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Work Desk


This article is by Chip Cutter.

Remember the off-site meeting? For some companies, those traditional company gatherings at hotels, spas and other exotic locations are pointing the way to a new, innovative model for getting employees back to working in person.

Nearly two years after the pandemic sent many white-collar professionals home, bosses are eager to reconvene employees, hoping that in-person interactions will spark new ideas and help to lessen feelings of isolation and Zoom fatigue as Covid-19 drags on. The challenge is figuring out where and how to gather. Some companies ditched offices in recent months, or loosened policies to allow staffers to move away from company locations.

That has many executives rethinking the notion of the annual corporate gathering. For years, off-sites were largely a way to get entire companies or teams together to mark milestones such as a sales kickoff, an end-of-year celebration or a product-strategy summit. But as more companies embrace hybrid work models and fully remote teams, increasingly the concept of the off-site—gathering employees periodically—is looking like a way to strengthen company culture and foster connections among colleagues.

The fear of losing such connections and the benefits that in-person work can bring is spurring companies to look at nontraditional ways to make this happen. In the nascent stages of using off-sites as the new on-site, some companies are considering short gatherings in which staffers meet at hotels, restaurants, Airbnb mansions—or even in the office—collaborating on work while also reconnecting socially. They are feeling out how often to meet: Many executives say it may be enough for remote employees to now come together in person once a month, and quarterly in the future.

by Tiffany Bloodworth Rivers

With so many people working remotely, many organizations are adopting flexible workspace strategies. A flexible workspace generally means one without unassigned seats. This makes it easier to accommodate a “hybrid” approach where employees split their time between home and the office. It also allows employers to reduce office density and maintain physical distancing when they return to the workplace.

Here’s a look at what’s driving the need for flexible workspace, along with the five most popular strategies.

Flexible workplace drivers

While the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced short-term demand for office space, it has increased employee expectations of the workplace. Employees are anxious to return to the office as a hub of collaboration and innovation, but they also need to feel safe there. Meanwhile, employers see the workplace as a way to establish their brand, attract new talent, and improve employee engagement, according to JLL’s Future of Global Office Demand report.

The report identifies four key drivers impacting the shift to flexible office space strategies:

· An increase in remote working

· A need to rethink office design to support physical distancing

· The adoption of new technology that makes distributed work easier

· Changes in commuting patterns

While the increase in remote work has brought many benefits, it has also impacted employee engagement and productivity. In JLL’s survey of 7,000 employees:

· 66% said they lacked space to be creative and feel inspired

· 60% said they were not fully engaged at work

· 50% said their environment does not allow them to work effectively

Most of all, employees miss the ability to collaborate with each other in an office environment, as the chart below shows.

At the same time, employers understand they have to adjust their office space strategy to accommodate changing habits. Most employees plan to return to the workplace, but many don’t anticipate spending five days a week there anymore. And those who live far from a centrally located office may be looking for alternative spaces where they can be productive without a long commute.

As a result, many employers are considering flexible workspace trends like these.

5 flexible workspace trends

Hot desking

Hot desking allows employees to choose seats on a first-come, first-served basis. This flexible workspace strategy first became popular years ago as a way to increase collaboration between employees. Hot desking increases the ratio of employees to desks, maximizing space utilization. However, many employees are less enthusiastic about the idea of having to find an available desk each day. And at a time when we’re all more concerned about spreading germs, they have qualms about sitting down at a desk when there’s no record of who used it recently and whether it was properly sanitized.

In a recent survey, 19% said they wanted their employer to eliminate hot desking entirely when they return to the workplace.

Desk Hoteling

Desk hoteling, or office hoteling, offers the same benefits of a flexible workspace, but with the certainty of reservations. Employees use hoteling software to reserve a desk before they arrive or while they’re in the office. Ideally, the software has a mobile app they can access anywhere. It should also integrate with interactive wayfinding maps and your calendaring system so desk reservations are visible to everyone. You can even integrate desk hoteling software with sensors for the most accurate information about workspace availability.

Activity-based working

Activity-based working (ABW) is similar to other flexible workspace strategies in that employees can choose where they want to work on any given day. However, it’s not just about reserving desks. In an activity-based working environment, employees have access to a variety of spaces designed to support the type of work they’re doing. Those who need a quiet place to concentrate can reserve a small, private room for the morning and book a larger meeting room to collaborate with colleagues in the afternoon. Not every activity-based workspace necessarily requires a reservation. Employees can also gather in less formal huddle areas, quickly grab a phone booth or pull up a free chair near a coworker.

While activity-based working has been gaining popularity in recent years as a more structured alternative to a completely open office, employers will likely be more cautious about adopting this strategy in light of COVID-19. The cornerstone of activity-based working — the ability to move freely around the office throughout the day — may make it more difficult to keep track of which areas have been used and whether they’ve been properly sanitized. The soft seating that was characteristic of many huddle areas seems less ideal today. Common areas meant for casual gatherings can easily become overcrowded. Employers who want to adopt activity-based working will need to consider how to update their workplace design to account for these factors.

For instance, they may want to invest in non-porous furniture with antimicrobial surfaces that are easier to clean. They may want to consider adding occupancy sensors so they can get a daily report of which spaces have been used each day. They will also need to set capacity limits for common areas to prevent overcrowding

Office neighborhoods

Office neighborhoods offer many of the same benefits as activity-based working, but with more structure. Neighborhoods can be set up by department or function and act as a “home base” for employees. Rather than choosing from any one of the 500 workspaces within a large office, they go to a designated area where they’ll find familiar faces. There, they can reserve a desk or room as needed. When they need to work with others in another department, they can easily reserve space there.

