Research on office re-openings and hybrid work adoption

As companies prepare to move beyond COVID, we’re researching how teams are thinking about transitioning to in-person, hybrid, or remote work.

This is an evergreen blog post that we’ll gradually update with our findings and links to research. For now, it’s just a list of resources. To add, drop me a note on Twitter.

Main ask: Fill out and share the Office Reopening Plans Survey

2 minutes:

Useful public reports

Initialized Capital: DATA Post-Pandemic Silicon Valley Isn’t A Place

    Post-pandemic, we expect to see the remote or decentralized share to nearly double to 36%.
    For companies with physical offices, two or three-day office work weeks will become the norm.

Lightspeed Venture Partners: When will business return to normal — and what will ‘normal’ look like?

    Employees will demand greater control.
    Flexibility will vary by job function.

Microsoft: The New Future of Work

    COVID-19 and the unintended consequences of the rapid, global shift toward remote work have contributed to imbalances in well-being and access to opportunity.

Savills North America Technology Practice Group: Q1 2021 COVID-19 Impacts Survey

    A majority of companies have allowed at least some employees to permanently relocate away from their previously designated office.
    A majority of companies expect to be back in the office by Q3 2021.

Gensler: US Workplace Survey 2020 Summer/Fall

    52% of U.S. Workers would prefer a hybrid model.

VOX EU: Working from home is revolutionising the UK labour market

    Post COVID, British employees want to retain WFH for about two days a week, but there is a huge variation in preferences. This is going to cause headaches for employers.

The case for virtual coworking: build a connected remote culture.

Regularly coworking with your hybrid or remote team can help you build the social cohesion that makes work feel less like work.

Here are the biggest reasons we think coworking is an effective way to create a close-knit remote culture:

1. It fosters casual conversations.

Building a connected remote culture is all about fostering 1:1 or small group organic conversations. Virtual coworking makes space for those conversations. When you spend time together outside of agenda-driven meetings, spontaneous chats naturally occur, as they would in an office.

2. It's more inclusive than scheduled social events.

It can be draining for introverts to have to participate in scheduled, purely social conversations. Coworking allows the team to spend time together and occasionally chat without having to constantly be "on," making it more inclusive for introverts and extroverts alike.

3. It's easy to say yes to.

Purely social events are important, but if your team is busy or on a tight deadline, it's tough to find the time for social chats without it feeling like an obligation. Coworking is much easier to get your team onboard with because it doesn't take time away from getting work done.

4. It improves remote collaboration.

Coworking can lead to unblocking and shorter feedback loops. Quick questions get answered easily and in the moment, without a having to schedule a meeting or go back-and-forth in messages.

5. It's scalable.

Coworking works for teams of all sizes and is a great way to scale your remote culture as your team grows. It's helpful to create opportunities for teammates from different functions to get to know one another.

6. It creates shared momentum.

The feeling of togetherness is motivating!

Get started with virtual coworking: choose the type most aligned with your priorities.

It takes intentionality to make virtual coworking feel natural and energizing enough to stick—it's not as simple as leaving a Zoom call open all day.

Here are a few of the ways we've set coworking up for our team. We recommend choosing one to start with. If it works, make it routine and experiment with other types from there.

Best practices for virtual coworking.

Keep group sizes small.

Limit your coworking sessions to 4-6 people to keep things from getting distracting and help make introverted teammates comfortable chatting.

Signal boost coworking.

Set a norm of letting the entire team know when you're hopping into a coworking room or session.

Make it routine.

Once you've figured out what kind of coworking works for your team, make it a regular, opt-in event. Set up a recurring calendar event to do it at the same time each week to maximize the impact.

Set expectations ahead of time.

When you're first introducing coworking to your team, share what you're imagining in your calendar invite and at the top of each session to get everyone on the same page. For example:

Let's try virtual coworking! We'll work independently on our own projects with our cameras off, but we'll share space and listen to music together — like we might work side-by-side at the office.

Listen to music together.

Play music while you work to create a shared environment and add a little bit of personality to your coworking session.

Set up Coworking Rooms in Remotion.

Most of the above is doable with any video chat app, but much easier with Remotion—which we designed with a lightweight, smooth coworking experience in mind. Easily set up Remotion rooms that your teammates can hop into for different styles of coworking.

We'd love to hear how coworking goes for you, or what practices you've found helpful on your team — let us know @remotionco on Twitter.

Want to try coworking in Remotion, our virtual office? Get free access today.