“How can we bring people back to the office?” has been the question on the minds of workplace teams everywhere. Perhaps it’s a question that reflects an outdated mindset on the built environment and what employees want.
Instead, think beyond the walls of the office, suggests Dror Poleg, author of Rethinking Real Estate.
“The office of the future is not a place,” he says. “It’s a network of locations that enable people to do whatever it is that they need to do at that moment to be productive and happy.”
And what people need can vary greaty. Perhaps it’s to record an interview, or podcast. Perhaps it’s to socialize with colleagues or to work quietly. Perhaps it’s to impress customers.
“All of these things are not [happening in] a single place,” Poleg says.
So what do workplace leaders do to offer employees the experiences they need and want?
Poleg suggests that rather than expanding your company’s real estate footprint to accommodate new needs, look to the community. What resources already exist in the city that employees can take advantage of?
Try a cafe for employee socializing or a recording studio for podcast production. A coworking space could provide workers with a shorter, more pleasant commute than coming into the office. There are existing spaces in your area that can be incorporated into the “office” to provide a wider range of resources and environments, making your company more attractive to workers.
“A lot of employers and landlords are saying, ‘’Yes, we’re going to bring hospitality into the office,’” Poleg says. “But instead of adding some little token things that try to make the office more like a restaurant…if your employees want to go and hang out at a restaurant, let them go hang out in the restaurant.”