Kickstart Your Return to the Office

Create the buzz people missed with new ideas for high energy collaboration and social spaces

Findings in this article were taken from the Steelcase ‘Work Better’ article, “Kickstart your Return to the Office“.

A First Step: Create a Social Hub

Over 50% of companies plan to pilot new spaces as part of their return to the office this year, and a company’s cafe is a good space to start experimenting. These spaces often sit empty parts of the day because they are typically used just for dining, individual work or small meetings. By looking at underutilized spaces in new ways, cafes can be redesigned as social hubs that will inspire people and provide high-performing settings where they can reconnect with their colleagues, as well as collaborate effectively.

Creating a Better Experience

Since the beginning of the pandemic, organizations have focused first and foremost on making sure their workplaces were safe. While absolutely necessary, safety protocols change the dynamic of spaces and it’s important to understand the impact that may have on people. “Instead of feeling apprehensive or uncomfortable, social hubs feel welcoming and put people at ease by giving them choices,” says Moutrey. “They have the same level of autonomy and flexibility they had while working from home but now they can access the tools, food and people they need to be truly productive. The space is both safe and compelling. And what could be more compelling than a great space and a great cup of coffee?”

This multimodal outdoor space provides people with a change of scenery and the ability to work outside and connect with nature. The outdoor oasis supports respite and socialization. Optional temporary worktools can be used to support casual collaboration.​

Fixed and flexible elements create a comfortable setting that supports dining and social activities. Analog and digital tools enhance performance to support collaboration.

This Welcome Area is a warm, comfortable space to connect and build relationships, have coffee or a meal, or shift between meetings and breaks. Adjacent storage holds grab-and-go lunches near the main circulation path, and another serves light refreshments for customer groups across from the coffee bar. Biophilic boundary elements provide visual privacy when needed.​