Welcome back to Bookmarks. This is Collective’s weekly newsletter about the world of work and place.
We’ve been delighted with the response to the newsletter so far and we appreciate all of you who are reading this, wherever you are. The discussions in workplace over the effectiveness of physical workplaces, return to office mandates, and how to work in hybrid effectively continue. The constant hum of information and debate can be exhausting. We’re happy to be the ones sifting through information to bring you some key insights each week.
This week we are featuring some stories about the four day work week, obsolescence of some spaces, and the results of Dropbox’s first “Life In Virtual First” survey. We are also excited to share more about the wonderful human that is Jomal McNeal. He’s more than just one of the leaders of the WE Moshpit group! We were also fortunate enough to spend some time with the team from Leesman this week in California. After hearing their insights and reading some of their recent reports we felt compelled to feature the Leesman Index as our product this week. If you haven’t heard of them, we highly suggest reading their section below. Measuring how effective workplaces are and showing ROI will continue to grow in importance for workplace teams.
As a reminder, we’ll be sending these weekly and if you have feedback shoot us a note at email@example.com.
Lastly, if you want to sponsor, support, or partner with Collective you can reach out at the link above. Now onto the good stuff!
Three Things You Should Know
From The Past Week In Work & Place
1.The Four Day Work Week
A 2900 person test across 61 companies in the U.K. resulted in some encouraging results for the four day work week. Of the 61 companies, 56 said they were planning to continue operating that way due to the positive results. 18 of those 61 said that the change was now permanent for them. The study had a positive impact on employee satisfaction as well as key business metrics.
For workplace teams this opens an interesting line of discussion. In a world where the four day work week could become a reality for some firms and less employees are needed to generate revenue – what would this mean for how we enable teams? The four day likely wouldn’t work for all companies or all industries. We will likely have to create and learn new ways to enable teams in another new dynamic. Most offices are already dead on Fridays, but what if Fridays were just a part of the weekend? We highly suggest checking out the article linked below and diving deeper into the full report linked inside the article as well so you can draw your own conclusions.
2. Obsolescence and Conversions
This past week Cushman and Wakefield released a report titled “Obsolescence Equals Opportunity.” In it they that roughly 25% of all inventory (buildings) in the U.S. will require repositioning or repurposing. How many square feet is that? They point out that by the end of the decade there will be a surplus of roughly 330 million square feet of space. That’s roughly 235.7 Salesforce towers. Reimagining what these obsolete buildings will become will play a critical role in the future of cities. Thankfully many firms are already working on this problem. Conversions to residential definitely have a role to play here, but with residential buildings being less dense than office spaces the down wind effects on local economies will be a factor. We sat in a forum yesterday with a group of workplace leaders, and the overwhelming narrative was one of reducing the amount of space they have and focusing on the overall experience of the remaining spaces.
For workplace professionals the question of how we operate differently in a world where there is less office space, and a higher focus on overall experience will continue to be critical. We have a role to play in shaping the future experiences within these spaces and also in helping to select spaces for use by our companies. The needs of the companies we represent will directly affect what is built and how it is built in the future. We have a hand in shaping a more sustainable future where buildings can have a lasting presence and not become obsolete as quickly.
3.The Results of Dropbox’s First “Life In Virtual First” Survey
Two years ago Dropbox was one of the first companies to jump into the waters of being “Virtual First” in a big way. Their approach is primarily remote with the ability for teams to come together to collaborate at the frequencies that are right for them. Now we’re finally starting to see the results from their and other companies mass experiments. In their first “Life In Virtual First” survey they found that 93% of employees were able to effectively work at home. However, 20% said they wanted more guidance on how to optimize wfh setups and general remote first tips. Another interesting point is that 46% of employees preferred the quarterly gathering cadence. Additionally, only 10% of their employees were interested in nomadic work. Those employees also tended to be earlier in their careers. Dropbox also highlighted that the interest in creating more organic connections is something they are still solving for. The desire for developing connections with each other and how to do that in a virtual first environment can be complex but not impossible.
For workplace professionals we recommend this survey and the results of Spotify’s first year working remotely be read and re-read. No two companies are alike. Whether it’s because industry, demographics, geography, or a multitude of other reasons. However, understanding what is working and not working for companies who are working in remote, hybrid, or office-first environments is important. The need for better ergonomic support and how to work effectively remote / hybrid should perk up all of our ears. These are opportunities to support our employees in new ways. Do we send someone to their house? do we do virtual ergonomic sessions? How can we best support them? Understanding the changing needs of the teams we assist is vital to our future.
One Big Thing
“Dropbox employees really value genuine connections as it helps requests and interactions not feel transactional. Small talk is essential in this respect, and interviewees acknowledged that it can create empathy and build trust.” Dropbox Virtual First Survey
Someone you should know
In The Collective World of Work And Place
Jomal McNeal has spent many years assisting stakeholders in aligning their mission and built environment. The journey starts in the healthcare environment where complex clients rely on infrastructure to save lives and then transitions to Workplace where a culmination of business strategy, process and space enable today’s knowledge workers to effectively collaborate on complex solutions. Jomal believes collecting high quality data in discovery leads to best-in-class design. We are stronger together therefore discovery must also be totally inclusive. The workplace is an effective tool in bringing people together when based on great discovery.
In His Own Words: “My favorite poem, “Me We”, by Muhammad Ali, is one of the shortest poems in the English language and sums my personal philosophy up quite nicely. This philosophy drives my work at Reworc where we leverage technology to scale discovery conversations to include entire organizations and better inform design. This philosophy, “Me We”, also motivates me to continue in helping to build the workplace community of practice called The Mosh Pit. Where each Friday people and place professionals around the world gather to focus on changing the world one workplace at a time. Finally, the “Me We” philosophy inspires me to contribute to equity diversity, inclusion and belonging initiatives within corporate real estate by taking a respective leadership role in CoreNet’s Northern California Chapter. I welcome the opportunity to connect with likeminded people.”
A product we’re into right now
The Leesman Index
About The Leesman Index: “At the heart of our business intelligence tool sits the Leesman Lmi, a functionality and effectiveness score that is calculated for every workplace measured. By deploying one of our surveys you automatically become part of the Leesman Index, the largest employee experience database in the world. Since our launch in 2010, we have gathered vast amounts of comparative data from thousands of global workplaces, against which you can benchmark your workplace.”
What We Think: Workplace teams need to have the ability to objectively measure and communicate the effectiveness of their workplaces. The Leesman Index provides one such avenue. In a world where we are reducing footprints and optimizing for experience, we need to be able to understand how our spaces are performing. In a recent published paper Leesman pointed out that employees are now considering commuting to the office as a “cost of working” vs a “cost of living.” This simple dynamic switch signals that we need to be reducing friction, creating experiences that draw people in, and that we as a team can show that performance in a tangible way. Check them out for yourself below.
That’s It For This WEek
You Did It!
We’re glad you read all the way to the bottom! We appreciate you reading our newsletter and we’d love it if you checked out our resources page as well. It’s full of books, templates, and other great stuff all related to the worlds of work and place. Until next time.