What hybrid workspaces could look like?

Firms are now rethinking their office setups as hybrid work will likely stay even after the pandemic.

Most firms, if not all, will likely be operating in a hybrid setup with some employees reporting in the office, whilst others work from home in the new normal. But, how can firms adapt a hybrid model for when workers start coming back to the office?

Barco, a professional visualisation and collaboration technology firm, designed their new Singapore office to be small yet, efficient. This was a plan, drafted long before the pandemic, but proved to be beneficial now that workers mobility is limited.

“A year before COVID-19, we kind of thought of redesigning our office, and the way we thought about it was to make it better, smaller and cheaper,” Olivier Croly, Senior Vice President for APAC at Barco, said.

Barco’s new office, located at the Greater Southern Waterfront, Singapore, houses its experience center, which integrated its workspace for its employees as well as its showroom for their clients.

Some 70% of the experience center is used for collaboration, whilst 30% of the space will be saved for office desks. It also has multi-purpose rooms where they can switch from working on their day-to-day tasks to townhall meetings or even signing ceremonies.

The experience center has open spaces that can be used in 12 different ways. Croly said. It is also equipped with the technology Barco offers, true to its plan to make the office efficient.

Amongst the key idea behind the experience center, Croly noted is that, “if you make the trip to the office, it has to be worth the trip, it has to be an experience.”

On top of this, Croly said the new office is intended to create a workspace that will be attractive for workers.

“The other thing is we wanted to create a space for the employees. If they can’t come to the office, they can connect. They won’t have to come – that also really changed the culture of the company,” he said.

Croly said Barco will be replicating the same experience center design in its other Asia-Pacific offices, starting with India and Australia, targeted for completion this year. It will be followed by Japan and Korea next year.

He added that in the new post-pandemic scenario, offices will likely take the same direction of reducing desk space, or fewer big central offices. Meeting rooms will also likely have cameras in each meeting room that will allow them to quickly switch to a hybrid meeting when necessary.

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