‘Home-Like’ and Purposeful Offices: A Global Mobility Strategy to Attract and Retain a Remote-Work Generation

The workplace may soon undergo a remarkable transformation to entice employees to go back to their offices. Three emerging office designs: the adoption of hybrid work models, a heightened focus on employee well-being, and the quest to imbue the workplace with more profound meaning. As more people grow accustomed to the comforts of their home environments, they now seek to infuse these elements into their offices, if employees can have a say on the matter, of course.

As we all know, office design has followed a straightforward blueprint of assigned desks, conference room meetings, and social interactions revolving around water coolers and kitchen areas. However, the pandemic has fundamentally reshaped employee expectations and preferences concerning their work environment. Companies and the global mobility industry are making it a point to listen to all parties to make people come back to their workplaces.

Global mobility professionals have observed how different generations of workers have different takes on how they should work, with the younger workforce more set on remote work compared to previous generations. As a result, some companies are offering more flexible and homely options for them — and yes, these include being able to bring their dogs with them.

Less corporate, more homey

By fostering a more relaxed and social atmosphere, some offices are recognizing the demand and transitioning into vibrant cafes and home-like interior designs as a more comfortable and less corporate way of connecting and collaborating with their teams. Desks are giving way to lounge-configured seating, lighting is being adjusted to create a cozier and more inviting atmosphere, and conference rooms are becoming more open and accessible. 

Northern California’s tech companies like Zendesk have already blurred the lines between home, hospitality and workplace many years ago, but these companies are exporting more of their homey office concepts in other major cities while also factoring in a new focus on wellness.

A Wall Street Journal piece pointed to a couple of companies that are leading the way in changing the visual dynamic of their workplaces.

Amazon’s new office space in Midtown Manhattan is a former Lord & Taylor flagship store which was constructed in 1914. The conversion was designed by architecture firm WRNS Studio. 

Upon entering, it’s a common sight to see employees making a beeline for “Dot’s,” a vibrant space named in honor of Dorothy Shaver, the pioneering president of Lord & Taylor in 1945, marking her as the first woman to lead a large department store. Notably, the terracotta tiles used for Dot’s signage were repurposed from Lord & Taylor’s ground mezzanine, lending a touch of historical charm.

Dot’s serves as more than just a coffee hub; it’s a communal area where employees can order their favorite coffee drinks and food. This light-filled environment encourages casual meetings and connections between colleagues over lunch.

The offices are a haven for dog owners. The terrace is like a park where  pups and their owners mingle amid thickets of plants, walkways, and ample seating.

Having these convenient and home-like features in an office can certainly make one feel at home. 

Engaging with their communities

Companies are now making use of their office space to engage with local communities by offering shared co-working spaces with clients, collaborators, and neighborhood researchers. 

Spotify’s Content Campus in the Los Angeles Arts District was purposely designed as an amalgam of music and podcast facilities that connect artists with the resources they need to launch their careers. 

This shift has propelled businesses to reexamine their office spaces, moving away from the conventional models of dedicated desks and conference rooms. 

Companies are exploring more flexible arrangements that cater to a workforce splitting their time between home and the office. The office landscape is evolving to accommodate new ways of working, including remote work, co-working spaces, and enhanced flexibility.

Wellness office that connects with nature

The post-pandemic recovery has heightened concerns about the health and safety of employees returning to the office. 

Ensuring a safe and healthy workplace is more vital than ever. This entails investments in mechanical systems and ventilation strategies to enhance air quality, as well as the utilization of materials that reduce airborne toxins and promote daily touchpoint cleanliness.

One of the most visible aspects of workplace wellness is the renewed emphasis on connecting with nature. With the inclusion of outdoor terraces and the integration of green interior landscapes, nature now plays a pivotal role in elevating the visual environment and overall well-being of employees. 

Natural daylighting is also given priority, utilizing intelligent lighting controls to minimize artificial lighting in favor of natural light.

By prioritizing employee well-being and crafting spaces that promote physical, environmental, and emotional wellness, companies are not only addressing health concerns but also cultivating a more appealing and productive work environment.

The line separating work from personal life has significantly blurred in recent years, with the pandemic accelerating this trend. Offices are no longer mere places of work; they are evolving into multifunctional spaces that welcome everyday experiences into the workplace, a concept referred to as “life-ing.”