The Office of the Future…Must be the Office of the Past
I read today that Adobe will move forward on their new 1.3M square-foot North Office Tower in San Jose despite the uncertainty caused by the current pandemic. Adobe employs over 22,000 people worldwide with nearly 4,000 in San Jose. The structure, as originally designed, would accommodate another 4,000 employees. Choosing to nix the connecting skybridge to their current campus tells the market that Adobe may choose to sell the tower rather than occupy it in the future.
One of the biggest questions about the pandemic, other than the medical side of it, is: What impact will Covid have on how we do business in America moving forward? Depending on the region of the country that you call home, life as you know it falls in the range between: ‘I Feel Like I’m Living in a Dog Kennel’ to ‘What Virus’?
It’s true. There are parts of the country that are minimally being affected by the virus, while others are completely shut down. In Indiana, it varies from county to county. Everyone wears a mask in stores, but once you get outside, most people remove them. Restaurants are at 75 percent capacity and reservations are not a bad idea.
So, what will office space be like in the new world after Covid? Many companies are not planning to have their employees return to the office unit mid-2021.
Many are saying that productivity is excellent with their employees working from home. Certainly, the commute from New Haven, Conn. to Midtown Manhattan is much farther than from the Master Bedroom to the Home Office.
Add not going out to eat to that mix and workers are getting many extra hours of work done in a single day. No question that these hours are helping businesses to accomplish more in a day.
Covid was a wake-up call to business. It was a wake-up call to why we do things the way we do things. At ECO, we used the time to assess our clients’ needs, our solutions, our methods, and our products.
We chose to expand our company rather than retreat. Today, around our boardroom table, we bring in more chairs than ever before and experience an excitement that is only enhanced by the uncertainty of our times.
Why do we need to come together and work together? Adobe, Google, Intel, they will all see why eventually. It’s called Collaboration and Unity, that is why people need to be together in business.
A great baker needs a great frosting maker. Half an idea is no idea, a certain failure. Innovation comes from sharing and being together. I would venture to guess that the company that remains isolated in their homes, will become isolated in the industry.
The office of the future, in my opinion, must contain people to be vital and successful. Virtual ice cream might keep the weight gain down, but it is certain to be a one-time experience. Sports without fans are hanging on by a thread. There would be no Steeler Nation if the Nation had not regularly assembled.
If sports are not attended, and soon, the viewership will diminish and be replaced with activities that include being together with other people.
The more that Covid rolls on, the more people are willing to risk everything to be back together with others. This weekend, my son’s high school took on their greatest rival in soccer.
Last year, in two games, my son and his team were outscored 14-3 in excruciating losses to this team. It was probably the most attended game I have ever been to at this venue.
Even parents of last year’s graduates made their way to this game. Why? Because people need to be around people to thrive.
The collaborative effort of a team of deep friendships, common goals, and united of purpose beat the enemy in a shocking 2-0 shutout victory, a clean sheet, that gave us hope that a New Normal has finally arrived.
This amazing in-person physical game, the results of months of practice and sweat, could never have happened if the team had remained virtual and separated. I image the only companies that will experience consistent victory in the new business normal will be the ones that recognize the value of community.
Of course, you know who scored the winning goal!