The Intuitive and Ever-Evolving Post-Covid Workplace
Updated: Jul 1
The 'OCCUPEERS' – a SPACE+ global peer group of corporate occupiers - met virtually to discuss the blending of hospitality and real estate. This article focuses on their conversation around Post-Covid workplace strategy.
Sheridan Perkins, Standard Chartered's Programme Director for 'Future of Work Now', emphasised that with or without Covid, hospitality is "continuously evolving". In the last year Standard Chartered have added a 'global head of workplace experience' role and built up hospitality and event management teams.
"We've just revamped our design guidelines. They look nothing like the ones created two years ago," Sheridan says. "This time we had over 30 people involved, including a behavioural psychologist, which I never thought I'd see."
It's a journey, not a destination
He appreciates that there is an inevitability that a design or a concept of hospitality that's seen as revolutionary today will be looked back on as primitive in the future. It's a journey, he says, not a destination.
Both Claudia Bastiani, Mastercard's Director of Real Estate Services and Sheridan re-enforced the importance of the process of hospitality evolving, by giving the example of cleanliness within the office. Claudia reiterated that people now need to feel comfortable within a space, which Sheridan descibes as "putting their mind at ease".
A paradigm shift in how we engage
Beyond cleanliness, which was agreed as a 'given', Microsoft's Jeff Schumacher is focusing on "creating equity in the experience". For example, in a meeting, "how can people outside the room have a similar type of experience as the people inside it?"
This has become particularly important from a connected perspective, but also inclusiveness, he says.
His team at Microsoft are asking the question; "how is technology going to enable a paradigm shift in how we engage with people?"
The difference now, he says, is choice. Previously, the choice to work from home was "unspoken" but now it will become explicit; "you can either come to the office or not".
We're focusing on creating equity of experience
Jeanie Chuo, Global Head of Workplace at HSBC, described how user experience has changed dramatically during and after the height of the pandemic.
When it comes to the physical embodiment of all the plans spoken about, Jeanie says that it boils down to the fact that the workplace needs to evolve. A lot of HSBC’s current thinking is placed on "mapping user experience".
By mapping out the "small nuances of human behaviour" and integrating them into the workplace, this helps dramatically improve hospitality.
Jeanie used the example of four hypothetical work cells: two working in the office, the other two at home and occasionally coming into the office.
Jeanie asks the question, "how can, if these four cells decide to come to the office, we cater for both sets of needs?" It gives a brilliant indication of how different the office now needs to be. Not just in design, but also in location.
By mapping out our small experiences, it feeds into the bigger picture and the future of real estate, which is conducive and intuitive for the employees.
Conducive and intuitive for the employees
Sonya Simmonds adds an emphasis to the importance of widening these ‘reference maps'. Before the pandemic, companies were rather blinkered and tailored to the end user, by only collaborating with a small number of colleagues.
Now this hypothetical group has widened and so has the collaboration. This has allowed companies to map out the importance of employees and their experience within the company. Thus, their workplace journey throughout the day will improve.
Watch or read the full conversation On-Demand here.