Where Is the World of Hybrid Work Going?

Insights from KettleSpace’s CEO Nick Iovacchini

We are all expecting big changes in the way we work as the pandemic fades. But what will those changes be?

KettleSpace’s Director of Marketing Josef Katz recently asked that question, and more, to KettleSpace’s Co-Founder and CEO, Nick Iovacchini.

Nick has spent the last year helping companies of all sizes determine how, when and where they will be working in the future. We know you will have a better idea of where all this change is heading after you read Nick’s comments below.

Where Does Nick Believe People Will Work?

There is still a lot of uncertainty around the business of getting back to work. But based on research and conversations we have done, we do know that . . .

Half of the people in the workforce expect to be engaged in some form of hybrid work.

What do I mean by hybrid work? It is going to take on all kinds of shapes and flavors, but it is essentially a mixture of working from an office, working from home, and from near home.

That will be both a challenge and an opportunity. When you think about where we have gone over the last 19 months, we see that before the pandemic, we had a widely accepted idea that most people show up at the office every day.

Then overnight when Covid-19 began, we were all told, `Don’t show up to work.’

That was a shock to many of us. But we’ve been living in that normality for the last year and it’s become what we’re accustomed to.

The New Way of Working that Nick Sees Taking Shape

So there is a new binary of show up/don’t show up. And as the pandemic recedes, we will need to establish a new equilibrium within that binary. It will be fascinating to see how it unfolds.

But we know that at present, that equilibrium is completely out of balance. But we’ve done a lot of research, and we know that . . .

  • More than 90% of people don’t want to work full time from home.

  • About 66% of us want to keep working at home at least two days out of every week.

Those figures start to tell us where we might land. Maybe the gap between those two figures will start to narrow.

How Will Different Companies Decide How and Where to Work?

Different kinds of organizations will land in different places regarding hybrid work. It will depend on the kind of organization, on the kinds of workers, and on other factors.

I think there will be different options and choices and rules in different organizations because it can’t all be left up to the employee, or to the employer. So that is another kind of equilibrium that needs to be established.

Every organization is going to need to find its balancing points that will be determined by individuals, by teams, by organizations, and even perhaps by industries.

Because we have been deeply involved with these issues for the last year, we see that what happens is going to be a progression for most companies, not a sudden change. The analogy we’ve been kicking around at KettleSpace has been “crawl, walk, run, fly.”

What Companies Are Doing

We are seeing some companies that are able to start that process right now, by looking at what is right in front of them. It could be that a certain number of employees are working from home, a certain number are coming to the office, a certain number are working in hybrid workspaces near their homes, etc. Those companies look and develop competencies from there, then look at how they are going to have people work. And they have people return to work in a coordinated way.

In that process, questions arise. How much space do you actually need? Do you need to add space? Do you need less space? What are the opportunities to save money?

And then you are going to look at questions like, when people aren’t in the office, is working from home really the ideal space? Well, maybe not for many of them. So you are going to add some spaces and some amenities to enrich the employees’ experience.

And then you start to ask how you are going to build culture and connection when you have employees who are spread out in different locations.

Not all those questions need to be solved on day one. Some are more pressing than others. But over time, there will be ways to build a new structure through space, technology.

It will be a multifaceted decision for a lot of companies. Even though a lot of good work has gotten done, the last year has been incredibly disorienting for organizations and their teams. There has been a lot of shock and confusion.

But we know that what will happen will emerge from what we can call shared experience. We know that different people have different appetites for what remains in place, what changes, and what goes back to “normal.”

Facilities, culture, productivity, and other factors will ultimately make organizations “tick” and establish new paradigms for how we will work as the pandemic fades.

Contact KettleSpace to Plan How Your Company Will Change in the Months Ahead.

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