“Approaching people looking for something in return isn’t a relationship, it’s a transaction.”
— Mark Manson
One of the things we’ve all been reading a lot about is how the workplace may change in a post-COVID world. From the day many of us began working from home, there were discussions and articles and news stories exploring the ways in which things may or may not change.
Six months later, one of the main things that seems obvious is that the open floor plans that were de rigueur for all sorts of creative, high-tech and otherwise innovative companies, are no longer. If we’re not figuring out temporary fixes on the fly, we’re rethinking communal space altogether.
In an article in the Wall Street Journal, Christopher Mims wrote, “The open office tried to improve the office-work status quo; the dynamic workplace has to convince people to even bother showing up.”
The idea of a transactional space, built merely to satisfy the requirements of the transaction, would no longer be enough to encourage people to show up. We needed something beyond transactional. We needed it to be emotional, intuitive, collaborative and essential.
Far beyond the needs of the office, where you might be encouraged to attend whether you want to or not, there are larger questions concerning spaces such as retail, hospitality, restaurants, resorts, and multi-family residential buildings. If we go beyond merely what you need, how do we impress upon the customer the desire? How do we design spaces that cause you want to go, when you don’t have to go?
Take retail for example. Sure you can buy it online, but it could be so much more exciting to go to an actual place, if only that place offered an immersive experience not possible anywhere else. What if the product was the experience, or at least a defining part of it. Or imagine that we treat hospitality as something so much more than treating you like you were home. All the comforts and safety you’d want without leaving your home, but with sensory experiences you’d never have there, and inspirations you might consider adding. Restaurants too must offer an engaging, interactive experience of dining, and not just eating. There is more to a gastronomical journey than not having to wash the dishes when you are done.
If we can connect with people in their hearts, their minds (and butts) will follow.