Harvard Business Review Provides View of Office of the Future
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- Harvard Business Review recently published an article entitled 4 Strategies for Building a Hybrid Workplace that Works. The article was authored jointly by Jim Keane, President and CEO of Steelcase, and Todd Heiser, a Principal and Co-Managing Director of the Chicago office of Gensler. Gensler is a large integrated architecture, design, planning, and consulting firm with 5,500 professionals in 49 offices and 16 countries.
- The authors begin by noting that “by all indications, the future of work is hybrid: 52% of U.S. workers would prefer a mix of working from home and the office [emphasis added], saying it has a positive impact on their ability to be creative, solve problems, and build relationships.”
- The worker preference is congruent with that of corporate leaders, 72% of whom (according to Steelcase’s global research) plan to offer a hybrid model. At the same time, only 13% of those leaders aver that they expect to decrease their real estate footprint in the short term (the next year).
- The authors caution that “getting hybrid right is hard” but opine that “a well-executed hybrid workplace can be a magnet that brings people together to work better than ever before.” They then offer four design approaches to executives to consider in creating their hybrid strategy:
- Braid the Digital and Physical Experience. To truncate the potential for remote workers to feel frustrated and disengaged, integrate physical spaces and technology with three concepts in mind: equity, engagement, and ease.
- Flip Enclosed and Open Spaces. Rethink the legacy open plan where meetings were in enclosed spaces and individual stations were open and dense.
- Shift from Fixed to Fluid. A hybrid future implies a more fluid workplace that can flex as needs change, thereby accelerating innovation, advancing the organization’s culture, and optimizing real estate.
- Balance “We” and “Me” Work. The pandemic caused leaders to conclude that the office is a place for collaborative work. The office to which people return must offer a better experience than what they have at home, which means having a mix of spaces for the types of work that need to get done.
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