Since the pandemic, a big question for companies has been: How do we build and sustain a safe and effective workplace for employees?
As a managing director at Gensler, a global architecture and design firm, I've worked with large companies like JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup to create the most productive office spaces.
For over a year now, I've been going into the office Monday through Thursday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and occasionally on Fridays. My colleagues follow a similar schedule — with four days in, one day remote.
Transitioning to hybrid work has had its ups and downs. But I've found that I prefer being in the office because it's where I get my best work done. Here's why:
1. I have access to technology and resources.
Being able to use so many unique spaces in our office — including the materials library, 3-D model shop and visualization lab — gives me inspiration.
Having meetings in these places also allow teams to touch and feel the materials we're considering for a particular project, which is incredibly important. And since design can be so subjective, I prefer to be in the same room as the people I am meeting with.
When my team and clients inhabit the same creative space, it's easier to gauge people's genuine reactions to new ideas, and ultimately make decisions more quickly. Proximity also makes it simpler to pair people up for mentoring and coaching.
2. It's better for building strong relationships across teams.
Being in the office gives me more opportunities to connect with people who weren't necessarily on my agenda for the day.
When I have 15 to 20 minutes of free time, I'll do a "leadership lap," where I walk around the office and say hi to people. I ask how they're doing, learn about what they're working on and exchange ideas.
It's important for me to meet in-person with clients and vendors, too. Our business is so relationship-oriented, and these spontaneous encounters are invaluable, as well as enjoyable.
3. I have a clearer sense of purpose.
This hybrid approach has helped me have a more clearly defined sense of purpose and joy in what I do.
I believe that if you view the office as a destination where you can build relationships and socialize with your team, you'll find it more fulfilling than working remotely.
There will not be a one-size-fits-all solution, so learn from your team and know that it may take time to build a new routine that is best for you.
I also feel that when working from home, many have lost touch with the purpose of what they are doing, and it is reduced to merely a task. Tasks are important to accomplish, but without the greater context, they aren't more than that.
Rocco Giannetti is a Principal and Co-Managing Director of Gensler's New York office, where he has led workplace interior projects for large companies including Morgan Stanley, Société Générale and Citigroup. In 2021, he was recognized on the Crain's New York Business Notable LGBTQ Leaders and Executives List. Follow Rocco on LinkedIn.
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