As featured in the Harvard Business Review

Designing the Hybrid Office

by Anne-Laure Fayard, John Week, and Mahwesh Khan

Summary.  The natural experiment forced on the world by the coronavirus demonstrates that the academics and tech visionaries who have been talking since the 1980s about the possibilities of remote work were not exaggerating. After months of working remotely, we have all learned that most tasks are accomplished and most meetings go just fine without the office.

But that, the authors warn, doesn’t mean companies should suddenly abandon their workplaces. Going to the office, they argue, has never been just about work. And technology won’t make socializing less dependent on direct interpersonal contact anytime soon. In this article they describe the important social functions of an office: It’s where people build trust through personal interaction, learn the nuances of their job, and build and maintain organizational culture. And it’s through random in-person encounters between people from different functions and cultures that many of the most innovative business ideas are born. The authors conclude by showing how design, technology, and management practices can be used to make tomorrow’s offices more effective as social, learning, and innovation spaces. Read More