One would have thought it scarcely possible that the demand for office-space would see such a decline had they been asked at the turn of the year, yet, since March 2020, over 80% of people agree that a hybrid model is the most appealing solution according to a study by Amarách Research for Fórsa trade union in August.
What does a hybrid workspace look like?
A hybrid office or “digital hub” represents a halfway point between the traditional office environment and the recently adopted work-from-home conditions that many workers found themselves in upon the lockdown measures implemented in Ireland in Spring of this year.
The hub offers workers a chance to replicate the usual office surroundings without the mundanity of working from one’s own residence, and most significantly, without the long commute into the city centre, where most offices are based.
Where will they be located?
While many people will still plan to base themselves in the country’s capital, this is no longer a requirement for a lot of the workforce, and people are beginning to look towards the more rural counties as potential places to live, which is being accommodated by these digital hubs.
In Tim Ferriss’ book; The 4-Hour Work Week, he raves about the freedom associated with a remote-working lifestyle, and while this may have seemed slightly farfetched for the standard office-worker, the dream of setting up a desk overlooking the sea in is becoming a concrete reality for some.
Who are hybrid workspaces for?
With companies like Facebook, Twitter and Shopify all adopting a laissez-faire policy for their employees’ working environments, hybrid offices are built to accommodate all remote workers, from business-owners to account executives, these hubs will see a diversity of workers under one roof, and will give people a unique opportunity to network and connect with people they may never have met in ordinary circumstances.
Tonnes of members of the Dublin population swapped a tropical holiday for a “staycation” this year, with many of them seeing the west coast and the Wild Atlantic Way for the first time. These trips not only give people a glimpse of the beauty of our small country but also an idea of new places to situate themselves, giving the occupational anchor tethered to Dublin being cut by the pandemic-induced lockdown, we could see a welcomed shift in population density to these areas.
How does the future look?
The pandemic has meant that people have had a chance to really complete an audit of their lives, becoming more aware of their daily routines, and building an understanding of what their preferable work-life balance looks like.
The economic future is precarious, to say the least, but those still working will want a degree of freedom and control over deciding where they set up their computer each day. Hybrid workspaces offer this freedom. You escape the chaos of home, yet don’t have to deal with the congestion of the commute and the claustrophobia of a packed office.
People are changing, the demand is there, and that demand must be accommodated.