FlexibleHub

Hub and Spoke Office Model: A guide to 2021’s workplace strategy

1 July 2021

There is no denying it – the way we work has drastically changed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. People have been introduced to working from home, and now it’s time to go back – or is it?

 

Many people are struggling with the thought of returning to the office from 9 to 5 every day, and as such, companies have to adjust and completely re-think their workplace strategy. 

 

While hub and spoke models aren’t exactly new to the world, their presence in the commercial real estate sector has grown tremendously over the past 15 months. 

 

Projections are showing that the industry, and especially models like the hub and spoke is here to stay and grow long-term.

What is the hub and spoke model?

The hub and spoke model is essentially de-centralizing the workforce. To date, the way people worked would typically be out of a centrally located office building, where they had to commute to every morning. 

 

The hub and spoke idea is to make it easier for team members to find a location to work from which is closer to where they live. This heavily cuts down on the time people spend on commuting, but even more notably is the economical benefits of a hub and spoke model.

 

Initiating and developing a hub and spoke model may seem incredibly tedious, costly, and irrelevant at first, but when you narrow down, look at the statistics, productivity levels, and overall performance, it is a highly lucrative workplace strategy.

 

“With everybody in the same building, decisions could be made quickly, departments would collaborate, and progress could be monitored. Such offices were often in prestigious central business districts, which meant commuting from the outer suburbs was all but essential for most employees.” – IWG plc, the world’s largest provider of flexible workspace

A real-world example of a hub and spoke office model

A model of what a hub and spoke setup can look like in London, UK

This company (in the media industry) was, before COVID-19, located a stone’s throw away from Liverpool Street Station – a true workers hub in London with transport links to the rest of the UK. 

 

This area initially seemed great because of its connectivity with the rest of London, but it didn’t take away the fact that employees had a steep commute – some upwards of 3 hours total per day.

 

The company had a team of 50, so their office in Liverpool Street had approximately 55 seats (to allow for extra space for new employees)

 

When implementing a hub and spoke model, the company decided to shut down the office and downscale to a 20-person suite in a serviced office in Liverpool Street

 

Looking at the data of where the employees live, the company then took up space in various suburban locations – Croydon, West London, North West London, Rotherham and other areas.

 

Beyond that, the company allowed employees to work at home 2 days per week, so naturally, their desk capacity requirements weren’t the same as before COVID-19. 

 

As such, with their new portfolio of flexible workspaces, they now have a total capacity of 40 desks bookable by their team members.

 

Additionally, all of these buildings have incredible break-out spaces, collaborative areas and much more making it easy to fit more people than their planned capacity.

 

The employees don’t only have access to one office but can also choose where they work. If life brings them to West London, they can pop into the location at any time. 

 

In this above-mentioned client study, commuting times have decreased by an average of 46%, and their total commercial real estate costs have decreased by 32%.

How to make hub-and-spoke a part of your company overnight

Implementing a hub and spoke model can be done in many ways – especially with the various services and offerings from flexible workspace providers and coworking spaces. 

 

The growth of the industry has also meant introducing products that make it easy for your team to go flexible – almost overnight.

 

WeWork, one of the most well-known providers of flexible workspace has recently introduced their “All Access” membership product. 

 

With this, you have instant access to all WeWork buildings with their app. In all major cities, WeWork has a rather large portfolio of options, which means employees can quickly pop in. 

 

WeWork has succeeded incredibly with their All Access product and is widely used by both small one-man bands to large enterprises. This article from WeWork shares how four enterprise companies are using the All Access product to introduce a more hub and spoke-friendly workplace strategy.

 

Another option is a business lounge/co-working membership with a provider like Regus. Regus is the largest provider of workspace, and with a membership, you can access 3000+ locations globally at any time. 

 

The Regus membership has been a popular choice and has even resulted in deals such as the recent deal with Standard Chartered. 

 

“The agreement with serviced office network IWG allows the London-based bank’s 95,000 employees access to 3,500 offices around the world for a trial period of 12 months. 

 

This will give them the option to work in more convenient locations closer to home while benefiting from office facilities.” – ThisIsMoney.co.uk 

Alternative ways to introduce flexible working in your company

With the growth of flexible working, you aren’t bound to a single provider when building a hub-and-spoke model for your business. Your situation may call for various requirements, and you have endless options to suit them. 

 

An example of a provider of hub-and-spoke working is Desana. This company allows you to instantly get access to co-working spaces from various providers spread across the globe. Your employees will download the Desana app and can book their workspace on demand.

 

As an employer, you are paying by the hour on a credit-based system. With the back-end tool, you can quickly draw data from the usage of workspace which can prove especially beneficial if you decide to build a more bespoke hub and spoke model going forward.

 

“Let’s face it, remote working had landed pre-COVID but now it is very much here to stay. To attract and retain the best talent, companies all over the world will need to make remote work part of their standard perk pack.” – blog post on Desana.io

 

Turn your own office into bookable desks for your team with Desana

Desana makes it incredibly simple to provide a hub and spoke model. Once you are signed up, you can even upload your current portfolio of office space and allow your team to book desks, now in your own office or with various providers worldwide.

The pros and cons of the hub and spoke workplace strategy

Reasons to introduce a hub-and-spoke workplace strategy
A survey conducted by Gensler in 2020 showed that only 12.0% wanted to work remotely full-time, while iQ Offices and JLL surveys reported 93% and 94% wanting a traditional office augmented with flexible working options. 

 

All surveys are pointing to the facts that people are interested in a more flexible working strategy compared to pre-covid setups, so in order to attract and retain talent, introducing flexible working is crucial.

 

The barrier of entry is, at this point, incredibly low, so for both short-term and long-term investments, a hub and spoke model can be an effective way to save money without going fully remote.

 

The challenges of a hub and spoke workplace
Creating a sense of cohesion is absolutely harder to do remotely than in person, which is why many companies seek specialist help from organizations that offer sophisticated scheduling technology. 

 

Many companies were not geared to work remotely but were forced to during COVID. 

 

Without the right tools at hand, hub and spoke working can be a challenge at best and impossible at worst. You need to be prepared, technically, to have your team work productively while not necessarily sitting next to each other. 

 

These problems have been drastically reduced because of the usage of platforms like Slack, Zoom and similar tools to conduct meetings and collaborate on projects.

Other articles by FlexibleHub

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