Now the world has adapted to remote working it can be all too easy to think of the office space as redundant, but what if we started repurposing it as a hub?
I’ll admit that I was perhaps a little too keen for Hallam’s trial return to the office this week – a change to the familiar rhythm of the past year, plus an opportunity to see people (real people! without pixels!), including some I’ve never met before.
Getting the balance
Being back in the office reinforced what you gain (and lose) from working at home: I was certainly less efficient than I’ve become used to – the lure of natural chatter too hard to ignore after a year with only Spotify to keep me entertained. But it was also so refreshing to be able to ask colleagues questions without needing to go via Slack or ask if they can jump on a quick call.
After only a couple of hours in the office, it became clear to me that it’s these micro-conversations, both professional and personal, that I’ve missed most over the past year.
This is also where I think we stand to benefit the most as the workplace evolves.
Like plenty of people who have the flexibility to do our jobs from home, my preference for the future is for hybrid working – a few days a week enjoying the convenience of the spare room, with the rest of my week spent benefiting from the sociability and collaboration of the office.
But convenience and flexibility are not the only benefits of the move away from being tied to one particular office space. At Hallam, we intend to use the workplace revolution to improve collaboration with clients too.
Pre-COVID, our meetings with locally-based clients were, naturally, face to face. But we rarely extended the invitation further than that. The new flexibility and available office space presented to both ourselves and clients opens the doors to a new level of collaboration, that can take our partnerships even further.
While regular check-ins may remain digital-first for convenience, we intend to invite clients to work from our offices when it’s practical for them to do so, and if feasible we’d like to be able to work from their offices too.
Working from a clients’ office or vice versa is nothing new, but what’s different now is the scale with which we can expect to do it. Perhaps we can look forward to our office becoming a hub for a variety of clients to drop into when they need to be in Nottingham city centre. Maybe we’ll have as many clients buzzing around the office as we do Hallam-ers.
And throughout the day, as we each get on with the disparate tasks that will make up our collective roles, there’ll be the ever-present micro-conversations that will build bridges, and start conversations, and spark ideas. After all, it’s not always the workshops and ideation sessions that unearth the real gems.
And if these conversations are between two of our clients, then that’s even more amazing: we’ll have brought together two people who are unlikely to have met otherwise to work together.
While many companies are thinking of how they can downsize their offices, I suggest instead we look at how we can use these spaces to increase collaboration.
If you have any questions or what to know more, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us, we would love to talk (both digitally and face to face!).