Rebuild Your Office in the Hybrid World

Great managers will realize that the office has changed - emotionally and intentionally. It makes sense that the physical office would change as well. Here are some suggestions when thinking about how to change the office.

First, make sure you get feedback from employees. One thing is clear that has always been true - executives and managers think they know what the employees want and feel, but are often wrong. The data shows that at least 30% of managers who read that comment and said "not me" are wrong. So ask employees what they want in the physical office. How do they want to use the space, what can add value, and how can they maximize their time there. Maybe even let them design it with no input from you at all.

Second, think about what the office should do in the future, not what it did in the past. The ways we thought about space and design have to change. If the only time people will be in the office is for meetings and to collaborate, make more community spaces. If it is used for quiet time because of kids at home, make more solitary spaces. If both, create both.

Third, be prepared to change it. The one big lesson from the pandemic is that we think we know something, then we learn differently. You may set up the office one way, then realize that is doing more harm than good. It isn't a project to "finish", it is an ongoing experiment to find what works.

If you ask people to come back to the same office they had before, you'll find disappointment, frustration, and inefficiency. We work differently now - the office has to reflect that.