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People used to come to work because they had to. Now they come in because the office offers them something they can't get at home. The question is what workers need. Organisations are coming up with very different answers. It could be the bustle and warmth of in-person human connection or an escape from the distractions of family life.
Business leaders must carefully think through how they design their office environment to lure reluctant employees.
The post-pandemic office is presented as a site of connection and liveliness where workers escape the quiet and solitude of the work-from-home lifestyle. In addition, background music can increase productivity.
But not everyone agrees that the post-pandemic office should be like a bustling cafe. Other companies have determined that most employees need long, uninterrupted blocks of time to do their best work, similar to a library. Here the office is not seen as a coffee shop but as a refuge.
Considering the wildly different visions for the office in a world of hybrid work, the biggest lesson for entrepreneurs is that you need to be intentional not just about the physical design of your office but also about the acoustic design.
How we feel in a space and what activities it welcomes and discourages are greatly impacted by the noise around us.
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