What Does Our Workspace Truly Need To Look Like

What Does Our Workspace Truly Need To Look Like

by | June 18, 2024

Are we still talking about hybrid vs. remote vs. in-person workplaces? Yes, we are!

The decision on workplace setups might seem settled, but with a couple of years of post-pandemic experience, we’re now seeing what people really want and need. The reality is workplace preferences vary widely. Some team members prefer to be in the office 100% of the time; they enjoy the water cooler conversations and real-time collaboration that happens in person. Others find that they focus better when working remotely, away from distractions, using technology for collaboration and virtual water cooler chats. We find ourselves in a hybrid environment, still figuring out what works best.”

Leases are a prime example of how the workplace is evolving. Pre-COVID, office leases didn’t account for the flexibility we now need. Business owners who negotiated leases during the pandemic anticipated changes, but perhaps not to the current extent. As leases come up for renewal, there’s much to consider.

Equinox is a perfect example. We renewed our lease in the summer of 2021, expecting the team to return to the office. However, the reality of what “coming back” looks like and what it actually looks like is very different. As a result, our needs in 2024 are not what we anticipated in 2021. We didn’t see this coming! This remains an ongoing challenge as the situation continues to morph but we get to make financial and operational decisions with more information now than we had previously. 

Another topic that remains open, on the whole, is how we manage people in this environment. While we’ve implemented core elements to support our teams, we’re still learning how to communicate effectively and understand what’s happening in our employees’ home offices. Supervisors aren’t always present, which changes the dynamic. Questions around communication, drafting an effective remote work policy, actual policy rollout, and legal compliance remain open.

Are we effective? Are employees adhering to policies?

Effective management in hybrid environments demands clear communication and adaptable strategies.

Not to say that one is better than the other — that in-person is better than remote — but that hybrid is challenging.

Managing Teams in a Hybrid World

Best practices dictate that meetings should never be hybrid; meetings should either be all in person or all remote. We’ve all been on those calls where we’re on the remote side and feel completely left out of the meeting, and we’ve been in a room and realized that we haven’t included the remote participants. So, we’re still working through how to do this well, and the best practices will change over time.

Continuous Learning and Adaptation

The short-term implications, though, are the need and necessity to ensure that we can communicate policies, enforce compliance where required, and as we navigate the complex world of human resources and employment law, employers are becoming more obligated to track, disclose, and be aware of how workers are working. That’s harder in this space; it’s harder in this environment.

So, there’s learning to be had and changes to be made to do this well and effectively. It’s not going to stop; it’s never stopped. This is not new, but it is different for those of us who are in this space now, and it’s something to be aware of.

Do we need to think about different systems, technologies, communications approaches, and physical environments to enable our teams to collaborate effectively and comply with policies? These are questions we’re actively exploring.

Insights From Previous Blogs on Remote Work and the Modern Workspace

Equinox the Playing Field

If you’re facing concerns or challenges related to these changes, book a free consultation with us. Our fixed-cost Strategic General Counsel Plans offer ongoing support, ensuring you never have to hesitate in making decisions that are right for your business and your people.

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