Work Your Way: Intereum Goes Hybrid
July 12, 2021
The meaning of our name, Intereum, translates to "the act of bringing people together” — that’s the common thread of what we’ve been doing for clients over the last 40 years by transforming the way they work, learn, and heal.
Today, work has changed because people have changed. This means we need to evolve the ways in which we approach bringing people together. We believe in supporting distributed or hybrid work models to foster connection, innovation, and wellbeing.
A hybrid work policy supports a blended workforce comprised of employees who work remotely and those who work from an office or central location. Most employees exercise autonomy in choosing from a broad array of options both within and beyond the office.
Post-pandemic, people have proved they can work independently at home. Mandatory in-office policies don't make sense for every worker. Providing flexibility and autonomy to employees can improve performance, efficacy, and build trust within an organization.
Intereum has a dynamic and innovative team — the variety in our roles and functions wasn't best served by an assigned work policy. In 2019, we shifted to a free address work model. This gave our workforce the ability to choose where they sit and work within the office on a given day.
As the world started to re-open this year, we took account of our floorplate utilization and reassessed our workplace strategy. Based on our findings, Intereum introduced a fully hybrid work policy — "Work Your Way" — to continue supporting the needs of our distributed workforce. Our lived experience with a variety of workplace strategies puts us in a unique position to provide real value to our customers.
Lead with Data
Our workplace shifts are no shot-in-the-dark solution. Data is a powerful tool and was key to informing our decisions. We studied our space utilization throughout the pandemic and used surveys to take account of employee preferences.
On average, 20% of our office seats are occupied. We see this percentage increasing daily, but prior to the pandemic, our average utilization was 40%. Based on employee feedback, we know that at peak numbers we will not exceed 40% occupancy. This informed our decision to scale back workstations and instead optimize our space to support the variety of activities our workers are executing and create a space that gives our people a reason to come in.
Is the Office Dead?
A Harvard Business School study shows that more than 81% of office workers do not see themselves returning to the office five days a week.
It's up to companies to create an environment that attracts their workers — the office must prove its value to employees in this new era of autonomy. According to Herman Miller, office design must focus on the functions that haven't been successfully supported during this work-from-home trial: establish and maintain social culture, support longer-duration team activities, and providing space for focused work. The right tools and furniture are key to making an equitable experience for office and remote workers.
By trusting employees to make choices based on their daily tasks and preferences—with support whether they choose to come into the office or work from home—Organizations are presented with an opportunity to optimize their real estate, lower costs, build trust with employees, and facilitate the social interactions that cannot be replicated virtually.
What does the future hold?
Tune in to Herman Miller's Looking Forward podcast, a weekly conversation with business leaders, architects, researchers, and innovators about the dynamics reshaping work.
We're Here to Help
The future of work is here, arriving more quickly than expected. We are ready to help navigate this evolution with insights, products, and services to help your people feel supported at work—wherever work happens.