Some thoughts from the Imagine a Place podcast
Through the course of many of my conversations with strategists and designers on the Imagine a Place podcast, a common phrase would surface. At some point in our dialog they would say, “Think of your workplace as a…,” as they worked to reframe the new purpose of our workplace today. This was their most simple and straightforward way to help us reimagine an old concept that was a century in the making. For the longest time, we thought of work as a destination. In fact, most of us refer to our journey to the office as, “going to work.” To gain a deeper understanding of what the workplace really does for us today, I’ve taken the time to gather a list of my favorite “Think of your workplace as a….” concepts. Enjoy!
Think of your workplace as a: "Toolkit"
Stuck in our homes, people finally began to recognize the value that the office brings to their work lives; but that value looks different for each person. For some, it’s the social interaction, for others, it might be access to a healthy and quiet work environment.
Thinking of your workplace as a toolkit helps us understand the importance of having a variety of settings where we can all use the tools we need to get the most out of our workday.
Think of your workplace as a: "Cultural Hub"
The purpose of the office is changing. The work from home experiment taught us that we really can work from anywhere. Of course, everyone’s home situations are different, but this has opened the door to new possibilities. So, we have been forced to reevaluate why we need an office and what we are missing from our home office. The short answer: connectivity.
Think of your workplace as an: "Ideation Center"
In the book: Where Good Ideas Come From (Steven Johnson), we learn that good ideas are often the result of not one big hunch, but the collision of smaller hunches. Essentially we are all walking around with half of a great idea in our heads and the only way it becomes a breakthrough idea is when we begin sharing those hunches.
Our ability to exchange ideas and borrow hunches is the very core of what discovery is all about. With our home office time spent alone, it’s critical that our shared workplaces are full of settings that can support creative group thinking.
Think of your workplace as a: "Learning Center"
The workplace is a hub of individuals from a variety of backgrounds, frames of thought, and insights. Inside the office, we are faced with opportunities for new ideas to collide, for hands-on learning, and for leading by example. Each of these leads to employees who can learn more, faster through experience, exposure, and example.
Think of your workplace as an: "Enabler"
Spaces will need to be centered around the needs of the individual, to foster intellectual, physical, and emotional well-being. The office will need a combination of settings to meet a variety of needs. We are all living in the same story, but our realities are different. So, we need to create spaces that enable us to free our minds to think creatively.
Think of your workplace as: "The Workforce"
Many firms are ditching the term Workplace and replacing it with Workforce. It forces a shift in our thinking away from the traditional office planning metrics and towards a more human-centered mindset.
Think of your workplace as a: "Business' Home"
In "The Book of Human Emotions," author Tiffany Wyatt Smith describes homefulness as a feeling of relief upon entering a space that makes you feel comfortable to be completely yourself. As we come back to the workplace, we will need to foster this sense of ownership and ease within our workplaces so that our employees can feel at home and therefore be themselves, think outside the box, and form lasting relationships that will continue to push each to be their best self.
Now it’s your turn. We’ve been given this chance to imagine what the workplace ought to be, not what it once was. Please fill in the blank and share it with me!