A purposeful workplace should always be the objective. The workplace shouldn’t exist simply because it always has.
We all now know the role of the workplace has changed. But one thing that has not is its role in connecting people. The difference is how it connects people now.
Here are 20 tips to help organizations optimize their workplaces for hybrid work:
- Don’t let “Connecting Work” dominate. This is a human thing. Focus on Connecting People.
- The office as a Hyper Connector. Just because everyone isn’t there at the same moment, doesn’t mean they can’t all experience high-quality human connection.
- Never assume everyone is going to be there at the same time. The value of the office varies based on an individual’s workflow and environment. The probability of everyone in your team identifying with the same office “value” at the same time, so they’re all there in proximity to one another at the office in the moment, is extremely low.
- “Meetings” should not dominate your strategy. How many people have ever said they love a meeting?
- Focus on activating spontaneous high-quality Human Connection. Once that’s done, we want to ride out the engagement sequence:
Connect > Interact > Communicate > Ideate > Collaborate
That’s where the magic happens! Try avoid starting with “Meeting.”
- Real workplace interconnectivity is the space between spaces.
- Think retail….we’re always competing. Earn the right to host. What’s in it for me?
- Workflows are in continuous, seamless transition. Workplaces need to replicate that.
- Remove physical adjacency focus and replace with elasticity. Real Estate: time bound and fixed. Digital: dynamic and on demand.
- The workplace needs to work harder and respond to the user. It needs to remove friction, not add to it. Anything less, and it will feel very clunky, and its relevance will become devalued.
- Replace control with confidence in getting what you want when you need it.
- Distribute competency in smaller accessible packets. Avoid “large, fancy, and bookable.”
- Collaboration happens in small groups of people. Don’t build big!
- Don’t over-engineer spaces with unnecessary technology novelty. Focus on the everyday, manage the extraordinary as an exception but offer quality throughout.
- Technology investment should be enabling, not leading. Its role is to add viscosity to the strategy that’s connecting people to people, people to workplace, and people to work.
- Focus investment in high-impact friction areas and where you can lean-out process burden.
- Scale digitally, manage physically, sustain always. Never forget day 2. Technology “expires” much quicker than real estate, so how you economically scale, sustain, and centrally maintain across a distributed geography should be a critical part of your strategy.
- The Hybrid Workplace is very broad and everything within it is a balanced ecosystem that extends from the home to the office and everything in between. We want to use technology to natively pair this ecosystem, not blend it. Blending implies a compromise.
- When it comes to human connection, the laptop is always just a low-empathy gap filler or transitional instrument. It should never be treated as a destination.
- Don’t over think it. These are anthropological human-centric traits, not persona specific.
Since humans should always be at the center of your organization, keeping them engaged and connected isn’t going to be as simple as connecting them to your enterprise network. Adopting and optimizing your hybrid workplace requires ongoing trial and error, testing and retesting, checking in with employees and teams for real-time feedback, and more. Stick with it.
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