Market Insight

Looking to the future – A nine-point plan to help your business embrace hybrid working

After the last two years, businesses continue to broach how best to return to the office, approaching it in a variety of ways with varying results.
July 7, 2022
Having enjoyed a much more flexible work regime over the past two years and better productivity (initially at least), employees have been given a taste for what life can be like without the lengthy commutes or burdensome costs of before and after school provision for their children.

It comes as no surprise therefore, that some businesses are facing a reluctance from their people to return to the workplace, and are making unprecedented (but to be expected) demands in relation to flexible work arrangements.

With some 73% (Microsoft) of employees wanting a hybrid approach to work to remain, this is informing how businesses return to the office, with a somewhat varied approach to try to appease all parties.

Over half (52%) of employees want a hybrid approach to work (McKinsey), and 66% of employers are redesigning their office space to support this way of working (Microsoft).

But what does hybrid look like, exactly?

According to Qualtrics, ‘hybrid work is a flexible working model where employees work partly in the physical workplace, and partly remotely – at home or from another workspace.’

So how does your business achieve the right balance?

Occupier advisory expert, David Thomas, explains his nine-step plan towards a hybrid work strategy that will help you to get the best out of hybrid (and your people), for your business.

It all boils down to a carrot, rather than a stick, approach.

Start with WHY?

Define what Hybrid means for your business and take time to explain the WHY of why it is better to be together. This should cover things like engagement, learning, growth, innovation, community and brand. Remind people of their contribution to the whole, the company’s purpose, the opportunities created for learning, succession and cross-selling.

Improve DESIGN

Create an environment that offers employees a better experience in the office than they have at home – whether that is the introduction of Zoom booths, concentration spaces, comfortable break out areas or good coffee.


Design your office for an inclusive environment – whether that is in terms of collaboration space, concentration space (read extrovert or introvert) but also in terms of race, religion and sexuality.


Ensure that you have the right culture and values to entice people to want to continue to work with you, or to attract new talent. Remember, lions are off-putting if you are a zebra!

Go GREEN (not greenwashing)

Think carefully about how you can improve the energy efficiency of your office, not only for your own bottom line, but also to ensure that you are taking positive climate action to support the environment.

Be social and CELEBRATE

Your people and the connection they have with each other, is the glue that holds your organisation together. Celebrate this with increased social engagement, creating events and opportunities to give people a reason to connect – both in the office environment, and outside of it.

Understand the LEGALS

Most employment contracts require people to be in the office as their place of work, but employees do have the right to request flexible working and you are required by law to consider these requests. Be careful to manage what hybrid means in practice, within the boundaries of what is required of you by law in relation to flexible working.


As part of your hybrid strategy, you will need to consider the usual health and safety aspects, from Display Screen Assessments in the workplace and at home, to monitoring for inclusion, loneliness, health and wellbeing and Zoom fatigue.


Maintain flexibility to review what is working, and what is not. After two years of disruption, you need to be flexible to ensure that a new equilibrium is found, if you are to avoid losing your talent.

If you would like support with your approach to hybrid working and what this looks like in office terms for your business, contact our occupier advisory team.

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