your company offices?
What percentage of your employees work full time, what percentage part-time, etc.
Do your employees live in rural areas, suburban areas, etc., and what kind of potential working facilities exist in those areas?
What percentage of their working hours do employees spend at their desks . . . what percentage do they spend “in the field,: etc.
What kinds of technology do your employees need to access in order to perform their jobs?
Is there a legitimate need for some of your employees to meet in person with other employees . . . or will virtual meetings continue to meet their needs?
Do certain issues of security and safety create risks to company data when employees work remotely . . . and if so, what kind of locations are best to avoid?
A Brave New World of Working
As we noted at the start of today’s post, the world of working is about to change. So is the world of running a company.
There will be new challenges, but also new opportunities. Change almost always creates a range of new advantages, provided you are ready.
To start making wise plans to thrive in the new world of word demo the Hybrid HQ operating system and find out if it is right for your organization.