WHAT ARE THE HUB-AND-SPOKE AND HYBRID MODELS FOR OFFICE WORK– AND WHY DOES IT MATTER?  

We’ve learned many things from the Covid-19 pandemic. However, if there is one thing that has hit the spotlight, it’s been how commercial office real estate needs to change. A traditional setup of just one corporate headquarters is just no longer essential for day-to-day productivity.  More and more positions than ever before can now be conducted remotely. As a result, many businesses have discovered that it’s time to reinvent their workplace by embracing the hub-and-spoke and hybrid models for office work.  

 

What does hub-and-spoke mean? 

It’s the latest buzzword for an organizational structure for offices. As the name suggests, it’s an office model where a central office is surrounded by, or supported by, smaller offices to strategically achieve efficiency. With more flexibility as well as growth opportunities, hub-and-spoke offices are the perfect fit.  In the past, a company’s HQ would be where executives, managers, other key departments and even support staff were based, and it made sense. With everybody nearby for meetings, decisions were made quickly, collaboration happened, and progress was monitored. Many of these spaces could be found in large or prestigious central business districts and commuting was essential for office workers living outside of downtowns. The major drawback however, was the need for a strong on premises IT infrastructure and maintenance of same.  

Recently, with the increase and advance of technology, especially in the cloud, along with the acceptance of employers to provide remote working policies, there is a much far less need for everyone to work together in the same building. Remote working is not a new concept, but instead one that has become more and more acceptable as the world has learned to trust that work will in fact, truly be done in a remote setting. Being designed to save space and money, a hub-and-spoke model is a tool for any remote worker—provided the necessary hotspots, internet speeds, and spaces people work at are a good fit for them and their company.  

 

Where do we go from here?  

That answer depends on the business. Many offices have embraced the need for a hub-and-spoke model of officing. It makes sense for many to have a central hub, one not quite as large as headquarters used to be. From there, different professional offices, spokes, can be opened, or just worked at by any office worker. These spokes can be anywhere. Additionally, they can be anything. A smaller office or subset of office space could be perfect. Or, simply home offices and local coffee shops might fit the bill.   

For new and small businesses however, companies far and wide are choosing spokes that provide a slightly different option. Hybrid offices. Instead of a more traditional hub-and-spoke, these many businesses don’t even require a hub anymore, and formal, stationary satellite offices don’t quite meet their needs either. Spoke offices are evolving further to be even more flexible.  

Hybrid spoke offices allow small business to work where they are and when is convenient to them, providing collaborative environments, private workspaces, and the much-needed IT infrastructure—but one they don’t have to manage. Hybrid spokes are sufficient to host an entire business, or just a subset of employees, depending upon the business. Then, for contractors who are already afforded the ability to determine where and when they work, spokes are also a perfect fit. They offer a change of scenery, and a much-needed social aspect that can be lacking for independent contractors. Utilizing a hybrid approach at a spoke office is where office workers want to be. 

 

Why does it matter? 

Spoke office models are proven successful to performance and productivity when offering this customizable level of hybrid working. This popular option including both working at home as well as at an office is what more employees and businesses are asking for.  

Businesses that were paying for empty real estate during the pandemic certainly realized the need for a better option. Leasing a large amount of real estate that may go unused does not make good business sense. In fact, not being tied to a lengthy and rigid lease, not only saves money, but also helps a business, giving them opportunity to scale and expand with much less expense and infrastructure. Providing the necessary computer equipment, desk space, and environment that fits the individual, not just the company, a spoke office has that infrastructure, and perhaps even more than you might ever use. Additionally, it should offer any other needed tools and services, such as simple office supplies, mail delivery, print or copy services, and even faxing—yes, some people still use faxing to communicate. Due to all of these benefits, it’s easy to see why a spoke office with a hybrid approach is so appealing.   

 

Hybrid workers and a sustainable work-life balance  

The owners of Spoke Coworking have long believed that a hybrid approach is not only beneficial to a company’s bottom line as it increases overall employee joy, productivity, and performance, but also helps employees sustain a better day-to-day, work-life balance. The hub-and-spoke hybrid model makes it easier to hire from more than one physical area, it reduces real estate commitments, and most importantly, empowers employees to make decisions about their own work-life balance. Some spokes, such as coworking spaces further enable employees to work in modern, professional and tech-centric offices, while providing reduced commutes, less ozone impact from driving, and more time for employees at home or wherever they want to be. The time that was previously spent on long commutes is being spent in more feel-good ways.  

Believing in and trusting workers to give them the choice in when they work where—there is simply no better reason to embrace the hub-and-spoke and hybrid models for office work. 

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