Destination workplaces: a place where people want to be

Written by Angela Ferguson


As covid continues to cause challenges around the globe, many businesses are struggling to maintain their hybrid working policy and attract employees back into the office in an effort restore workplace culture.

The way we work has fundamentally changed and the only thing we can be certain of is that the office will continue to evolve. As we head into 2023, companies that take a test-and-learn approach will lead the way when it comes to creating the future destination workplace.

New research commissioned by leading workplace design consultancy, Future X Collective, found that more than 1 in 2 (54%) Australians never intend to return to the office full-time, with almost a quarter (24%) reporting that they would actively seek out another job if their company forced them back into the office full-time.

Currently, 2 in 5 (43%) Australians report working in a hybrid rhythm, while 15% said they value their autonomy and flexibility too much to consider working 2-3 days in the office again.

Several respondents expressed that they were more productive at home, while others stated the cost and time of travel were their biggest deterrent to returning to the office:

  • “It makes no sense to return to the office when I can be more productive at home and it saves me time and money to do so.” said 42-year-old construction manager from ACT.
  • “It’s not really about spending time at home but now it’s more expensive to move around because of fuel prices” Said 22-year-old corporate worker from Perth.

Delving further into the research, employees stated that the main drawcards to come back into the office (even in a hybrid capacity) was an increase in their salary (40% selected this as their top choice), followed by knowing their colleagues would be there (15%) and being reimbursed for their travel and lunch costs (14%).

Based off the findings, Future X Collective has shared 3 key tips for businesses to create a destination workplace that meets employee needs and is sure to stay permanent, that go above and beyond salary:

1. Create ‘Together’ Days

In an era of flexibility and autonomy, requesting all staff to be in the office on a particular day each week may seem controversial. However, the main reason people choose to go into the office over home is to collaborate and socialise. A report from RMIT ‘The Office Clash’ states that 91% of non-managers want more flexibility and that Australian workers desire an inspiring working environment and for their colleagues to be in the office with them when they are working. Naturally, this requires people to be physically present in the office.

Workplace culture is largely reliant on people to create an environment which is inspiring and productive for their fellow colleagues. Having 1-2 mandatory days where staff must be in the office, helps provide consistency, builds a sense of togetherness, and drives social connection and collaboration.

2. Consider your workplace offering

To assist employees to return into a permanent hybrid rhythm, businesses must consider; ‘how can we create a compelling experience for our people?’ Three main considerations need to be addressed here: the environment, the culture and the technology and how these three factors come together to create the overall office experience.

The office should offer something more, and be different to the experience of from working from home. Social and learning events are a great way to encourage people back to the office. This can include regular team lunches or milestone celebrations such as work anniversaries, and in-person learning related to wellness topics – these are all great ways to bring people back to the office.

To learn more about the expectations around hybrid work click here.

3. Make your office worth the commute – Ask your team

Finding the perfect balance between business needs (revenue creation and growth) with what staff desire from their working experience is where a business and its people will thrive. The best way to support your team and create the perfect balance of hybrid work is to consult, and then to take a test and learn approach when it comes to experimenting with different hybrid settings.

Finding out what employees consider to be important and identifying what would make the office a compelling environment is vital in creating a destination workplace. Often however, staff can be ‘surveyed out’ given the last few years, so creating engaging and interactive online workshops can help to capture sentiment and hopes for the future in a more instantaneous way, real-time. People in the workshop can see the outcomes as the workshop progresses, providing instant results and visual feedback.

To find out more about how you can turn your business into a destination workplace make an appointment to speak to one of our strategy consultants today.