While this may be an old and belabored topic, I still think it warrants a conversation at the very least, especially for startups and other fast-growing companies. The discussion over office space versus remote work has been on my mind a great deal lately as Veritonic continues to grow.
In the early stages of a startup, opting exclusively for remote work is a huge advantage when it comes to cost savings. And at a time when every dollar counts to keep the business forging ahead, expenses that would otherwise be used for office space can be better utilized with marketing or hiring great talent.
Remote work as a cost savings measure is also incredibly appealing for startups in major metro areas like New York City or San Francisco, where real estate prices are among the highest in the world.
And for small, close-knit teams, remote work may be highly productive (reduced commute times, flexible schedules, etc.).
At the same time, I still believe there is a tremendous value in personal interaction and collaboration in the physical space.
I believe there is a threshold (Jeff Bezos's two pizza rule for meeting productivity comes to mind here) where a team needs a physical space, a home base.
So what's the solution? I think it's a healthy balance of both.
Growing teams need the office, the home base where the right company culture can be fostered, the meeting space, and the human interaction that encourages a team-oriented mindset. But they also need the flexibility to stay at home and get in the zone without interruption if a project or task requires it.
So in my opinion, the office should be there. It should be accessible 24/7, with no set number of office hours (I don't believe the 9-5 is productive or healthy). It should be a place where teams can meet up, and a home base for employees needing a change of perspective from their remote space.
And I believe that design is important. Just as my last blog post discussed the blog as your personal home base, the office is the company's home base. And just as your website should have good design, your physical office space should too.
When it comes to experience design and productivity optimization, the same digital rules apply to physical space. In other words, the design of physical space is just as important as digital space. They go hand in hand, and are increasingly one in the same.
My musings on productivity of remote work versus office space have absolutely no data to back them, just my personal experience. I'm really curious if there have been any studies or data sets to back employee productivity or wellness metrics comparing remote work to office work. If you know of any good ones, or have thoughts on this topic, please reach out on social!