Designing the Hybrid Office: From Workplace to “Culture Space” | Harvard Business Review

Leadership & Culture

Last week I shared a report by Deloitte containing a section on how the physical workplace will serve a new role. It argued that the office will no longer be a default place of work for everyone but will be reimagined as places for innovation, co-creation, social engagement, teaming, and celebration. Said differently, while remote work will continue to be an effective way for workers (mainly knowledge workers) to carry out tasks or engage in routine meetings, in-person touchpoints serve a different purpose and outcomes. This HBR article submits that the office will “become primarily a culture space, providing workers with a social anchor, facilitating connections, enabling learning, and fostering unscripted, innovative collaboration.” It offers several ideas on how in-person interaction can drive innovation and how some firms are “using intelligent, tech-enabled design to turn ergonomic workplaces into socially engaging culture spaces.” Concerning the article’s point on how being in the office triggers chance encounters (e.g., around the coffee machine) that enable collaboration, I would also argue that we need to get creative in leveraging remote work and technology to mimic and prompt serendipitous interactions.

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