The future of work anywhere: gardens, shops and hotels

The future of the workplace in a post-pandemic world is still being explored, but suffice it to say that many workers will have more choices about where to work.

A little time in the office still seems to be the preference for most, according to a recent Gallup poll. After all, sharing a workplace with kids, dogs, and laundry for the past 19 months has had its challenges. Many people crave social connections and collaboration in a community setting. Still, workers were slow to return to the downtown office buildings, perhaps making room for something in between.

Rodney Moreh runs SourceM, a small sustainable product development agency in Los Angeles, so he needs a space to gather his dispersed team at least two days a week to review the products they’re working on.

“As we enter this weird transition from everyone who works in the office, to everyone who works at home and now somewhere in between, employees and workers are looking for a place that, if they have to go, makes them happy, “he said.

So he moved his business from a garden variety office to a real garden.

People work on computers in a large brick patio in Second Home Hollywood, where trees grow across the tables.  A light garland crosses the trees.
More than half of Second Home Hollywood’s 2-acre campus space is outdoors. (Photo by Iwan Baan for Second Home)

“It’s really funny every time we’re on Zoom and someone sees our background, they’re like, ‘Are you in a tropical landscape? “It’s like, ‘No, we’re just in our outdoor office space,'” he said. “It’s like working in a quiet, pleasant little jungle, if you will. “

It’s called Second Home Hollywood, an arboretum-style co-working space that opened just before the pandemic, where half the space is outdoors with desks tucked away among mature monstera plants and banana trees. .

“We’re walking through a 1 1/2 acre garden right now – what has been described as the densest urban forest in Los Angeles,” said Rohan Silva, founder of Second Home. “There are 6,500 trees and plants, 112 different species.

Second Home has several branches in Europe and plans to expand in the United States. He specializes in health-focused workspaces that don’t look like offices. Or houses either. Perhaps more like a fabulously wealthy jet setter’s ‘second home’ who owns a tropical island – one with hospital grade air filtration. And a Michelin-starred restaurant on site. Seriously.

A driveway in Second Home Hollywood is lined with green shrubs planted in the ground on one side and in wooden crates on the other.
A walkway among the 6,500 plants of Second Home Hollywood. (Photo by Meghan McCarty Carino / Market)

“If your office is just some sort of sterile cubicle with dirty recirculated air and so on, it’s probably pretty hard to persuade people to come in,” Silva said.

Private offices start at around $ 3,000 per month, while “shared offices” like those used by Rodney Moreh cost around $ 400 per person. It’s not going to suit everyone’s tastes and budgets, much like the black sesame vichyssoise served at a restaurant. Apparently it’s a soup.

But the point is, the more of a choice going to work becomes, the more the workplace becomes something of a consumer product, said Dror Poleg, author of “Rethinking Real Estate”.

“So people will always use the space. And I think people will pay for it more than ever – at least those who need it, ”he said. “But they will be much more deliberate about it.”

Office spaces, he said, have always been almost intentionally bland. Think elevator music – it’s just the background, designed not to offend or excite anyone. But in a world where you work anywhere, the alternatives are endless.

“What we’re starting to see is the emergence of these lifestyle offices or home-like offices, much crazier types of equipment and activities,” he said.

Saks Fifth Avenue is opening a number of trendy office spaces in department stores, restaurants have turned dining tables into desks that can be reserved on apps like KettleSpace, and hotels are adding more and more package deals. remote work-travel and coworking facilities.

“Where you would have made a heavy conference room, it was just more comfortable – let’s sit on sofas, talk,” said Kyle Arteaga, who runs Bulleit Group, a national marketing agency that has dropped most of it. its offices during the pandemic. As public health conditions improved, the teams began to meet again, not in the offices but in the hotels in the destinations chosen by the employees.

“We want this separation from home, because, you know, we all spend so much time there,” Arteaga said. “But at the same time, there are some benefits that we’ve kind of got used to, and we want to keep them.”

He plans the next full staff meeting in February at a Washington, DC hotel. It remains to be seen whether there will be a Michelin-starred restaurant on site.

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