Nov 23, 2022

How to turn the office into a destination

Oslos hub for innovasjon

On November 15th, Entra hosted an event at Epicenter about turning the office into a destination. We were there, of course, and as we already think Epicenter is in fact a destination, we felt right at home. Here’s a short summary of the event and the topic at hand: How do we get people back to the office?  


After a huge transformation related to how we all think about the workspace, companies are now faced with challenges in regards to getting their people back to the office. How do you compete with work-life balance and working without the distractions around the office? Entra believes that one way of doing this is by making the office a destination, which was what the event was all about. 


Why is it a challenge to get people to the office? 

The event was kicked off by Nils Brede Moe, researcher at Sintef, who revealed interesting new findings about how employees have adjusted to – or resisted – the shift in ways of working, and what triggers the wish to work from home after the pandemic. 


The biggest contributors to wanting to work from home is seemingly:

  • Time and money spent on commuting
  • Retaining work-life balance
  • Productivity and working without distractions and interruptions
  • Not knowing if your colleagues are at the office


Even though these are valid, there are also drawbacks to not coming into the office. Working remotely or from home can impact the team dynamic, company culture, onboarding and retaining talent, and psychological safety negatively. The office is still where you meet your colleagues (if they are not working from home), where spontaneity takes place, where you build culture, network and where you find your place in the team. 

Rethinking the workplace

So how do you weigh the pro’s and con’s? How do you accommodate your employees’ need for, for instance, work-life balance and working without interruptions? How do you get people back? 


We think Entra’s point of making the office a destination is a great way to solve these challenges. This can be done in multiple ways. Entra’s strategic advisors, Maria Hope and Thomas Kalvenes, talked about how they, as a real estate developer, work with the surrounding areas and what the office location and nearby offerings (such as restaurants) have to do with bringing people in. 


But. Not everyone is a real estate developer. This doesn’t mean you can’t make your office a destination, you just have to think a bit differently. Nils Brede Moe shared insights on what days are peak days within one specific company, and it turns out that organizing events, such as afterworks and knowledge driven events are making it worthwhile for people to commute, because they get to meet their colleagues, have a good time and learn something new. 


Recommended read: 5 Reasons to ditch traditional office structures


WSP’s journey of merging offices 

Entra also works closely with their customers to map out how they can design the physical workplace to better accommodate the company needs. During the event, Entra customer, WSP, presented their take on the office space in relation to their relocation and merging of offices. Together with Entra’s strategic team, they focused heavily on the office design, rigging it for the future, and listening to their employees’ needs for different ways of working. The result was: 


  • A zone based office layout where the employees could choose the zone best suited for the tasks at hand. 
  • Focusing on meeting up and making the office suitable for social interaction to build a home – or better yet – a destination.
  • Replacing the 8-16 mindset with a result oriented way of working, which added flexibility to working hours, and in turn better work-life balance, even when working from the office. 


There are probably a million ways to solve the challenge of bringing people back to the office, and these are only a few inspirational thoughts for you to bring into your own challenge-solving exercise. 


Key takeaways

The key takeaways from this specific event, however, we believe is that the need to get people back to the office is a very real challenge for a lot of companies. And, by offering the employees an arena where they can perform, and get their needs fulfilled, you might be able to solve just that. Because your employees love flexibility. Because when they do come into the office, they want something more. They want that buzz and experience. They want the commute to be worth it. Maybe you are facing this challenge now because your office is not a destination worth commuting for.  


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