There’s no denying that the culture of modern work as we knew it has changed over the last two years as everyone has had to adapt to working from home. A global study of workers by The Future Forum revealed that an overwhelming number of workers (93%) now want flexibility in their schedule and where they work. In fact, in April, over 90% of people expected some form of remote working, with only 3% expecting to go to the office full-time according to Dale Office’s research. This is where the new idea of the “hybrid workplace” comes into play.
In this article, we will be exploring the new campfire-esque “hybrid workplace” model and how it can change our way of working for the better.
Using the campfire aka office to brainstorm and collaborate
Much like the campfire was to the cowboys long ago, the goal for brainstorming is maintaining a safe environment in which employees are encouraged to share ideas. When people enter a meeting, they want to feel that they can share ideas and concepts freely in a calm atmosphere.
Just like how people would share stories around a campfire.
The hybrid style office would provide many opportunities to create a campfire style atmosphere where employees can gather and discuss innovative ideas.
But how does one create a campfire collaborative atmosphere in the office? With hot desking on the rise, designating fewer workstations will free up a lot of space in an office that can be repurposed for a wider variety of collaborative spaces. This means that the hybrid office should have more collaborative furniture, such as meeting pods and soft seating support group working. Meaning there will be less traditional desks and chairs.
Google, as always, is leading the way and is experimenting with their office layout. They have meeting rooms called “campfires” because they are situated in a semicircle that enables face-to-face sessions with social distancing, as well as outdoor tents to offer alternative work environments.
Keep the fire going in the office
Where some people will stay around the “campfire” to maintain it and keep the fire burning, others will go home. Similar to how you would at a campsite where you have a few members out to keep watch or maintain the campfire, with hybrid working the idea is that some employees stay in the office to keep things ticking over as well as keeping the brand spirit alive. This allows the team members working from home to occasionally come back into the office “to warm up” again and soak up the company’s culture. It’s a great way to re-energize and re-connect with the brand.
Image Source: Google the Keyword
Campfires bring people together for socialising
Hybrid workplaces are also great for socialising because it brings people together in a flexible and open space.
Similar to that of a campfire, where people gather for the experience, to pull together to keep warm, and to share stories. Employees can come into the office for a change of atmosphere knowing that they will have time to socialise with team members, share ideas, and engage with each other. This is especially important due to increased loneliness when working from home day in and day out. It means people can come together every so often and build morale and reduce those feelings of loneliness. The office can become the centre of team building days, so it becomes a real hub and destination.
A focus needs to be created around the places where people socialize such as the team member restaurants or break out areas. Some examples of great soft seating from Haiken are:
- Algo: A small armchair with curved, organic lines. Despite the seemingly delicate form, it is stable and exceptionally comfortable to sit on. A perfect choice for public spaces such as break out spaces, café areas or lobbies. An additional advantage is that it occupies little space!
- Sona: An ideal solution for creating quiet islands in large open-space offices, Sona is based on 8 basic frames. Pouffes or small tables can be used to split rows of seats or finish off the final arrangement. It’s flexible and can be altered to fit different sizes and functions of the interior.
- Mishell Soft : Designed to provide even more user comfort thanks to an additional, extremely soft quilted layer on the seats. The Mishell Soft collection has a real cosy character, perfect to make any office interior more inviting.
- Comfee: Comfee is a collection of armchairs with uniquely shaped and structured seating sections. Innovative design with lightweight seats suspended on a metal frame provides superior comfort of use. It also has an option for outdoor use.
Additionally, plants are also great for the workplace as they can help to absorb excess noise and can also be used to create different zones where employees can escape to a quieter part of the office to concentrate. Check out our Zorla, a mobile floor screen with sound absorbing effects, perfect for reducing noise in open room constellations. The top wooden box can be filled with natural or fake plants to make it a decorative piece of furniture.
How to create the right campfire solution for a hybrid office?
A survey of 826 participants revealed that 45% of people wanted to spend 2 days a week in the office, 21% preferred 3 days a week, and only 8% wanted to be back in the office full-time. 27% of those surveyed wanted to work from home forever.
This shows how split people are and how we all have different preferences. So how do you go about creating the right campfire that suits everyone?
- Firstly, the entire team should be included in decision-making processes when it comes to hybrid working to ensure you maintain happy employees.
- Have inclusive conversations with team members to discover how they each individually feel.
- Ensure space for collaboration separate to the rest of the office. It is thought that the office will be mainly used as a base for discussions and collaboration as with a campfire whereas more focussed work will take place at home. This means it’s important to have a areas in the office dedicated to socialisation and brain-storming ideas.
- Having an optimal hybrid workplace requires all parties understanding the role of the office in the post-pandemic world. To achieve this, make sure to organise and come up with a plan together.
- Flexibility is key to a hybrid working environment. According to Dale Office Interiors, 70% of job seekers surveyed said flexible working made a job look better and more promising. Not offering flexibility can limit a company’s access to job seekers and thus putting the business at risk as staff and job seekers expect that flexibility now. With this being said, try to allow for employees to decide where they work best and how often they wish to do so.
Haiken's campfire solutions
At Haiken, we have a variety of office furniture that can help businesses adapt to the new hybrid way of working. Please feel free to contact us today for more information and we will be happy to help you create your own campfire environment.