The Truth About Hybrid Workspaces
I already know what you’re thinking – ‘What is a hybrid workspace?’. The answer is simple, it is a combination of private offices and open plan coworking space. While there have been objections for both styles of workplace – private and open plan, a hybrid space offers room for both, maximising on interaction, while also offering private spaces for confidential work and meetings. Since 2013 hybrid space has doubled across the globe, and this is for more than one reason.
Not only are SME’s taking advantage of the more flexible leasing terms, but larger corporates are as well. This could be due to a variety of reasons such as volatile markets and changes to commercial lease standards. As of January 2016, almost all leases must be capitalised on, adding to liabilities on a company’s balance sheet. Except, that is, for short term (i.e. less than 12 month) leases, liabilities do not apply on leases from serviced and coworking spaces.
Not only this, but with small business start-ups increasing by 750% in Melbourne in the last three years alone, entrepreneurs are seeking established locations as their touch pad, as they allow a swift move-in, accommodate rapid growth and absorb much of the risk associated with long term contracts.
Convenience of these spaces aside, there’s one thing business owners may not have thought of when it comes to operating out of a shared lease space, and it’s the thing you stare in the face every day, people.
Of all the statistically proven factors that influence employee attraction and retention, all are relative in a hybrid space and I don’t know why I haven’t read an article specifically addressing this correlation before.
Allow me to elaborate…
According to a study from Hassell and Empirica research, combining attractive workplace facilities and an appealing culture can outweigh salaries when it comes to attracting candidates. Now don’t get me wrong, not all shared lease spaces are beautiful, but with coworking and hybrid space accounting for 33% of all flexible space globally, you can be sure that service providers are finding their edge in a variety of ways, one of which being modern and functional design. Qualitative feedback in their study also showed a very strong link between attractiveness of the workplace and attractiveness of the job offer. When asked to describe the ‘best place they had ever worked’, respondents often noted the physical space and facilities despite not being prompted to do so.
Accessible facilities is also important (see below graph), with car-parking and on-site gym topping the list of the most influential facilities on accepting a job offer. The Melbourne CBD has the highest prevalence of service offices across Australia. You can bet your bottom dollar that you could throw a stone from anyone of them and find access to these facilities if they are not already existent in the building itself.
Corporate Social Responsibility
According to Sodexo research, sustainability is a core element for Gen X and millennials with regard to corporate social responsibility. ‘Initiatives that represent the passion and commitment of people who choose to live their values through their work’ relate closely to morale, intent to remain with an organisation and overall satisfaction at their place of employment Sodexo suggests. Furthermore, ‘organisations that inspire people to connect with their community and create meaningful, sustainable work environments can retain top talent, especially among the younger generations’. When it comes to attracting millennials, sustainability is imperative.
With the coworking and hybrid space market becoming increasingly competitive, service providers are really keeping an ear out for customer needs, and are popping up in exciting new locations such as the Barangaroo precinct in Sydney.
As we continue to support small business growth, it’s important to offer more influential factors that can improve business culture, performance and understanding. Diversity in the workplace is an excellent way to add new perspectives, and increase innovation within the company. How does a small business with less the 10 employees get much of a chance at experiencing diversity? You guessed it – in a coworking or hybrid space. Any one shared space could house up to 200 individual tenants or more, and with most if not all arranging regular networking events, the interaction with different demographics is limitless.
An article from Hays Recruitment describes four key benefits of diversity including increased innovation, improved attraction and retention, creating a meritocratic culture, as well as improving financial performance. The latter, being primarily focused around gender parity.
So whether you’ve thought about going into a Hybrid, Coworking or Private Office space already or not, when you’re next ready for a change of scenery, keep shared spaces in mind. They could do more for you than you think!