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How to make hybrid work sustainable ? Design is the key.

Dernière mise à jour : 21 avr.

Is your company also evolving towards a new structure called : hybrid working ? A new way of working that allows to work remotely at least onces a week. Current studies are showing how working from home results in more productivity, increases employee's satisfaction and overall happiness.

But is this trend sustainable?

Today, our vision on hybrid working is almost fully positive, moving towards more flexibility, less pressure and less stress. But what will it look like a few years from now ? Which challenges will follow ? Did you know that one of the biggest factors of burnout is the lack of work-life balance...

Contrary to what you may hear or think, the main cause of burn-out is not the pressure of work, it is the constant need to be connected. The need to be connected all the time, flexible and adaptable to any situation. Burn-out is the consequence of our inability to disconnect and set limits. So what is the impact of working from home, on the kitchen table, in the couch ? Our brain is now working in a place that it associates purely with relaxation and privacy. What will be the consequence for our personal balance?

How can one's brain find balance between work and leasure if the spaces that are suposed to be dedicated to relaxation become dedicated to work ?

Office design and its evolution:

History shows us that the architecture and design of workspaces have evolved in parallel with the evolution of society. At a time when productivity and efficiency were more important than sanity, offices were designed to optimize every square foot. The main objective was to have as many people as possible in the smallest space possible.

Now, in 2022, offices are designed around a combination of open spaces, quiet spaces, recreation spaces and even relaxation spaces. Thankfully, the awareness around the importance of mental health has increased.

Today, hybrid work is becoming a new reality for many organizations. Office design is, again, going to know an entire new era. Personal desks are being removed, the quantity of needed space is being reduced, ...

Compagnies invest so much money, time and energy in their office design, but what about the design of our home-offices ?
A recent survey showed how 100% of the 53 interviewed entrepreneurs were sure that the organization of their office space had an impact on their productivity, creativity, fatigue and energy. What is the consequence on your companies growth of your team members working from their couch, in their pijama's, on their kitchen table ?

As a manager, you can invest as much as you want in your employee's wellbeing, if when they work from home, they work facing a wall, their energy, fatigue and motivation will be at its lowest.

Three keys to make home-working sustainable in your company:

As a manager, chief happiness officer, CEO, ... you cannot control your employees when they work at home. Your employees might be looking at the television at the same time, wearing just a shirt on the upper part of their body, ...

You will tell me : if the numbers are there and the work is done, I don't care about their work environment at home. Yes, but no... because on the long term, this way of working and living is not sustainable. The numbers might be reached, but (if working in an unappropriated environnement) the creativity, motivation, fatigue and satisfaction will decrease and your team members will never be at their full potential, which will have impact on your company's growth.

  1. Inform and educate your team

Raise awareness around the consequences of working from home for the work-life balance of your team members. Not everyone has the chance to have a distinct room available they can dedicate a 100% to work. So many are unaware of the consequences of working on their couch, in their pijama's or even from their bed.

Raising awareness around the matter will guide your team towards new and better habits at home that will increase their satisfaction on the long term. Today, home-working is still new and exciting. Working in pijama's feels liberating | working from the couch in front of the television feels like the definition of freedom | working with kids playing in the same room feels like work is less of a burdon.

This is all true, but all short term satisfaction. Physiologically, our body releases the hormone called dopamine ; responsible for short term happiness. It's like receiving a new car, it is exciting at first, after a while the excitement passes away. One's the excitement of the new way of working will be over, the side effects of these unhealthy habits will start rising.

2. Invest in their office design at home

The link between office design and satisfaction/growth has been proven to be undeniable. If your company is implementing hybrid working, you should invest as much in the home office of your employees at home than the design at work. Which factors influence most the productivity, creativity and motivation of your team ?

  • the room they work in (kitchen, appart room, dining room, bedroom, ...)

  • the position of the office they work at (facing a wall, facing a window, in front of the door, alone, shared, ...)

  • the design : colors on the walls, decoration elements, ....

3. Make sure they still have a territory at work

Nomad working becomes the new way of thinking office spaces. Since the presence at work is being reduced, there is no need to have an owned desk anymore.

This goes against one of the primary needs of the human being : which is the need of belonging, the need to have a territory. Having a (personal) desk at work is primordial for one's sense of belonging.

Being able to personnalise even a tiny space, is an unconscious but very present need. If you are thinking about making your office design 100% nomad (with a system of changing places every time your team comes to the office) I would strongly recommend to find an alternative so that your team can have the impression they own part of the space.

Who am I and how can I help you?

My name is Fiona, I am an architect specialized in wellbeing. Part of my mission is to analyse how the organization of space influences our brain processes and our behavior (also called neuro-architecture). There is a direct link between your company's growth and your employees satisfaction with the design of the space.

How can I Help you ?

1.By advising your company during the construction and or renovation process. The objective is to organize the space and furniture to reduce fatigue and improve productivity and secondly to chose a design (colors, decoration, materials) that fits the objectives and core values of the company. The organization and design will have an impact on the company's growth (employees satisfaction, relationship with clients, finances, ambiance, ...)

2. By helping help you increase wellbeing at work by creating for your team members the best possible environment from home. This through different formulas : workshops, talks, individual consultations, ... Taking into account all the possible configurations (some work in an office room, other's from their living room, ...).

3. By advising managers and chief officers individually. Helping you create a work environment at work and/or at home that fits the image and values they want to transmit to the company, to the clients, ...

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