Different Workspaces for Different Hybrid Strategies: What Suits You Best?

Tushar Agarwal, Co-founder and CEO
Tushar Agarwal, Co-founder and CEO|

“Hybrid working” has become the mainstream way most businesses work — especially in the UK and the US.

Yet, adopting a hybrid work strategy will vary significantly across businesses, greatly impacting their office space costs.

At Hubble, we’ve observed customers and the broader market adopting hybrid strategies in three distinct categories: set-day hybrid, time-based hybrid, and preference-based hybrid.

In this blog, I explore what differentiates each hybrid work strategy, highlighting its advantages and disadvantages to help you make the most cost-effective choice.

What are the definitions of each?

First thing’s first, let’s briefly explain the definition for each hybrid work strategy:

Set-day hybrid

The first approach, known as “set-day” hybrid or structured hybrid, is when the company designates specific days for employees to be present in the office.

They’re essentially saying we want you to come into the office on these particular days of the week — whether that’s Tuesdays and Thursdays or Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

Time-based hybrid (set days per week)

The second type of hybrid working is known as “time-based” hybrid or “set-days per week”. This is where a company asks employees to work from the office for a set number of days per week, but the days aren’t pre-determined.

In other words, employees must work a set number of office days per week but they have flexibility to choose the specific days. This could be three times a week or 6 days per month.

Preference-based hybrid (employee-choice)

The third (and most flexible!) hybrid working solution is known as “preference-based” hybrid or “employee-choice”.

In this arrangement, employees enjoy full autonomy and control over their work schedules. Companies essentially provide an office space but leave it up to individual employees to decide when they come in.

How does each hybrid solution impact office spend?

Each hybrid working strategy has a different impact on how much you’re spending on office space, and how much is really being wasted by empty desks. Below, we unpack what these are:

Set-day hybrid

So, with a set-day hybrid strategy, you ask your employees to come in on particular days of the week. With this setup, renting a part-time office is a no-brainer.

This is because you only use the office on the required days. So, if your team only come in on Tuesdays and Thursdays, there’s no risk of paying for underused desks on the other days.

Instead, you’ll have maximum utilisation on the days you pay for, and your team benefits from a regular rhythm of collaboration and team bonding.

What’s more, your company also benefits from significant savings on office space. In fact, we managed to save £129k per year by moving to a part-time office!

Hubble was the first flexible workspace platform to bring part-time offices to London. Since then, over 100 companies have decided it’s the right office for them, helping to simplify hybrid working, set expectations, and make big savings.

Time-based hybrid (Set-days per week)

With a time-based hybrid strategy, employees are required to work from the office for a set number of days per week, but they have the freedom to choose which specific days to come in.

With this setup, it makes sense to rent a full-time office. You need to have a traditional office that you’re paying for five days a week because you can’t predict when people are going to come in.

For some companies, this strategy works well. They enjoy the option of always having an office available and the benefits of letting employees figure out whenever they want to come in.

However, other companies may see a hit in desk utilisation. There may be times when attendance surges and times when there’s hardly anyone there, leading to wasted spend.

If you’re a business with this hybrid work strategy and are worried about how much money you’re losing in empty office space, moving to a structured, set-day hybrid strategy may make sense.

Here, you can open up the office for two or three days per week, and tell your team exactly what days the office will be available for them to use — eliminating the risk of “empty desk syndrome”.

Preference-based hybrid (Employee choice)

With a preference-based hybrid strategy, companies will typically have an office available 24/7. The company covers the cost, leaving it up to the team to decide if and when they use it.

While this strategy is super employee-friendly, it can also backfire with respect to wasted spend. For example, employees may waste time and money commuting to the office to find no one there.

For employers, the risk of paying for unused desks also increases. You can’t predict how often employees will use the office, so this is where we see “empty desk syndrome” happening the most.

Again, an “employee-choice” hybrid strategy definitely works for some companies. But if you’d like to reduce wasted spending, one option is to move to the structured, set-day model where you only pay for the space you use.

How do you decide which hybrid strategy to choose?

So, how do you determine which hybrid work strategy is best for your business?

One way you can do this is by looking at office attendance data. This is what we did. At Hubble, we had an “employee-choice” hybrid strategy where people could work from anywhere.

But before making a big strategy change, we rolled out an employee survey and used the data to help guide our decision.

After examining office attendance patterns on various days, we concluded that Tuesdays and Thursdays were the most popular days for employees to come into the office — with 60% of the company being regular office users on these days.

This led us to rent a part-time office for our team, but only at 60% capacity. If one day ends up being busier, there’s plenty of additional breakout space for the team to use—free of charge.

We also give our whole team access to Hubble On-Demand, where employees can access coworking spaces, private day offices, and meeting rooms in locations convenient to them.

With these two products, we’ve eliminated wasted office spend and given our teams the flexibility to work from top-quality office spaces whenever needed.

Final thoughts…

Hopefully, this has provided insight into how various types of hybrid working can influence your office spend.

The key takeaway is the importance of adopting a structured approach. For instance:

  • Alignment of expectations between employees improves.
  • The office experience enhances for your team.
  • Significant cost savings become achievable.

How Hubble can help

Hubble helps businesses give their teams great places to work. Whether your setup is hybrid, remote, or fully office-based, our flexible workspace platform can optimise your strategy by offering a range of workspace solutions that suits your needs:

  • Full-Time Offices: Our expert advisors will help handle your search and negotiate the best rates on your behalf, leveraging our strong relationships with workspace providers.
  • Part-Time Offices: Enjoy significant savings while retaining the benefits of in-person collaboration with your own office space for 1-3 days per week.
  • Hubble On-Demand: Give your team members access to thousands of on-demand workspaces to work and meet, helping you to save costs while encouraging collaboration.

Introducing: Part-time Offices

Your very own office 1-3 days per week. Save up to 75% compared to a full-time office.

Learn More

Prefer to chat? Get in touch with our team of expert advisors:

Hubble Advisor
Hubble Advisor
Hubble Advisor

+44 20 3966 6804