Hybrid is here to stay: Now what?

How to succeed in the hybrid era with agile facility management

The seismic impacts of the pandemic may still be playing out, but one thing is already clear: the world has gone hybrid. This new normal poses a logic test: how can employers support employees working from home and provide an all-access pass to an appealing, socially magnetic central workplace—without over-investing in underutilized space or, equally problematic, under-investing in experience?

According to a recent JLL survey of more than 1,000 corporate real estate (CRE) leaders across 13 countries, offering hybrid working options will be critical to attracting and retaining talent. And while more than half of organizations now plan to make remote working a permanent option for all employees by 2025, a full 70% of CRE leaders agree that the office will continue to be a crucial hub in the long term.

Yet for many corporate real estate leaders, going hybrid is easier said than done.

For starters, when employees only come in on whatever days they choose, it can be much harder to predict corporate office occupancy throughout any given week. That volatility can lead to wasted space and unnecessary operating expenses. It can also tempt employers to offload more space than is needed.

So the great challenge now for CRE leaders is to operationalize hybrid work in a way that supports employees’ health and wellbeing, while balancing organizational performance, agility and budget.

One way to address the conundrum: Turn to dynamic facility management (FM) for ground control in navigating the hybrid era.

New facilities management strategy for a new era of work

The fundamental purpose of the office has changed, from the place where people came to do it all, all the time, to the place they come sometimes, mainly to interact with one another.

That means FM strategy needs an overhaul, too. Before COVID, service delivery functions like cleaning and foodservice were based on a simple status quo of Monday-Friday, in-person workweeks. Now these services must instead scale and pivot depending on changing occupancy.

For example, let’s say your hybrid plan includes moving away from permanently assigned individual space where people always know exactly where and when to go, to flexible team space allocations based on who’s in the office, when.

You’d need a completely different service approach to help employees feel oriented and supported on any given day—while keeping the proverbial “lights off” in unused areas.

This might include stationing a floor ambassador to welcome and direct people to different parts of the building based on expected occupancy or providing an on-call button for workplace-as-a-service offerings like delivering dry-erase boards or connecting people with wellness amenities. It also requires real-time occupancy data so that cleaning crews know which spaces need attention, and which ones don’t.

No matter how exactly you choose to manage space and service demand, succeeding in a flexible work world requires thoughtful, adaptive workplace solutions that can flex, too.

Rather than providing the same level of service day in and day out, a hybrid-ready FM partner can curate, and scale workplace services based on real-time occupancy data. Through dynamic provisioning, that FM team can help you continually deliver a high-quality, experiential workplace experience while keeping costs in check.

Today’s workplace leaders have a powerful opportunity to help shape this dawning hybrid era. Learn more about the ins and outs of dynamic provisioning and how it can support the engaging, experience-driven workplace that today’s talent demands.