Repicturing Changing Office Spaces and Hybrid Working

Trends / Realness
Puneet Vikram Singh, Nature and Concept photographer,
Samuel Malave Jr
Sep 22, 2023
This desire for a perpetually hybrid workforce — is taking shape in the US. Why? Despite the return of business travel in the US, hybridity is crucial to employee satisfaction. According to Getty Images VisualGPS research, 75% of US consumers believe working from home allows for a better work‑life balance. Furthermore, 85% believe hybridity should be an option even after the pandemic is over. In recent months, there has been much chatter about the amount of free office space in big cities like New York.1 This amount of space, combined with the fact that over 70% of US consumers miss the social interactions of the office, creates an interesting recipe for brands trying to figure out how to visualize the state of working right now.

The solution might be found in expanding the definition of hybridity: it’s not just the method of work that’s hybrid, but the function of the work place itself. McKinsey predicts that employers and even city planners will have to rethink the overall purpose of their office space, considering potential uses outside of work.2 Business owners are starting to call Thursdays the new Fridays3 and companies like Expensify are beginning to take advantage of this shift by turning vacant office space into a full‑service bar surrounded by meeting rooms for productivity.4

Interestingly, when it comes to visualization of working, employers have been more functional in their visual choices. Among top technology visuals downloaded by Getty Images customers in 2022, 45% depict people working. Furthermore, of those visuals, 55% take place in an office, signaling interest on behalf of brands to show their employees being productive in the office.

Knowing that the office is still a central focus, but in ways different to pre‑pandemic, it’s important for brands to consider how to show office spaces with hybridity for employee inclusion.  What role can the office play beyond work‑related activities? Is it seen as a space for ideation, collaboration, wellbeing or socialising?  Are employees shown socializing or having recreational fun in the space? Are they visualized taking breaks from work to build connections with colleagues? Keeping in mind that hybridity shapes the way the workplace looks and how it is engaged with will be crucial as our collective relationship to work continues to evolve.
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