On the Move: Living the Hybrid Workplace Challenge

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On the move

Today we begin a new blog series that chronicles our experience establishing a new hybrid workplace headquarters facility for XY Sense. Why do we think this will interest you? Our challenges and opportunities will likely seem familiar, so we thought we’d share our story in hopes that this real-world experience will show you how occupancy data powers better workplace decisions and work environments.

We are currently at an inflection point in how businesses and people work. How people use workplaces has changed drastically since we began our company, and we are now tasked with understanding how to best measure an adaptable hybrid workplace, just like many people reading this post.

There’s no better way to understand clients’ challenges than to live them. At XY Sense, we help enterprises make more out of their physical workplaces. Our recent explosive growth has created a set of opportunities that are very familiar to our clients – we need to reimagine our headquarters workplace as we have outgrown our current offices.

As we began this process, we decided to replicate the experiences our clients have in developing hybrid workplaces. We chose to find and build out a place as close as possible to a typical office for our customers. In doing so, we gain first-hand knowledge to serve clients better and create even more valuable hardware and software products. 

Setting Our Workspace Goals

Every important business decision should begin with objectives and goals. As we undertook the process, our workplace strategy outlined a series of must-haves:

  • Highly accessible to employees commuting via public transit. As easy or easier to get to as our current location. This was important to us to encourage more in-office time and deliver on our sustainability goals.

  • Flex growth model building. We are a high-growth company. Further, our workspace needs vary throughout the week/month/year, so we wanted access to nearby pay-per-use flex space.

  • Outstanding area amenities. Nearby restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues for team outings would make the lives of our people better and easier.

  • Space configurations like those our clients seek. A mix of offices, open areas, phone booths, conference rooms, breakout spaces, and variable workpoints.

  • Humanizing elements. Natural light, plants, and comfortable furniture contribute to satisfaction and productivity and make coming to the office more appealing.

  • Beautiful space we can be proud of. We wanted a space we could proudly bring our clients to and that inspires our team. We want our hybrid work culture to give our knowledge workers the best opportunities for great work and career development.

In terms of space, we examined our past six months’ experience with a hybrid work policy to define our office size and configuration. Our needs vary considerably at different times. About three weeks a month, we have flexible work rules and remote work is typical for many employees. In the fourth week, all staff members in country, including remote employees, come to our offices for a week of collaboration and team time. And a few times a year, people fly in from other markets as well.

The Location We Chose

This week we move into the 37th floor of the Melbourne Central Tower, a beautiful building downtown. This recently refurbished premium-grade building ticked all our boxes, offered fantastic views, and provided outstanding nearby shopping, dining, and professional services.  For example, the building offers excellent end-of-trip facilities like showers, lockers, and bike racks.

The space is owned by The GPT Group and there are shared spaces in the building that are bookable on demand.

Our lease is geared toward our space needs for most of each month, so we aren’t paying for many empty desks and conference rooms for most of the year. When our daily needs outscale our office space, we leverage pay-per-desk space in the building to give everyone a great place to work under the same roof. 

Our Build Out

Once we chose our building, we defined our space needs based on our experiences in our original office. We also drew from our market dataset seeing hybrid workplaces have far greater demand for enclosed collaboration spaces and less need for permanent desks. The space offers a mix of dedicated workpoints, hot desks, a mix of larger conference rooms and smaller conference rooms, and a large breakout area. 

In completing our buildout, however, we insisted on having the opportunity to make adjustments quickly. To ensure we make the best decisions for our company and people, we installed XY Sense Entry Sensors and  XY Sense Area Sensors throughout to provide the data necessary to power our decision-making.

Since our hybrid work model empowers our team members to work from home for much of each month, we wanted to ensure maximum effective collaboration and flexibility for those times when people did come to the office.

Here are a couple of examples of the sorts of information we will be looking for in the weeks ahead. 

Based on our rapid growth in customer count, there may be a higher demand for enclosed collaboration spaces and a reduced need for permanent workpoints over time. We have a set of portable booths ready and will use platform data to understand their usage and decide when we need to alter the space.

Of the collaboration spaces we have, which will be more popular, open spaces or conference rooms? Do account managers prefer a small conference room or a phone booth for client calls? Based on actual usage insights, we’ll be able to reconfigure to optimize our facility. Ultimately, we hope our experience helps us advise clients on what might work best in their spaces. 

We also hope to work with our building to install sensors in open spaces in the building that tenants use for additional meetings. Since these spaces are unbookable, it would be valuable for all tenants to have access to real-time insights on whether space is available before a team gets on the elevator to make the trek.

What sorts of working meetings are best held in each space? For example, does the team prefer heading downstairs to a cafe for a 1:1 check-in? Are quick calls between remote/in-office colleagues done at desks or in booths? Based on these answers, we can ensure we have the right equipment and enhanced functionality like video conferencing available in each appropriate location. 

How many people are sitting or standing throughout the workday? Based on this, can we gamify health-positive behaviors to improve the wellbeing of each person on our team?

Those are just a few of the questions we hope to answer in the next several months. The opportunity to let you in on how we use occupancy analytics to power workplace decisions is unique, and we hope you find it insightful.

Watch for periodic “On the Move” posts where we reveal findings and the actions they drive. We hope you enjoy this series of posts showcasing our real-world experience crafting a great environment.

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