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The Future of Work is Hybrid!

Philipp Schullerus
23 Dec 2021

Why Swiss organizations must embrace an omni-workplace experience to succeed in a hybrid working world

Working models are needed to meet the increasing demand for greater flexibility and employee autonomy. Defining the right strategy for hybrid working is the key to success in the new normal – the dimensions of time and place need to be rethought.

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, was one of the very few who firmly believed in e-commerce around the turn of the millennium. What did the vast majority of retailers think about e-commerce? They were rather skeptical – the ‘real’ shopping experience in a traditional brick-and-mortar store could never be replaced by a webshop! Where are we 20 years later? We are in the age of the omni-channel shopping experience, which is reflected by an increase in e-commerce in the Swiss market. It goes without saying that consumers can decide from where, when and how they make their purchases.

What does this have to do with the Future of Work? We are at a similar inflection point today regarding the workplace of organizations. Until 2020, the business landscape in Switzerland was heavily dominated by a central, traditional office. People commuted to the office from Monday to Friday, their working hours were clearly defined and boarding a plane for a quick client meeting was completely normal.

However, the traditional office culture experienced a sudden turnaround in the first half of 2020. Companies sent employees to work from home from one day to another. Since then, a large part of the workforce has been working remotely. Is remote work better than commuting to the office every day?

Figure 1: Evolution of the Workspace

Our Future of Work study has shown that both the traditional office culture and working exclusively remotely have significant disadvantages.

The traditional office culture is extremely rigid – fixed working hours, high noise levels and long, avoidable commutes characterize everyday working life in a traditional setup.

Home-office must be better then, right?

Not necessarily. Our current report on hybrid working also depicts that remote working can impact well-being, due to difficulties to detach from work.

So, what’s the future of work?

The Future of Work is hybrid. Just like in retail – people want to emerge themselves into the Omni-Workplace Experience: work whenever, wherever and from whatever device. The obvious question now is – how can companies successfully develop a valuable Future of Work strategy?

Figure 2: Omni-Workspace Experience dimensions

The Future of Work is composed by three central elements: People, Space and Technology. With respect to people, a future-ready workplace strategy should lead to greater flexibility, and autonomy for employees.

An optimized workplace strategy also impacts the perception of space. The meaning of the physical office has changed. Conditions must be adapted so that employees can do their jobs as good as possible – regardless of where they work from.

The third central element of the Future of Work is Technology. The right Technology must be leveraged to design a personalized Omni-Workplace Experience.

Figure 3: Potential optimization levers for your Omni-Workspace Experience

While the exact definition of hybrid working varies from company to company, the consensus is that there will be no return to a 100% office work model in the foreseeable future – perhaps forever. In order to support organizations in facilitating a tailored Omni-Workplace Experience, we at Capgemini Invent developed a Future of Work Configurator that helps determine key success criteria and optimization factors (see potential optimization factors in figure 3). Our end-to-end approach and capabilities can support you at all stages of your hybrid working transformation.

Thanks to the Co-author Miriam Cramer for her contribution.

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Philipp Schullerus