Is hybrid working the end of the physical office?

With the rise of flexible working, human to hybrid, the gig economy and portfolio careers, will high-tech offices and connected buildings be essential in attracting and retaining talent in the future?

In today’s connected world, the workplace is in theory, anywhere you can get a good Wi-Fi connection, be it at home, on a train or in a coffee shop.

Granted, businesses have always and will always look for ways of improving productivity, but our future workforce is just as keen for change. Increasingly, today’s candidates are choosing to work for an employer who can afford them a better work-life balance and a flexible working experience.

A physical office is no longer an operational necessity, but an experience, a manifestation of an organisation’s brand and culture, providing a social environment for creativity, problem-solving and developing new ideas and resources.

The most innovative workplaces give employees access to a diverse mix of spaces with options for virtual and face to face interactions, blending socialising and learning.

The fluid workspace allows staff to build cross-departmental social networks, fostering spontaneous conversations which encourages constant innovation and improvement.

However, there is a balance between encouraging collaboration and giving employees the space to focus effectively without distraction or interruption.

Effective workplaces must support both individual and group work. And more often than not, trying to place the two side by side can be counterproductive.

Technological freedom is becoming the norm with many businesses preparing for the transition to a hybrid workforce.

Everyone leaves a digital trace, so it is easy for businesses to see exactly what people have accomplished, putting an end to the idea of presenteeism equaling productivity.

But tech alone is not enough to guarantee a successful transition. Businesses need to make sure they have the right skills, create the right culture and implement the right processes for this hybrid way of working to be sustainable.

As a result, the office has evolved to become a place to present an organisation’s values, strategies, goals and protocols, a physical embodiment of the company’s culture. A place to go to for a sense of belonging, teamwork, problem-solving, inspiration, collaboration or calibration.

The high street, hospitality and leisure sectors are evolving at lightning speed to keep up with changing consumer behaviour, striving to provide an amazing customer experience.

Businesses need to evolve their employee experience at a similar pace, providing a functional blend of physical and remote working practices to be able to attract and retain a diverse range of talent in the future.