The Traditional Office Has Been Murdered

How hybrid workplaces have killed the old way of doing business



Mark DiMattei


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By this point in time, no one should be astounded by the idea of a remote work environment. The COVID-19 pandemic has proven that businesses can still operate without people physically in the office. And while there are different dangers to remote work (e.g., less stringent network security or limitations of what work can be produced off-site), remote work environments are no better or worse than coming into the office.


The issue at hand is that many companies are starting to remove the option of remote working—either by cutting days or having forced returns to the office (RTO)—often at the behest of upper management. While many C-level executives are looking at the overhead costs of rent and supplies for an office location, others are looking to regain a better control over the day-to-day of their companies—being able to better understand project timelines and workloads through in-person interactions. Still others are using forced RTO as retaliation for slights like quiet quitting and coffee badging.


And yet, remote or hybrid work (i.e., the ability to split time between the office and home) environments are often seen as a boon by employees:

  • They allow for a greater life/work balance—especially for those who need a more flexible schedule.
  • They can reduce stress induced by traffic and commuting to the office.
  • They have been shown to increase productivity and reduce the number of sick days taken.
  • They are also a free perk that a company can provide, offering something that people want that doesn’t have any cost associated with it (unlike additional PTO or office socializing events).


Still, companies appear to be reaching a fork in the road. The higher-ups want everyone back in their cubicles while the employees want to be able to come in when necessary and work from home when it’s not…What are companies to do?


Hybrid Office Best Practices

Keypoint Intelligence has been studying the effects of hybrid work environments for a while now. While we can’t say one way or another which one is the best, we can offer insight into how to make the most out of hybrid workplaces. According to our most recent studies on the subject, companies that offer flexible work environments are growing at a faster rate than those who don’t. Around a quarter of knowledge workers reported they are able to work from home to some degree while a slightly smaller percentage are doing so full-time.


Other demographics of hybrid workers include:

  • Younger employees are the most likely to be working remotely at some point during the week.
  • Small to medium-sized companies are the most likely to offer hybrid work environments.
  • The average days per week that employees work from home is around 2.5 days, with the other days in the office.


This means that there is a decent population of workers who can benefit from digital solutions and cloud computing to help them connect to the network or complete their tasks regardless of location. In our same Future of Work report, most of the respondents to our survey stated that they were increasing digital processes or investing in new technology to help foster hybrid working.



On average, businesses have digitized almost half of their business processes in the last two years—with larger companies reporting greater amounts of automation than their smaller counterparts. That said, employees at businesses of all sizes believe that their company will continue to make significant investments in digital technology with artificial intelligence being used to help with the automation process as part of a “second wave” of digitalization.


Keypoint Intelligence Opinion

Hybrid work environments are here to stay for some companies, but why should that matter? C-level executives are able to establish firm RTO policies as they wish, and many companies are starting to utilize them as part of their “quiet cutting” campaigns…that is, using RTO as a means of unofficial layoffs to reduce employee-based costs and remove those who are only collecting a paycheck.


The problem is that these forced returns to the office for five days a week are often getting rid of a company’s top employees. And while being able to communicate in person and not wasting office space are both valuable concepts for a business, they mean nothing if a company’s turnover rates are such that they are forced to perpetually rehire for positions while struggling to maintain middle management and senior staff.


Rather than trying to force us all back as a society to pre-pandemic work environments where we sat in traffic twice a day for five days a week so we can spend eight hours in a cubicle or office, companies would be best suited to find a hybrid work policy that best meets their needs. While newer employees may benefit from time spent in an office setting, veteran staff should be allowed to come and go as they need to get their work done without feeling like their bosses are yoking them to a desk. If connectivity is a concern, there are many options for cloud computing and networks that can help protect sensitive data and allow employees to access content stored digitally in centralized locations.


Ultimately, remote work environments are going to be an option for companies as either offers for fully-remote or splitting time between the home and office. You can choose to adopt them in hopes of retaining staff and offering a cheap boon to draw in more potential employees, or ignore them and watch as your trained staff drift to your competitors. Regardless, the old way of doing work is gone.


The king is dead. Long live the king.


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