NELSON’s Nicole Zack introduces the Innovator’s Guild and the five characteristics that it make up.
Even before COVID-19, advancements in technology, and the rise in popularity of coworking concepts, the traditional office was long overdue for a rebrand. The global pandemic has accelerated the office renaissance in a way we never thought possible. The typical, nine to five workday is slowly evolving, tech giants are extending their work-from-home policies into 2022 and beyond, and business leaders are rethinking their long-term leases across their portfolios.
So, what is the burning question for business owners and CEOs across the country? What is the future office? The office has been around for as long as we can remember. It has always been used as a collective place for a group of people with a common goal to complete their tasks, but now, never-before-seen cultural shifts will change the office forever.
Now that we trust employees can work virtually from anywhere, the office must shift from a forced landing place to a spontaneous gathering spot for groups of like-minded thinkers and doers – all set out to meet one common goal. The mission, vision, and values of the organization they work for.
The Innovator’s Guild resembles social clubs of the past – inspiring and stimulating environments where members pay to have access to the space itself and the other members in the group.
In an era of remote working, professionals are re-evaluating and adapting to their new work lifestyle. While operating from the comfort of their living rooms, home offices, and even nearby coffee shops, it’s easy for some to become disconnected from that common goal they once shared with their colleagues. And more people imagine a world of freelance and independent working, making it more important than ever to cultivate an inspiring company culture and design a dynamic environment people want to return to.
We’re calling it the Innovator’s Guild, the rebranded office, and the place employees choose to go at their leisure, instead of being a requirement five days a week. The Innovator’s Guild resembles social clubs of the past – inspiring and stimulating environments where members pay to have access to the space itself and the other members in the group. Eliminating the elitism associated with social clubs, our depiction is an environment that is exclusive rather than exclusionary. Rather than the silly concept of charging employees to use the office space, the Innovator’s Guild is part of the employment package. It is a place the employee always has access to, more like a work perk. So how does this rebranded office look? Here are five characteristics that make up the Innovator’s Guild:
Hospitable Coworking Hall
Taking notes from the corner coffee shop, old-fashioned hospitality, and even the New York City doorman, the Innovator’s Guild embraces five-star service and “big city” energy. People work and socialize on the first floor at street level, getting a front-row seat to the hustle and bustle of what’s happening outside, rather than having six degrees of separation between their workspace and the surrounding neighborhood. There is a dedicated concierge for occupants offering coffee, dry cleaning, food delivery, and mailing and shipping services. It’s a place where employees can go to receive modern-day “white glove” service they aren’t getting from home, drawing them back into the office more often.
High-Tech Production Suite
Equipped with all the sophisticated technologies that may be an eyesore in employees’ living rooms and home offices, the Innovator’s Guild has anything and everything one needs to accomplish their best work. It’s a one-stop shop for printing, copying, designing, and producing. There are high-tech, easy-to-use Zoom suites where employees can go for uninterrupted, seamless virtual meetings. And the latest and greatest technology advancements are shared, allowing workers to have the option of leaving their computers at home.
The Innovator’s Guild differentiates itself from outdated offices of the past by offering the amenities and services employees can’t get at home. As part of the employment package, workers are given unlimited access to fitness and wellness amenities, including an app-based fitness center equipped with the newest smart home gym equipment that people don’t have room for in their homes. Other wellness features include modern salt rooms, meditation rooms, spas, biophilic design elements, and sensory rooms, going beyond just physical health by making mental health a priority. These amenities are rebranded with the Innovator’s Guild to represent a new form of employee benefits – wellness benefits that are competitive with the best companies to work for.
Like social clubs, the Innovator’s Guild is more than just a workplace. It is a place for connection, engagement, and innovation. Multi-purpose rooms and social spaces will take on a new role as event spaces for employees and the community. These areas will also be more accessible than ever before, inviting employees and their friends and families to enjoy the office’s perks after hours and on the weekends. Social areas will flex throughout the day to better match employees’ lives, and the coffee bar may transform into a juice bar or even wine bar depending on the time of day.
The Innovator’s Guild is a welcoming and approachable environment where everyone feels at home and has the freedom to decide their work style. A place where all voices are heard, and both choice and trust are placed on a pedestal. It’s a place where nine-to-five visibility no longer equals productivity. Instead, workers can take advantage of what the office offers and how it helps them accomplish their tasks. The office must shift from an isolated place people go to Monday through Friday to a meaningful and holistic destination that is more in sync with employees’ daily lives, allowing them to use it on their terms, with no questions asked.
The rebranded office of the future looks like the Innovator’s Guild. It embraces welcoming hospitality, high-end technology, differentiated amenities, and spaces that bring people together. The future is here, and as the boundaries between working, playing, and living are blurring together, and the office must transform to the future.