The promise of micro work
To save office, break it up
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“I know it’s a hassle to come into the office, but if you’re just sitting in your pajamas in your bedroom, is that the work life you want to live?,”Malcolm Gladwell recently asked on The Diary of a CEO podcast. “Don’t you want to feel part of something?” He shared his frustration with the corporate leadership’s inability to explain this effectively to their workforce.
But a convincing explanation is lacking because there are two competing narratives. Efficiency of the office (an economic narrative) is juxtaposed to the office bonding, belonging and camaraderie (a social narrative), leaving organizations to figure out the right SWOT of the two.
To see the solution, we need to look into what the workforce is doing right now - how they organize their days and what their work-related rituals and daily rhythms are - to understand the modern work’s new value curve.
The real value innovation is in separating efficiency and socialization from one, single, centralized physical space. Decoupling space from what’s happening in it effectively changes the meaning of “office.” Instead of the “office,” there is a decentralized network of offices.
To save the office, break it up.
Turn a central, massive office space it into a portfolio of smaller working spaces: hyper-localized nano-offices and micro-clubs. In this scenario a massive brand office becomes a house of smaller local offices or an office family. The biggest roadblock to workforce getting back into the office is commuting; renting a series of mini office spaces where the employees reside successfully removes it.
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