04/04/2023 • 4 min read

How to Attract Hybrid Workers to the Office for Collaboration

Make collaborative spaces more enticing, hospitable, and human

by Haworth, Inc.

Today’s hybrid work environment allows people the freedom to work from anywhere. But according to research from Gensler, one universal truth has emerged:

People rank collaboration as the #1 purpose of the office—regardless of geography, industry, role, or generation.

This clearly defined role for the office means company decision-makers need to start planning for—and creating—inviting spaces where people can connect socially, generate ideas, perform on projects, and share information.

New Expectations and Shifting Views

Simply put, people enjoy the benefits of working remotely. It eliminates commuting time, not to mention the related stress of traffic and getting to work on time. And of course, there are the advantages of spending the workday in athleisure outfits and the overall personal comforts of home. Remote work has even taught us new behaviors, and we’ve discovered new ways to accomplish tasks. But we’ve also found that home is not always the best place to get things done.

Today, people expect to be able to work from home, but we also expect there to be a place where we can go and be with our teams for connection and collaboration. Executive teams must understand these new expectations. The key is to shift the notion of office space as an expenditure, and instead view it as a business investment.

The first step for leaders in activating this mind shift is determining how to invest in the workplace so that it creates its own set of benefits. A wise investment will incentivize employees to come to the office—making it a place people choose to work, rather than a place they have to go because of a mandate. It’s important for executives to show their people that they are fully invested in their future office preferences by altering the workplace to foster meaningful workplace experiences.

This doesn’t necessarily equate to an entire office redesign, though—just a fresh perspective on a few key areas within the office. To help narrow the focus, leaders should consider these questions:

  • Where do employees gather to collaborate?
  • What areas do they seek out when they need periods of concentration or focus time?
  • Additionally, where do employees go to relax and de-stress throughout the day?

If these types of spaces are lacking or missing from the office floorplan, it may make sense to convert some current square footage into new spaces that support these types of activities. For example, add in some retreat spaces that allow people to step away from their work from time to time for a quick recharge.

Collaboration + Hospitality

Haworth’s Advance Research and Insights team has been looking into the office landscape as we move toward the future. Two themes that support new employee workspace preferences and expectations have emerged from this research:

More Collaborative – Shifting the office to become the center of connection, collaboration, and culture.

More Human – Creating inviting, hospitable user-friendly spaces that welcome employees and position the office as that collaborative hub people crave.

Get Our Social Spaces Design Guide

Create beautiful, welcoming Social Spaces that invite people to connect, collaborate, and restore—indoors and out. In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know—insights, applications, and design solutions that draw people in to help them feel (and do) their best.

In a Gensler survey, 83% of employees reported that they are more willing to return to the office more regularly if their ideal experiences were met. Two of those ideal experiences include hospitality-infused, amenity-rich spaces and informal spaces for connection and community. Workplace design experts seem to agree, saying that workplaces are starting to revolve around a human-centered design that mirrors what we’d typically expect from the hospitality sector, rather than traditional office environments. 

Hospitality spaces—sometimes referred to as Social Spaces—help set your organization apart from the crowd when it comes to attracting and engaging both employees and customers. They may be indoors or out, range from calming to energetic, and be used for anything from concentration to celebration. With their grounding elements and residential feel, Social Spaces bring a more human element to the office.

Employees’ view of the ideal office is clear: They want it to be the hub of their hybrid work experience. They are eager to come into an office where they can connect, socialize, and collaborate with fellow employees. The takeaway for leaders is: Spaces that support those activities must be inviting, available, and designed with their needs in mind—in other words, more collaborative and more human. Armed with this information, executive teams can begin a space refresh that can reinvent and reinvigorate the office as a desirable work location, while enhancing the total employee experience.

More on Spaces That Bring Hospitality into the Workplace

Find inspiration, designs, and products that help bring warmth and comfort into the workplace—creating the Social Spaces people crave.


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