video conference

Are ‘Hot Offices’ the office of the future?

Are “hot offices” the future? According to Amazon’s Web Services CEO Andy Jassy, the answer is yes. We’ll get to the details of Jassy’s comments and Amazon’s strategy in just a minute, but first, for those of you unfamiliar with exactly what a “hot office” is, let us explain. 

Jassy, who is quoted in a recent Insider article, describes the concept of “hot offices” in the way, “My suspicion is that a lot of these office buildings will start to evolve from being optimized for individual offices or cube space to being hot offices where you decide which day you’re going to come in and then you reserve a desk.”

Smartway2 enables organizations to take a data-driven approach to change by providing insights into how spaces, desks and other facilities are being used. To find out more request a demo with one of our experts.

Amazon’s plan for Hybrid Working

As a result of COVID-19, Amazon previously announced that employees could be working remotely until the summer of 2021. Beyond that, according to Jassy, there would likely be a permanent hybrid model where employees would divide their time between working remotely and in the office.

Jassy told CNBC, “I don’t think you’re going to have people coming back to the office 100% of the time the way that they did before…I think there’s going to be some type of hybrid model and I think it will probably differ depending on your job function.”

That article continues to cite Jassy, stating, “In a post-pandemic world, employees who can work productively from home will continue to do so, but they’ll still make trips to the office when they need to work on some projects, Jassy said. That will most likely cause office buildings to evolve to focus on collaboration and meeting spaces.”

Amazon is not alone in its path forward when it comes to reimagining a post-pandemic workplace. Other major companies including Google and Facebook have made similar remarks regarding the future of their workforces.

Your people want Hybrid Working

Many experts believe hybrid work is the “wave” of the future. This work style will allow employees to work remotely and come to the office, depending on their needs. A hybrid model offers a permanent sense of the same autonomy that so many workers now crave after being allowed to work remotely since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. There is a lot of data and research available showing the desire for a hybrid model moving forward, and we are sharing some of the statistics below.
Smartway2’s Return to Work survey data finds that only 2% of workers want to go back to the office full-time. At the same time, that research shows that only 6% of people want to work from home full-time. These findings clearly prove what people want is a combination of in-person and remote work.
Along the same lines, data from Gartner, a global research and advisory firm, found that 82% of company leaders in the fields of HR, legal, compliance, real estate and finance plan to allow employees to work remotely some of the time. The June 2020 research found, “Nearly half (47%) said they intend to allow employees to work remotely full time going forward. For some organizations, flex time will be the new norm as 43% of survey respondents reported they will grant employees flex days, while 42% will provide flex hours.”
A recent Wall Street Journal article delved deeper into the idea that many companies are adopting a hybrid style. The article, written by business reporters Emily Glazer and Chip Cutter, reads in part, “Hybrid work “is going to redefine expectations, rules, permissions,” says Kevin McCarty, chief executive officer of the Chicago-based consulting firm West Monroe, which employs 1,360 people, and is rethinking when its employees should work at home or come into its offices.” According to the article, “The new style of work is bound to be another transition for workers who a year ago had to adjust to life at home. Though executives say it would be easier to manage if every employee returned to an office, or all stayed remote, surveys have repeatedly shown that most workers want a mixed approach as more adults are vaccinated. In a February survey of 1,000 companies commissioned by LaSalle Network, a national staffing and recruiting firm, the majority of companies said they would adopt a hybrid model.”

Hot Desking key to Hybrid Working success

With hybrid work clearly, the future for many companies, the concept of hot-desking or hoteling will likely become a reality for many businesses and industries. If employees are splitting time between the office and a remote location, rather than coming into the office every day, companies can reimagine their physical layout because the old model of assigned desks and private offices no longer makes sense.
Hot desking and hoteling both help transition away from the traditional model of individually assigned workspaces. In fact, hoteling involves the concept of booking a desk or meeting room in advance. Reserving an office or desk can help alleviate stress for employees and employers, by guaranteeing that people coming into the office have the space they need to get the job done.
Desk booking software like Smartway2’s can make this process easier. Our software can also help you to avoid many of the common pitfalls of hot desking. Below are just a few of the benefits we’ve found:
  • Set simple desk booking rules so the right behaviours naturally emerge, e.g. you can’t book the same desk for more than 3 days in a row.
  • Use ‘Smart Desk Recovery‘ to release unused desk bookings.
  • Improve well-being by making certain desks available to people with specific ergonomic needs.

Tips for success in managing a Hybrid Workforce

If you’ve decided hybrid work is the best fit for your office, there are some strategies that can help to make the transition smoother and more effective.
Writing for TechRepublic, an online trade publication and social community for IT professionals, tech reporter Owen Hughes wrote in a recent article, “Moving to a remote-first model requires a complete rethinking of how businesses operate, not to mention a huge shake-up of our relationship with work and how we engage with it on a day-to-day basis. For businesses, taking early steps now can make the transition to cloud-based working smoother and more successful for everyone.”
Hughes provides the following 8 strategies to help make hybrid work a success for your company:
  • Trust your remote teams to succeed
  • Put digital support structures in place
  • Re-imagine your hiring process, with tech at the forefront
  • Keep leadership adaptive
  • …and working styles flexible
  • Share your talent
  • Make your culture people-focused
  • Recognize the power of empathy
Smartway2 offers unique workplace scheduling software for modern, agile and collaborative companies. Our flexible software can enable you to increase productivity, optimize your space and reduce your carbon footprint. 
Stefania Vatidis

Stefania Vatidis

Last updated March 26, 2021