Office neighborhoods bring back the sense of community many employees miss while working remotely without requiring assigned seats. Each neighborhood can personalize their space by choosing their own decor, as long as it meets general brand guidelines. For instance, they could have a bulletin board with the name of their neighborhood and photos of its team members.

The neighborhood concept works best if employees have a mobile app that makes it easy for them to find where their colleagues are working and reserve space near them.

They also need to be well designed to minimize noise and the spread of germs.

Coworking spaces

The coronavirus has changed commuting patterns and office demand. Employees who previously commuted long distances in their own vehicles or used public transportation are likely re-evaluating that journey today. For those reasons, JLL’s recent Future of Office Demand report predicts a slower re-entry to offices located in areas that are dependent on public transportation.

At the same time, people still want access to the amenities and social opportunities of large urban areas. The report predicts we’ll see an increase in “distributed urbanization.” This includes a greater demand for well-connected suburbs centered around major cities. Central offices in the heart of downtown will still be appealing to many employees, but they may be supplemented with coworking spaces closer to home.

Coworking spaces give employees the ability to escape the distractions of working from home while accommodating those who live farther away.

They also offer more flexibility for employers reluctant to sign new long-term leases, especially at a time when future office occupancy may be unpredictable. They can rent space by the month or even by the day. If employees using the coworking space no longer need it, the company can simply stop paying for it.

The future of flexible workspace

Although the workforce is more distributed, demand for high-quality office space isn’t going away. While employees appreciate the flexibility of being able to work remotely, JLL’s research shows they miss the ability to socialize and collaborate with others. They need a place to work where they feel inspired and have the technology and resources they need to be productive. That isn’t always possible in a home office. At the same time, they’ve become accustomed to being able to work anywhere, so they expect more from their workplace than just a desk. These flexible workspace strategies can support a safe, collaborative environment when they are carefully planned and properly implemented. No matter which one you choose, make sure you have the right technology in place to support it.

by Kristian Livolsi

We all take pleasure when our ideas come to fruition. We’re even more pleased when the ideas have an impact by improving motivation, innovation or productivity, among other areas. The spread of an idea can benefit many, but that popularity can also alter and distort the original.

I am a fan of Carol Dweck’s research. Dweck is a highly regarded professor of psychology at Stanford University and the author of several books, including Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. In Mindset, Dweck differentiates a “growth mindset” from a “fixed mindset.”

According to Dweck:

A growth mindset is “the belief that an individual’s most basic abilities and skills can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point.” A fixed mindset is “the belief that an individual’s basic abilities and skills, their intelligence and their talents, are just fixed traits.”

Dweck concluded that individuals who believe they can develop their talents through hard work, good strategies and input from others have a growth mindset. These individuals are likelier to achieve more than those with fixed mindsets because they put more energy into learning and are less concerned about looking smart.

Adopting a growth mindset can supercharge your wellbeing and growth. Here are ten ways to develop a growth mindset in business.

1. Be 100 percent accountable

To grow, you need to be accountable, or willing to accept responsibility. As an entrepreneur, you must start to be responsible and accountable to yourself. As you grow, you will be demonstrating accountability and its value to your team; they will follow your lead, making accountability part of your company’s culture.

2. Do not be concerned with what others have

Avoiding envy is fundamentally important when you’re trying to be focused, driven and leading. Focusing on what others have and what they are doing sets expectations that simply slow you down and take focus away from your purpose.

3. Become an expert in your field

I meet so many so-called “headliners,” people who skim the surface. In a world fueled by fake news, Photoshop’ed social posts and other illusions, it’s critical to become an expert. Strive to become truly good at what you do—so good that everybody wants your services. Stand out based on your specialty.

4. Don’t focus on your failures

When we learn that we should work on our weaknesses, we tend to think we need to hold on to our failures. But focusing on your failures gives detractors too much leverage against you. Instead, claim and learn from your failures and then focus on learning and growing from your mistakes.

5. Do the work and put in the time

Greatness does not come when you put in just ten percent. Put in ten percent, and you’ll achieve only two percent of your potential. To achieve greatness, you’ve got to be at 100 percent, putting in the time and effort.

6. Do what you love for the people who love what you do

One of my favorite sayings is, “You need to be purpose-driven doing what you love for those who love what you do.”Discovering your purpose is as important as finding your niche. You will bring much more value and expertise to those that need you, and you will have so much more fun delivering your products and services.

7. Don’t focus on money

Business leaders that focus solely on money are never fully satisfied, and often lose their customers. Instead, care about creating value. You want customers to say how proud they are about your products and services. You want employees to say how great it is to work for you and how much they learn from you. Focus on creating fans through value creation.

8. Achieve your outcomes quickly

Do not be obsessed with perfection. Instead, be fast. Getting somewhere first has more value than being perfect but last. That first-mover advantage is very important for growth. Develop an appetite to fail often and quickly, developing your products and services quickly and better aligned with the needs of your customers.

9. Be grateful for what you have

Be grateful for what you have now. Be grateful for what you’re going to achieve. Be grateful for what you don’t have. Gratitude is a gift and a core requirement for a growth mindset. The true expression of gratitude sets off energy that has the power of drawing people towards you. Explore and embrace it.

10. Become self-aware and understand your purpose

If you want to succeed in life, you must know your purpose. If you want to have a business growth mindset, you must become self-aware and understand your purpose. Self-awareness has the power to align your will and humility, which attracts people to you through your purpose.

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