Harvard Business Review Provides View of Office of the Future



KEY POINTS
  • 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:
  1. 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.
  2. Flip Enclosed and Open Spaces. Rethink the legacy open plan where meetings were in enclosed spaces and individual stations were open and dense.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

CHART

OPERATING STATISTICS $(MM); Except EPS

DISCLOSURES

Water Tower Research (“WTR”) is a professional publisher of investment research reports on public companies and, to a lesser extent, private firms (“the Companies”). WTR provides investor-focused content and digital distribution strategies designed to help companies communicate with investors.

WTR is not a registered investment adviser or a broker/dealer nor does WTR provide investment banking services. WTR operates as an exempt investment adviser under the so called “publishers’ exemption” from the definition of investment adviser under Section 202(a)(11) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. WTR does not provide investment ratings / recommendations or price targets on the companies it reports on. Readers are advised that the research reports are published and provided solely for informational purposes and should not be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy securities or the rendering of investment advice. The information p...