Because few things are more fun than coining or finding a phrase (preferably with a hyphen) for an already-existing cultural phenomenon or shift, we have stumbled across a new one: the hybrid workplace.
Start Times Are Flexible.
Lacking a hyphen but intriguing nonetheless, the term appeared in a CNN Money article examining the integration of the “virtual and physical work and space.” According to the author, these new workplaces—hello, internet companies!—“provide a mix of enclosed and open work spaces that are available for users to occupy on an as-needed basis. Companies cited as using such as model include west-coast Intel and Cisco, which are repainting the walls left standing with gusto. Both the author and the New York Times agree that the traditional workplace is becoming less productive, and that innovations will continue to maximize output.
What Comes After Hybrid?
Certainly, the open spaces and bright colors (we have two orange walls ourselves) of a hybrid workplace are appealing. But it seems that the hybrid workplace will be decentralized as well as progressive. Thanks to city-wide wi-fi, fewer and fewer people are leaving work at the office and the figurative workplace has expanded to include homes, sidewalks, and many a Starbucks. Of course, companies that rely on in-person contact with their customers will need some sort of hub, but how long before an actual address becomes a URL for a webcam? Nowadays, we can even open bank accounts online by swiping our credit cards. Is hybridizing the workplace just the first step on phasing it out completely?