What the Heck is “Hybrid” Work?

The workplace changed forever when companies across the world sent their employees home to work at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last spring. Based on our conversations with local business leaders and employees, we know that employees want to maintain a more flexible work style even after the pandemic ends.

That’s why so many companies here in Oregon – and around the world – are following the lead of their employees and turning to a hybrid model approach. These companies plan to give employees the flexibility to work from home on individual tasks and be able to come into an office or shared workspace for meetings, collaboration sessions, and group projects when needed.

At CENTRL, we specialize in providing flexible workspaces for hybrid teams in Portland and across Oregon. That’s why we’re so excited to see leading companies in our area making a commitment to this approach as well.

We wanted to highlight a few of the most respected companies here in Oregon who are embracing the hybrid model and establishing best practices for providing flexibility for employees while remaining productive and connected as a company.


Who are they?
A firm with global reach, Gensler’s Portland office provides a wide range of architectural, design and consulting services.

How are they supporting a hybrid work model?
When the pandemic hit, Gensler sent their employees home to work. To figure out how to best reopen corporate offices, leaders conducted a survey of employees about how they wanted to work after the pandemic. Survey results showed that 52% of workers in the U.S. preferred a hybrid of office and at-home work.

The survey shaped Gensler’s future plans. Now, they intend to hold a meeting once a week in the office that all employees will attend in person. Their office will be open the rest of the week for staff who feel they can work better in the office or who need to come in for collaboration sessions.

And, according to Managing Director John Wix, another reason to continue to give employees the option of working from home is to improve the company’s ability to attract talent, as the flexibility of hybrid working becomes more of an expectation among prospective employees.

In their own words
“There’s no magic formula for the ‘office of the future,’ but we all feel strongly that the hybrid workplace is real and here to stay. How we continue to build workplace culture in this new paradigm is where the focus will be.” — John Wix, Gensler Managing Director (via Portland Business Journal)

Lane Powell PC

Who are they?
One of Portland’s most respected law firms, Lane Powell PC has 53 Portland-area attorneys, making it one of ten largest law firms in the area.

How are they supporting a hybrid work model?
Like most firms, Lane Powell PC sent their employees home to work at the start of the pandemic. While no timeline has been given to reopen, they do plan to support their own hybrid world model as they gradually return to their downtown Portland office. In fact, they recently renewed their lease for office space in the Moda Tower that they intend to redesign, representing a significant investment in their plans for implementing a hybrid work model.

In their own words
“Extending our lease at Moda Tower gives Lane Powell the opportunity to rethink how our office functions. Our operations during the pandemic demonstrated to us that we can be productive while working remotely, but we still value the benefits of in-person communication. Accordingly, our priority in the coming months will be to transform our space to embrace a hybrid work environment,” — Jeremy Bader, Lane Powell PC shareholder


Who are they?
One of CENTRL’s neighbors here in downtown Portland, Expensify is a software company that develops an expense management system for personal and business use.

How are they supporting a hybrid work model?
For Expensify, the shift towards hybrid work was happening prior to Covid, but the pandemic has accelerated the transition. This has meant a broader and faster adoption of remote work and adopting an inclusive environment, which is especially important for teams working in different time zones. It also means more reliance on tools like Slack, with discussions remaining open for 24 hours so everyone can have their voices heard. As for their workspace in Portland, they are being remodeled to create a more relaxed and open restaurant and café atmosphere to make their workspaces as comfortable as their employees’ home offices.

In their own words
“We’re taking advantage of this downtime for a heavy renovation of both of our offices. We’re totally committed to the future of offices because I think work from home is somewhere between a nuisance and a novelty but it’s not the dream. It’s the dream to have flexibility to work from home when you want to. It’s not the dream to be trapped at home. The offices of the future have to compete against the café. (You) have to compete against your house in order to create a better work environment.”— David Barrett CEO of Expensify (via Portland Business Journal)


These three local companies recognize that hybrid work is the future of work. And with so many businesses (large and small) here in Oregon turning to a hybrid approach, they know that employees will demand having more flexibility to choose where they work, when they work.

That’s why, as an established local provider of flexible workspace solutions, CENTRL can be a go-to resource for our local community of small businesses, entrepreneurs, and freelancers as they transition to the hybrid model.

While adapting to a new work style will always have its challenges, we see this moment the same way as these companies do — as a great opportunity to innovate and reinvent the way we work.