How We Created a Human-centric Hybrid Office at Collato
5 tips for hybrid office design
With more and more teams going hybrid, the modern office needs to change. While it merely facilitated a place to work in the past, the office now needs to transform into a home base for collaboration, innovation, and creativity to accommodate New Work methods. Sounds overwhelming? Here are five tips to help you create a workspace your team will thrive in.
#1 Involve the team
Your team is your greatest asset. As they will be working in your new office space, they know best what they need to collaborate well and what helps them do their job healthily and happily. At Collato, we spoke to every team member and asked them about their remote work experience since the pandemic started. We wanted to know what they loved about working from home and what they struggled with.
We also asked our team what sparks their creativity, what environment helps them to focus, and what they imagine their dream workspace will look like. Interestingly enough, our team values many of the same things, and we got very insightful answers. The best part about this experience was that we got our team thinking about how they work well and what kind of environment they need to support their work style.
#2 Stay true to your values
If your company is anything like Collato, you’ve probably invested a great deal of time defining company values. Designing your new hybrid office space is a great way to bring those values to life: Let them guide your design process the same way they have shaped your brand design. Here is how Collato’s values have influenced our hybrid office design:
🌻 We consider ourselves a humble bunch and love simplicity, so we didn’t design a flashy office with super extravagant furniture. A few items have even been bought second-hand. Nice for your budget, more sustainable, and helps save the environment. We call that a win-win. 🎉
🌈 The creamy pastel colors on our walls and the carefully chosen bolder colored items promote a light and positive atmosphere. The natural wooden ceiling draws the viewer's gaze upwards and helps to boost the mood. Did you know that you can’t emotionally engage with negative thoughts while looking up? Cool, eh?
💡 Even though it would have been totally possible - no one has their own office. We value honesty and curiosity and share one workspace. Although it might not be the quietest workspace at the Collato Headquarters (we have other rooms dedicated for deep focus or highly collaborative work), everyone knows what’s going on. It helps us to connect the dots across teams and departments faster.
#3 Prioritize wellbeing
Workplace wellbeing is not a new concept. However, it has become increasingly important to understand and get right as the office is no longer just a place where work gets done. It has become a home base for distributed and hybrid working teams — a place of collaboration, community, and creativity. Almost our entire office space is dedicated to fostering connections between employees. We made sure the space is well lit with lots of natural light and complementary lighting design. Natural light sparks our creativity by boosting our energy as well as our mood.
We also brought a lot of plants into every room, because a biophilic office design will give your workspace a more natural feeling - something we humans are drawn to especially as we spend so much time in the “digital” world. Having lots of plants in a hybrid workspace keeps us connected to the world outside our screens. A quick glance out of the window, which is possible from every corner of the office, allows us to take a pause, defocus, and rest our eyes.
The office also supports a lot of different work styles. Whether you like to stand or sit at your desk, prefer a sofa, armchair, or even pouf - the Collato team can choose to work in whatever position they like.
#4 Make your spaces distinct
Once you have established the variety of workspaces your hybrid office should accommodate, it is essential to distinguish them from each other according to functionality. Some of your rooms will be team spaces or dialogue spaces, while others will be desk spaces or communal spaces for resting and fun. A room that fosters creativity and agile thinking will look different from an area that helps your team to do some deep work or lets them unwind. Different colors and a change in style help create a variety of atmospheres and rooms that work as separators themselves.
Remember that thing you forgot between the sofa and the fridge? Right - you don’t. This is called the “doorway effect.” When you distinguish your rooms well, and specific activities and atmospheres are anchored in different rooms, this effect can help you overcome a stuck state, blockades, and even tiredness. At Collato, our employees can choose between desk spaces, agile meeting rooms, communal spaces, and our very off-brand relax-fun room.
Especially important for a hybrid workplace is a quiet room, ideally soundproof, where virtual meetings can take place without disturbing the rest of the team. At Collato, we made sure that all of our meeting rooms are soundproof, and we also added two private soundproof booths in the open workspace so we can easily collaborate with our remote teammates at the office.
#5 Make it magical
This is the part where your company culture shines through in your office design. While offices are places where work gets done, ideas float around and your team comes together to collaborate, it is also and maybe most importantly a place where people meet. A great workplace for a great team also gives them room to breathe, connect, and simply be humans.
The Collato team is a tightly knit one. We know our colleague's dogs as they, to everyone’s joy, regularly come to the office. Every team member's kid has snuck a snack from the snack box at least once and we regularly take breaks to play board games, throw some darts, and have epic UNO battles. Giving each other the space to bring our whole selves to the table and into the office has helped us grow into the kick-ass team we are today. We communicate better and faster and have a more open and honest culture for it.
When we moved in early 2022, everyone was given a budget to add something to the office they think will improve work-life for everyone. The result of giving the team the opportunity to shape their environment actively had a great impact on how magical it feels to work at Collato. The office is now packed with so many lovely details, activity opportunities, and hidden gems that it offers our team endless ways to interact, have fun, and get inspired.
The office is dead, long live the office!
The office as a space where work gets done quietly and managers are able to see who’s in when has outlived its purpose. The world of work has changed as more and more employees express their desire to work in more flexible and even remote settings. Therefore the hybrid work environment is a people and collaboration hub, carefully designed to cater to the needs of employers and employees alike. A modern hybrid office should embrace New Work ideaology by facilitating collaboration, teamwork, creativity, and agility to keep up with today’s demands for good working conditions.
Questions about how your team wants to work and in which kind of environment need to be answered by your entire organization–and it needs to be okay if these answers vary from team to team. At Collato, we have a clear vision of how working should feel: like floating ten centimeters above ground with your favorite ice cream in hand. 🍦