Why local workspaces could be key to the future of work
There’s been a great deal of speculation about what the new normal for work will look like as we come out of lockdown and employees and employers consider their needs in a post-lockdown world.
Hybrid working – spending some of the week at home and some of it in the office – has become part of everyday discourse, but what about tribrid working? What does this involve and why could tribrid working be the future?
The term tribrid reflects the existence of a third potential workplace in addition to home and head office, viz. a flexible workspace nearer to where employees live.
This working model has gained ground recently, with advocates arguing that the option of flexible office space outside city centres can balance the needs of employees who don’t want to endure long, expensive commutes and employers that want to retain the benefits of office working, albeit not in the large, central head offices of old.
One proponent is Chelliah Nakeeran, CEO of workspace booking platform Bludesks.com. He said: “We see the tribrid working model as one that offers employers and employees the best possible solution, where the needs and wants of both parties can be fully satisfied. Of course, there are many fine details for this arrangement to work, but the trend is gaining rapid momentum as we come out of lockdown and as so many major brands reveal their future plans.”
These include big names like Unilever, BP, Marks and Spencer and Apple, all of which are considering their future workplace requirements for the new world of work.
Nakeeran point out that while there are clear benefits for such organisations in reducing their office footprint, many also recognise that there are advantages to being in an office with colleagues, as well as drawbacks to home-working, notably for those with little room, no private space, flatmates/young children or poor connectivity.
In this context, local workspaces that reduce the need for travel (and associated pollution and CO2 emissions), while providing a professional working environment are a valuable addition to the mix.
“We know from our research and from the many voices coming from industry that the tribrid working model relies on having workspace options nearer to where workers live, so that they have realistic choices of working outside the home, without the need for long journeys,” he said.
“BluDesks has been adding ‘local option’ workspaces across the globe, to provide a readily accessible network of workspaces that can be used on a flexible pay-as-you-go basis, giving that essential third option over head office or home office.
”Tribrid working won’t appeal to everyone. Some fear that flexible working will lead to a loss of control or a fall in productivity, while others worry that the booking of local workspaces will add more costs on top of existing leases on city centre head offices.
For others, however, the tribrid model offers the flexibility they need to rationalise their office footprint, get the most from existing staff and attract the best new talent.