The office still matters in hybrid working. It offers workers identity and belonging.
Over the last 2 months I have been speaking to COO's, Managing partners, CFO's, Senior Partners and CEO's of some of the largest law firms in the UK and the world. I have hosted a round table with JLL's CEO AsiaPac Anthony Couse and CBRE's UK Head of Workplace, Kate Smith. I have explored their sentiments and this is what I have learned.
Saying the office is dead because you cannot get to it and can work from home is like saying the pub is dead because you can't get to it and can drink at home.
It turns out we don't go to a centralised workplace these days just to work, we go because they are great places to spend a day, comfortable, warm, light, functional, enabling, nurturing, inspiring, creative, friendly, fun, funny. They are places to gather and celebrate, places to bond and learn, places to flirt and meet partners, places to complain and bicker.
In short they are central to the human condition and living a fulfilled and interesting life. Work is just the reason they exist, but not the reason we need them.
Imagining a world where my workforce is still home based in the darkest days of February is not so inspiring, no matter the running costs we might be able to save.
No, I am of the opinion that this huge and successful experiment has shown us all that work is an agile and flexible reality but that job satisfaction comes from direct, rich and fulsome human interaction.
Andrew Try, Founder & Managing Director