The pandemic opened our eyes to what’s possible. The harshness of the last two years made us question the ways of working and leading our lives. What would have been unbelievable a mere two and a half years ago, remote work is now a proven success. There are movements for 4-day workweeks, flexibility—as you’re empowered with the self-autonomy to determine where and when you work—relocating to lower cost states, or becoming a digital nomad living the life in some far off exotic location.
With estimates that nearly half of the working population will be remote or on a hybrid program—three days in the office and two at home or wherever—it’s time to reimagine the office. With only a relatively small percentage of people going into an office setting on any one particular day, it’s clearly a huge waste of money for the companies. Real estate prices in places such as New York and San Francisco are ridiculously expensive. With a reinvention of the office, businesses can save a fortune. If you’re stuck in a long term lease, it makes sense to better utilize the space. While you’re at it, might as well enact some dramatic changes.
One suggestion is retrofitting the office to feel like a high-end boutique hotel or posh private club. It should be comfortable and cozy, and not too stuffy or uptight. Start with getting rid of the cubicle farms that only serve to demoralize and dehumanize workers. Repurpose this open space for important meetings, training sessions, special events, and socializing. Put aside room to set-up extra large video screens so that people who decide to come into the office can effectively communicate with a distributed workforce.
Wouldn’t it be nice to go into an office that offers comfortable, cushy overstuffed chairs and plush couches. Artwork decorates the walls, including pieces made by the employees’ young children. There are refrigerators and shelves stocked with food, fine wine, beer or Kombucha, depending upon your taste—along with a kid’s great test grade tapped to the door. Rooms set aside to have some breakfast and lunch that’s delivered by DoorDash or catered in for special occasions.
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Call ahead for a hot desk which will be setup for you along with answering all the Covid-19 related protocol questions. It could be 24-7, seven days a week. People can come in when it’s best for them. They could also set-up group visits.
Reserve certain days for remote workers and others who want to get out of their apartments and homes to see their coworkers. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. After so much time has elapsed, even the guy who drove you crazy, now you look forward to seeing him in person again.
There will be a place for guest speakers to come and offer insights on topics germane to the company and its mission. It doesn’t always have to be serious, there could be motivational speakers and other guests that add value to the organization. The events will entice people to come into the office and socialize, enhancing the spirit of the company.
The lack of executive suites makes everyone from the new intern to the CEO mingle together in a low-stress, comfortable environment. The mix of levels and divisions is important as people will gain better insights to what others are doing and working on. Serendipitous encounters can lead to productivity.
If the company wants to take it to the next level, install a coffee bar, fitness center, yoga studio, childcare facilities for working parents, gameroom, and a place to try out cool new employee-connecting technologies.