My 5 practical tips to make sure your hybrid workplace ‘earns the commute’

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As a business leader, you’re putting massive energy into making your workplace an exciting, collaborative and enjoyable place for your hybrid workers to spend time.

So should you feel disheartened by a new Gartner survey?

The “What Workers Want’ Digital Worker Experience Survey found:

96% of HR managers say they have implemented hybrid working in their workplace, but organizations are still struggling to motivate workers to come and use it.

Even worse, they report that a mix of strategies to ‘earn the commute’ is achieving underwhelming results…

If this is your experience as a workplace leader, this is my message: Don’t give up. Your efforts are not being wasted – and there is more you can do.

Drawing on my own long experience with NFS workplace clients worldwide, I’ve compiled some suggestions that will make sure you earn that commute – and help your organization work faster, smarter and happier.

My 5 practical tips for creating your successful hybrid workplace

1. Remember – each employee is different

Everybody works and communicates in different ways. Encouraging office attendance is about creating the right work environment, colleague engagement, the nature of work activities and personal circumstances.

Tip: Create a frictionless employee office experience by giving people power over their environment. Booking workspace including desks using an app is a good start – they can select space using customisable criteria that can include a low noise areas or proximity to teammates.

What worked for our client: One manager of an NHS trust said: “A good mobile app experience with floorplan booking, colleague location and some messaging features has made the office experience far more positive.”

2. In the hybrid world, communication rules

Whether your worker is full-time remote, full-time office based or hybrid, you need to keep channels open.

Tip: Encourage two-way communications by making it easy to set up meetings and get-togethers with workspace management technology.

What worked for our client: One NFS client has a weekly team newsletter that identifies priorities, suggests in-office collaboration opportunities and encourages staff buy-in.

3. We all come here to collaborate, don’t we?

Collaboration sparks creativity and bonds teams together, and face-to-face encounters feed our need for social contact and friendship. That’s got to be worth the commute.

Tip: Identify tasks that need collaboration. Then explain why these tasks will benefit from an office visit and provide an app with a colleague search facility.

What worked for our client: One NFS client gave teams the flexibility to plan their week around collaboration activities. The team leader can block book desks and meeting spaces and gives staff the opportunity to select how they engage with colleagues in the office.

4. Grow a culture that all can share and support

Time in the office needs to offer a positive experience, from the operational (where you sit and what you do) and the human (who you interact with and the kind of culture your workplace encourages and endorses).

Tip: Train your team leaders to curate what is right for their team and engage deeply with them.

What worked for our client: An international law firm has worked hard to build trust and understanding into its hybrid working strategy, allowing employees flexibility and using technology to make office visits frictionless.

5. Think of the office as a venue – with perks

Workplace leaders need to develop a completely different view of their space – and treat it as a collaboration and experience venue where staff can book well-designed, useful and pleasant space for interacting with colleagues and guests.

Tip: Strengthen your ‘venue’ offering by offering some incentives to visit. This could range from a food and beverage experience to a team event, or a learning or leisure opportunity.

What worked for our client: An NFS client going down the venue route recommends that you provide different offerings that target individual profiles – it’s very much like dealing with a hotel guest.


When workplace leaders first come to NFS for advice, we often hear them say: “Our staff are asking why they should come to the office when they are totally productive at home.”

In fact, it’s in everyone’s interests – employees and the organization – for them to make that visit sometimes. But only when it’s necessary, and when it’s operationally and socially beneficial.

So build trust by putting in place excellent staff engagement that encourages their commitment and loyalty. Communicate well and frequently: by getting to know your team, you will understand the outcomes for both parties.

And finally, allow some levels of flexibility in the relationship. In other words, earn that commute – because if you do, everyone benefits.

Join Luis De Souza at the Crestron Modern Work Summit, Madrid, 23-25 May. Register for your place:

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