No doubt, one of the most valuable understandings we’ve gleaned over the past 2 years is that we do, in fact, need the office. It gives us people and variety. Without enough of either, work suffers, and mental well-being declines. Yet employees across the board want the freedom to work from home roughly 2-3 days a week for good. Hence the broad consensus. Hybrid is the future.

Naturally, the success of hybrid working hinges on the office’s effectiveness.

To facilitate hybrid working, the office must first of all be flexible – that is, outfitted with mobile furniture that makes it easy to adapt. Second, it must foster autonomy – it must give employees a level of control on par with the level of control they enjoyed at home. Otherwise, people will be less than thrilled about returning. And third, it must have terrific meeting spaces that accommodate every social work function the office is responsible for in a hybrid world.

Perfectly, work pods enable all three of these essentials.

#1. The hybrid office must be flexibly designed for quick adjustments

If there’s one thing that 2020 showed us, it’s that everything can change in a week. Moving forward, how can we be poised for this change? Ready for the unexpected?

The office can assist. Furnished with mobile dividers, pods, booths, and other flexible solutions, it’s responsive – an adaptable asset that can be transformed to support new needs as quickly as they emerge. Such flexibility is invaluable since the sole known in our current world is change. And flexibility responds to change.

HushMeet.L is suited for change. A modular meeting booth that can be expanded or scaled back by modules to host between 4-6 people. Want to make your workplace more accessible, too? Opt for the ADA-compliant version of this pod: hushAccess.L

Concretely, what does a flexible office look like? Open benching at shared workspaces is configurable and can be scaled up or down to seat varying occupancies. Sit-stand, too, catering to individual employee preferences (see hushWork.sit&stand). Phone booths like hushPhone are on wheels allowing for frequent adjustment of the layout. Modular meeting booths like hushMeet.L can be expanded or scaled back by modules and retrofitted to facilitate the latest meeting needs. Ancillary furniture is lightweight and/or stackable for teams to set up makeshift breakout spaces at ease. Portable, multifunctional dividers like hushWall sit ready for random use.

These and such user-friendly furnishings make the gears of an effective hybrid office because they are all highly versatile.

The hushWall portable space divider. Customize either side with standard felt paneling, modified felt paneling (featuring a place to mount a TV bracket), or a whiteboard to maximize its usefulness.

In our opinion, pods deserve their own highlight here because their flexibility is next-level. They’re a relatively new breed of office furniture that’s quickly catching on to satisfy soaring employee demand for privacy and good acoustics. Robert Korpacki, Product Manager at Hushoffice, lends Pods are flexible in numerous helpful ways. They’re compact, delivering a ton of function within minimal space. They’re mobile, too, a breeze to move around the floor, making the layout wonderfully changeable. And because they’re tall, roughly 7-8 feet, in addition to serving as freestanding work and meeting rooms, they serve to divide space, like big partitions.

The hushPhone mobile office call booth.

An impeccable call environment at-hand, ensuring you'll be able to pick up (and tune in) by the 4th ring every time.

#2. The hybrid office must foster employee autonomy

A chief reason flexibility works is because a flexible office can be easily modified. Employees are thus empowered to tweak their work environment as they please. They enjoy more autonomy – the holy grail of office design for all the right reasons (proven to boost job satisfaction, well-being, and productivity). Employees who have autonomy have the means to work when, where, and how they work best. So they work better. And the workforce expects it now more than ever, having gotten accustomed to a lot of it at home. Thus we believe the office must, secondly, support autonomy in order to make hybrid a success.

The hushWork.sit&stand work booth features a height-adjustable desk, giving employees more control over their workflow.

Here, too, simple fixes like space dividers and rolling whiteboards satisfy. They let employees fashion temporary huddle spaces and focus hubs as needed. Minor policy adjustments like slackening the dress code, implementing flexible work hours, and scheduling regular breaks can also promote autonomy.

And, of course, office pods. They offer an awesome amount of autonomy. They’re acoustically perfect, noise-free and sound-dampening, like miniature sanctuaries from office commotion. Employees can retreat in a pod for a meeting, for concentration, or for a short and sweet sensory break whenever need be. By giving your team such quiet, calm, restorative spaces, you give them more command over their mental bandwidth as they return to the office.

The hushMeet 4-person office meeting pod is a serene meeting space where even the most introverted shine.

People new to the pod concept often wonder, are they isolating? The answer: not a bit. On their user experience, Robert Korpacki, Product Manager from Hushoffice team clarifies: Though they’re contained environments, pods are pleasant, not alienating. They’re spacious and well-ventilated. Their built-in furniture is ergonomically shaped for comfort through long tasks and meetings. Their lighting can be brightened or dimmed for the setting easiest on the eyes. Two glass panels to the right and left offer a felt connection to your team outside. So you don’t feel uncomfortably cut off from peers in a pod but rather nicely separated in a personal, controllable space.

#3. The hybrid office must be complete with terrific meeting spaces

Private one-on-ones. Executive level conferences. Client kick-off video calls. Small team progress checks. Workshops and innovation sessions. To be effective, today’s office must accommodate the typical scope of hybrid meeting needs by providing a robust range of meeting spaces.

The hushHybrid video conferencing booth is a must-have for hybrid teams on open layouts. Enclosed and acoustically excellent. Super comfortable, with video call LED light strips — the function needed for productive calls.

The #1 mark of a terrific meeting space? Professional acoustics. Is the space quiet? Free of office floor noise? Does it soundproof or contain noise within, giving users speech privacy? Does it protect private and classified discussions? Note that soundproofing goes hand in hand with privacy.

For “sonic” inspiration, check out the hushPhone office call booth. You’ll see how one booth can take every sales call to the next level by means of cutting-edge speech privacy and intelligibility. It also eliminates bothersome halfalogues from the floor for good, making the workplace more productive for everyone.

Pods are becoming a popular solution for hybrid spaces because they greatly reduce open office distractions. They block out sound and visual activity from the floor for the user while simultaneously insulating the user’s sound made inside, preventing it from seeping out. This reduces noise for all. They’re peaceful, not starkly quiet, as they allow a target level of 40 decibels from the open floor to penetrate their interior. This decibel level is proven to be the apt volume for focus – fine engineering is behind it offers Mateusz Barczyk, Senior Brand Manager on the acoustics of Hushoffice pods.

When you’re in a pod, floor chitchat is heard as a faint, diffuse murmur. And at the same time, your own speech is soundproofed, safe from being overheard.

A complete lineup of Hushoffice pods give rise to the conversations, collaboration, and team meetings that drive hybrid working. All are engineered to the Class B standard per ISO 23351-1:2020 for guaranteed speech privacy. All are flexibly designed. All bolster employee autonomy. And each one serves a distinct social work function typical in a hybrid work world.

Have questions? Leave us a note or catch us at NeoCon June 13th-15th :) We’ll be showcasing hushHybrid, hushPhone, hushMeet, hushAccess.L (the ADA-compliant version of hushMeet.L), and hushWall ​​on the 7th floor at booth 7-7046 for the duration of the fair.