Flexibility + Communication Key to Hybrid Workplace
It’s difficult to believe — yet eerily easy to forget — that nearly two years have passed since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout that time, Hubbell Realty Company has had to adjust not only the way it does business with trade partners, customers and stakeholders but also how to adapt to best suit the hundreds of company associates.
Today, most of the associates are in the West Des Moines-based office or on-site at various projects or properties a minimum of three days per week with the option of up to two days of work-from-home, or telecommuting.
According to CBRE 2022 Office/Occupier research the average U.S. office employee will spend 24% less time working in the office, and their 2021 Occupier Sentiment Survey revealed that 87% of large companies plan to adopt a hybrid work approach.
If an associate can effectively, productively and successfully work from home within the parameters of that given position, a flexible telecommuting schedule is a yes from Hubbell.
But that wasn’t the case when you rewind to April of 2020.
Moving Towards a Hybrid Workplace
The corporate offices were suddenly closed with all associates telecommuting — heavily relying on technology. The on-site property teams were no longer seeing customers or residents in-person — phone calls, emails, texts and virtual meetings proved the most beneficial. The construction, homebuilding and development projects moved forward with a limited number of construction tradespeople allowed in one space at any time, always requiring proper PPE protection.
The Hubbell team quickly redefined the words “efficiency,” “communication” and “teamwork.” The elasticity to complete routine tasks became commonplace — hold a meeting with pertinent team members, virtually present to city councils, create brand awareness for a new project in the market and communicating policies — for the more than 10,000 people who call our apartment communities and residential neighborhoods home.
On a company-wide scale, Hubbell IT teams quickly worked to establish literal home bases for associates able to telecommute — laptops, more efficient team and Sharefile platforms — expanding the current technology years in advance in a matter of months. The marketing and communications team paired with human resources to create a brand-new internal website (intranet) to send daily updates on the status of our company, the region and statewide COVID-19 changes. With the help of a business continuity team that met multiple times per week, Hubbell, which once operated 100% in person, five days a week, was operating remotely.
Indigo Living apartment teams took to FaceTime, Facebook or Instagram lives and self-guided tours all while managing to keep leasing activity at or above 90%.
Hubbell Home superintendents and sales agents relied on self-guided and virtual tours, phone and email updates with photos and rotations through every stage of homes — from construction updates, home closings and tours of available products.
Fast forward to today and many of those telecommute processes continue to still prove successful and they’re also proving to be a massive workplace draw. One of the inevitable questions applicants, from Iowa or out-of-state, ask is, “Is there an opportunity to work from home?”
The Hubbell office-base is still a well-functioning space where visitors (who are now allowed) can find booked conference rooms, bustling kitchen facilities and updated wellness initiatives well underway. Today, the in-office time is meant for meaningful collaboration and connection with fellow associates while the telecommute time is meant for productive, focused progress from the comforts of home. Communication, though, never waivers.
A hybrid workplace is inevitably part of Hubbell’s future as it is with so many other Greater Des Moines (DSM) companies across the region.
Count on the Greater Des Moines Partnership for economic recovery information and business and industry recommendations as the region moves forward from the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about current impacts and future trends from the DSM Forward playbooks here.
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