COVID-19 is here for some time now, changing life as we know it. One of the reminders of its lingering impact is our daily work routine with many employees still working from home. Here’s how it affects businesses all over the world and why the hub and spoke model might be the way forward for larger businesses.
What’s the hub and spoke office model?
Pioneered in the 1980s, the Hub and Spoke definition initially stems from the airport industry. In its essence, the term refers to flights being sent to a central “hub” destination located between airports, instead of sending half-empty planes straight to smaller “hub and spoke” airports. Thus, the hub airport turned into a connecting location: for example, the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris.
The model expanded to various industries beyond aviation, including property and project management, product logistics, and others. When it comes to models of office work, “hub and spoke” means a more flexible working style as opposed to the traditional headquarter (HQ) model. In other words, businesses don’t rely only on a single main HQ. They allow their employees to work both from the head office and the “hub and spoke” offices, which might be dispersed in different locations throughout the city. A very practical and balanced work model, which can benefit big companies and allow them to ensure the safe return of their employees during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
Why not remote work-only?
While most workers value the chance to have remote work options since the start of the pandemic, 35% say their ability to collaborate and their level of engagement have decreased, according to a recent report by KPMG. Furthermore, 77% of respondents report increased job demands, and nearly half (49%) say their mental health has declined.
The bottom line? Whereas many big companies like Twitter, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft have embraced the WFH shift in times of pandemic, the model must evolve to keep employees sane and productive.
For instance, Google’s internal data measuring productivity during the coronavirus shutdowns has shed light on a worrisome trend: engineers are less productive working from home, especially newly hired ones. Moreover, Netflix’s founder Reed Hastings has also pointed out the lack of interpersonal communication as a major disadvantage from remote work, as quoted by BBC:
“Not being able to get together in person, particularly internationally, is a pure negative.”
The social aspect
Humans are social beings. Stuck at home, many workers suffer from isolation and lack of variety, admitting they miss the personal interaction with their colleagues.
Our first-hand experience at Campus X confirms that. After surveying our members and conversing on what they missed the most during the lockdown, we kept getting the same response – interaction with like-minded people.
“I know from first-hand experience that working from home can get really, really lonely. Therefore, an authentic, real-life social connection with a community of like-minded people is extremely important to me as it keeps me sane and productive,” comments Tina Kesova, Marketing Director at Codeable, and a Campus X member.
Experts like the company advisor Justin Bedecarre sums it up in this way:
“Working from home is not for everyone. A lot of it people miss each other, and the energy of having everyone together.”
Back to the office, but not the one we know
Many businesses consider a safe return to the physical office. Yet, these are not the offices we know from the times before COVID-19. The days of the HQ-centric model are numbered due to both economical and safety reasons.
Already under financial pressure, leaders are looking for ways out of long-term leases and eyeing flexible office alternatives, where everything is taken care of (see 7 benefits of flexible serviced offices).
In fact, many companies around the world are shifting from major “big city-center headquarters” to a hub and spoke model with smaller satellite offices in different locations. This view is echoed by chief executives of big organizations like Barclays and WPP, among others, who recently announced they would look at more de-centralized approaches of staff distribution.
“To reduce the number of employees working onsite at HQs, companies can embrace satellite spaces, as they provide shorter and private commute paths, remain within regulatory compliance, and are flexible enough to address the company’s needs on a weekly or monthly basis. Such an approach also hedges the risk of complete company close-downs,”comments Campus X’s Co-Founder and CEO Boyko Iaramov.
Putting safety first
The ongoing global health pandemic requires company leaders to implement various safety measures, which involve a serious investment of time and resources. By working from a serviced office, which complies with the highest standards of safety, companies can mitigate risks and focus on their business, while operators take care of all the hassle.
At Campus X, we’re going far and beyond all health regulations to ensure maximum safety for our community. From rigorous cleaning with a focus on high-touch areas through weekly PCR tests onsite to the highest class of UVC lamps and air purifiers to safely disinfect the air. We do everything within our power to protect our members so that they can collaborate, innovate, and drive their businesses forward without worrying about the required safety measures.
Kristiana Hadjlarska is an HR & Recruitment Officer at bunq (a revolutionary Dutch bank and a Campus X member) and responsible for transferring their unique culture to Bulgaria. Here’s what she shares:
“The biggest challenges we have faced as a growing team is scaling up and keeping the team spirit high during the lockdown. For instance, we had to continue hiring but also ensure the safety of our team. Campus X equipped the entire building with top-notch UVC lamps and the highest-class of air purifiers. The on-site PCR pool testing also ensured peace of mind and allowed us to continue our operations.”
Redefining traditional work models
So, what does the future hold? Most experts agree that hybrid WFH/office and hub and spoke models will be the way forward.
Serviced workspaces offered in flexible and safe configurations seem like the best and most cost-effective option in the current environment. And employees appreciate the freedom and flexibility of being able to work from a safe office space closer to their homes. Staying sane, productive, and connected during COVID-19 and beyond.
Seeking a safe serviced office for you and your team? Learn more and try us for free.