The below excerpt is from Industrious’ newest guide, The 30% Rule: Planning Your Team’s Return to the Office.

As vaccination rates accelerate this spring, you are likely tasked with determining the purpose your workplace should serve and how best you can support your employees. For many companies, the first phase is to solve for a hybrid approach — that is, one that allows for a combination of remote and in-person work.

This guide is intended to help support your transition from fully-remote to a hybrid workforce by offering a simple starting point and the iterative, repeatable steps that can help you find the longer-term path for your company.

While there have been strong proclamations from some companies about how they will use the workplace — such as Twitter, allowing employees to work from home permanently, or JP Morgan, mandating a specific date for senior managers to return to the office, with a few exceptions — most companies are in the process of determining the best workplace solution for them in response to a diverse set of employee and team needs in a dynamic, uncertain environment.

This hybrid setup is unfamiliar territory for many. Generally, employers’ position
on employees’ in-person attendance has been pretty conservative — perhaps an extension from our school or college days when not being present in a class was understood as a tacit admission that you weren’t studying or doing the work. The pandemic has shown that we are doing the work. Many organizations are reporting that productivity has been at par or higher than it was pre-COVID-19. However, social connection and collaboration, the work culture that bonds us around a mission, and the advancement of common goals have suffered.

As a result, the office we return to should be less like a classroom with neatly
lined rows of desks and more like a student center — a magnet of social activity, connection, and collaboration. This type of workplace serves multiple purposes. It is a center for institutional, top-down, very intentional programming and activities (e.g. all-hands meetings or new hire training); it is the hub for self-organized meetings among departments (e.g. team meetings); and it is a place where serendipitous, ad hoc interactions happen between employees (e.g. those water cooler moments).