Returning to the Office and Hybrid Working

Here at London Business Hub, we know COVID-19 has had a significant impact on how businesses operate and work. Many businesses have switched to remote working, and many employees are still working from home.

COVID-19 and the shift to remote working are also encouraging businesses to think about their office needs and how to best use their space. As a result, more employers are considering hybrid working options, which involve a combination of remote and office working.

London Business Hub has brought together an overview of hybrid working models, as well as some practical tips to help you keep your workplace safe and secure.

Hybrid working options

There are several different flexible and hybrid working models you could consider, including:

Downsize to a smaller office

If fewer employees will be based in the office at any one time, you could move into a smaller private office. Employees can then work remotely or from the office as needed.

Managed workspace

Managed workspace is usually offered on flexible, ‘easy in, easy out’ terms, meaning businesses don’t need to commit to a long-term lease. You will also have greater flexibility to expand and take on more space or downsize as needed.

Adapt your existing workspace

Think about the main functions and purposes you want your existing workspace to meet. You could adapt your workspace to meet these changing needs, such as by setting up more breakout or meeting room spaces. Employees can then work from the office and remotely, depending on your requirements.

Office timesharing

Office timesharing is an option for businesses that don’t need full-time office space. It enables businesses to share private office space on a flexible basis. For instance, one business might be based in the office on Mondays and Tuesdays. A second business will use the office the rest of the week. Timesharing is often a way to reduce costs and have more flexibility.

Co-working

Co-working spaces provide shared workspaces that different people, businesses and employees can use on a flexible basis. In co-working spaces, you typically share amenities and can often book meeting spaces. Co-working is a popular option for businesses that don’t need their own private office space or have employees working across multiple locations.

Work across multiple locations

Businesses with employees based across a large geographical area or who don’t want to commute could consider working across multiple smaller locations. For example, some office and co-working providers allow tenants to work across several different buildings. Employees can then pick the most convenient location or work remotely.

Returning to the Office and Hybrid Working

Working safely during COVID-19

As businesses and employees return to the office, it’s essential to take steps to keep workplaces safe by following the Government’s ‘Working Safely’ guidance. The guidance sets out the measures and precautions businesses can take to help protect staff and customers, including:

  • Complete a health and safety risk assessment that includes the risks from COVID-19. 
  • Provide adequate ventilation and make sure there is a supply of fresh air to indoor spaces where people are present. 
  • Clean more often, especially the surfaces people touch a lot. Remind staff and customers to clean their hands frequently. 
  • Turn people away with COVID-19 symptoms. 
  • Ensure communication and training procedures are in place to keep workers, contractors and visitors up-to-date on how you’re using safety measures. 

Read the ‘Working Safely’ guidance in full. 

Useful resources

  • London Business Hub has brought together a range of resources, including practical guides and webinars, to support businesses and employers during COVID-19.
  • The Property Advice Service from London Business Hub is designed to help you find the right space and fully understand the costs associated with renting a property.
  • The London Open Workspaces Map is an interactive guide to the capital’s incubators, co-working spaces, startup workspaces, artists’ studios and maker spaces. The map marks the locations and services of over 400 workspaces that are publicly available.
  • The COVID-19 Workplace Checklist provides practical guidance for employers operating during COVID-19.
  • The Health and Safety Executive has published advice on carrying out a risk assessment during COVID-19.
  • HubbleHQ has published a series of articles to help businesses find the best workplace solutions for their team during COVID-19. Articles are available on new ways of using office space, office timesharing, and hybrid workplace solutions.
  • Workspace has published an article on how to design a safe office layout.
  • Acas has published advice to help employers consider whether hybrid working is an option for their workplace, as well as how to fairly introduce it.

Related Resources