Quick read: after realizing that people are not as available to work in their offices as they were 2 years ago, we had to rethink what would the perfect office be. We concluded that is a mix of a socialization space + mobile individual hubs + an app that tells us if the hubs are available to work in or what will happen on the main space. It will also have the bonus of reinforcing the culture of the organization.
What is the SBU model?
A community is not only made up of people: what makes a community come alive is the quality of the interactions between its members.
With the possibility of working from home, offices start to become part of communities. Organisations started becoming part of the physical space of their employees and people can choose where to work. If they prefer to work at home or at a café, this option may be on offer, but they can also work in hubs strategically located by the organisation alongside areas which are accessible for employees. The real challenge is to make the organisation space a natural workspace in the community, contributing to the quality of life and work.
During our study on workspaces of the future (which are now of the present!) we concluded that organisation offices are not only workspaces. They are little communities too, where people can catch up or play sports. This means that they are important socialisation centres.
During the pandemic we weren't working on our offices anymore. We were also going to strengthen our position in the community through socialisation. That’s why when we prototyped Spaces Between Us, we strengthened the idea that the community is that space between us: it is the space in which the organisation must invest to maintain the satisfaction of those who collaborate.
The result? To strengthen the interest and involvement of everyone in the culture of the organisation, not letting talent get away and making productivity and proactivity levels grow.
How to apply the model in my organisation?
In the SBU system, the office assumes the role as the hub for socialisation and experience of the organisational culture. You no longer need to take the bus with your lunchbox to get to the office. People’s desks have disappeared. The office has become the point of reference where we go to drink coffee with colleagues, to soak up the sun on the terrace, have a yoga class, look after the garden, have a workshop or training, attend a concert, or take customers out for lunch.
It’s the new meeting point, the place for learning, exchanging knowledge and just for a chat! It is not a space with working hours from 9 to 5. It has become a place where we want to go and where we like being. It is a living space where there’s always something happening, that attracts us, that urges us to participate and where we feel we are going to grow.
Maybe it seems like no-one works at this office. But what better space for coming up with ideas, thinking about new projects, getting motivated and feeling inspired?
The office is complemented by mobile proximity units. This means that although the office is a hub for socialisation, the spaces for focus and teamwork have not been excluded.
The mobile units are spaces for supporting working from home. They are satellites which take the culture of the organisation to the living areas of the employees, and they are prepared both for individual and collaborative work. It’s true that we can stay at home whenever we don’t go to the office, but the workspaces we have created at our homes are not always as comfortable as we thought. There are days when we don’t want to talk to anyone but we may wish to feel like we have company. This is what these mobile units propose: bringing comfort, well-being and proximity to employees who wish to leave home without going to the office.
By using this app we are connected to the spaces, but it’s not just another digital platform constantly beeping notifications and messages that need answering!
We can see who is in the space and who is going to be there over the next few days and sign up to any activities we wish to take part in. We can see where the mobile activities are and reserve them.
Some transformations occur speedily and suddenly, abruptly altering the way we work, others occur slowly, involving continuous progression with minor changes. But however quickly the dynamics alter, and whether or not they derive from external factors, the workspaces must be prepared for change. There is no model which serves for all organisations or a single magic formula but the work process and methodology we apply in our projects allow us to create more flexible spaces.
We know that the SBU model is capable of meeting the specific needs of each organisation, regardless of its size or resources. Shall we try it out?