The 10 Challenges We Have Had With Hybrid & Office Spaces

Danny Denhard
2 min readFeb 19, 2023

Dave Cairns asked a really important question on LinkedIn about the importance of the office, the size of the office and getting the most out of your people.

So I wrote up ten important challenges we have faced with Hybrid work and why it has caused many to return to the office and need help understanding the remote and hybrid work.

The 10

  1. Banks invested in real estate, real estate = offices, towns and cities are built around real estate = worst loop for big working style changes
  2. Offices have all been based on the same ~4 layouts and no customisation for your workspace away from perks = no design = no easy ways to be successful
  3. Proximity bias — those who I can see will be front and centre of my mind and I can police them, those I cannot, I won’t
  4. Many biases suggest WFH has too many distractions — not that the office is noisy and nowhere for deep work, small group discussion or deliberate collaboration
  5. Productivity is often calculated out per head (score or revenue) — this means its run by spreadsheet and formula and those who I cannot easily work out receive lower scores
  6. Working Styles Evolved At A Record Pace — No Evolution
  • 1920–2010 was one size fits all. In the office
  • 2010 — Present — Cloud tools and SaaS removed the need to always be around others. Async work could work.
  • 2012–2018 remote companies did well and started to tell their stories
    Engineers and devs worked remotely more often = high demand for engineers, and managers bowed to it — caused rules for some not all
    HR enabled managers discretion to keep high potential talent, causing more issues; this split the office and talent
  • 2020–2022 forced WFH experiment — many didn’t like it and they were senior (then people followed their lead to be savvy and survive) and had kids, pets etc — which meant defaulting back into the office ASAP
  • 2022-Present — Hybrid has had no work or investment in tools that caused hybrid to not work for all rather than change the approach

7. No hybrid playbook — no way for many companies to copy and paste from a large business & fear of messing up

8. CEOs are under the largest amounts of pressure and their way to bring people together around performance is under 1 (HQ) or 2–3 (local and satellite offices) roofs not many roofs = tough call no one likes but tough call nonetheless and then easier to let people go — Google layoffs hugely messed up

9. For all of those who had to WFH to GSD it was always frowned upon, rather than seeing the issue with the office — still seen as a negative (office basic issue)

10. No ownership of the office space and improving the environment for better collaboration — office managers weren’t tasked to understand the workspace and improve the space for best outputs and collaboration



Danny Denhard

Fixing the broken world of work through Focus The Strategy + Culture Consultancy. Ex Marketing & Growth Leader. Ex Crowdfunding business leader.