Can a dedicated office space improve employee engagement even if some are remote?

3.2k views2 Upvotes81 Comments

Director of IT in Software, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
I wonder whether it was having an in-office experience that impacted the engagement on my teams in the past. That's the piece that I still cannot puzzle through. When I was working at a previous organization, I had teams in every region and I’ve been trying to figure out why my current situation feels so different. I only saw those teams three times a year at best. Now I'm still remote from everybody, they're just also local to me, so why is the engagement different? Is it because I was still going to an office back then? 
1 Reply
CIO in Finance (non-banking), 51 - 200 employees

If I had to guess the reason for that difference, my hypothesis would be that the office is the common denominator. As leaders, we're all culture carriers and you get that from being in an office. Most offices behave how the company behaves. We're all remote right now, but we're kind of struggling through that so I don't know if misery is good company. But the connective tissue of a building is where culture breathes.

VP IT (CIO role) in Healthcare and Biotech, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
in short - yes.  of course some of it depends on personality and also the type of work.  Here a recent related article
SVP - Software Engineering in Finance (non-banking), 201 - 500 employees
Yes, but it has to be done intentionally- eg. Everyone still come on video, let remote people talk/raise hands/etc. if you are not conscious, it can be counter productive where remote people feel like they are missing out and won’t feel as engaged long term.
Director of Product Engineering & IT in Software, 51 - 200 employees
Depends.  Improve for who?  While it might improve the engagement for the local people it also has the real possibility of creating a break in the organization of those who are IN office vs those that are remote.  If that break widens it can lead to the remote employees resenting the in person employees (for not including them often enough) and possibly even hurt the remote employees job prospects (person not visible may end up being by passed for a promotion).
Vice President Global Head of Value Engineering in Software, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
Yes I believe so when used for the right occasion. We have definitely see the hybrid workplace model take firm shape and people have realised that there are efficiency gains to be had by working remotely on an effective basis. However there are merits to getting into office - examples include brainstorming and idea generation sessions, team building sessions, onboarding sessions, and enablement sessions. Each of these sessions benefits from in-person interactions and free flow of thoughts and ideas that otherwise might be curtailed in a remote setting. Companies can be smarter though as these do not require as much of dedicated space as was utilised in the past and can make optimal decisions on what the best arrangement would be.
Director of Tech and Cyber Strategy in Finance (non-banking), 1,001 - 5,000 employees
I think it depends. Some work is more suited for remote then others and people’s circumstances differ. The main thing with this is making sure that whether peoples work remotely, hybrid, or in person as long as they deliver value there is isn’t any inherent bias action one form of working or another.

There definite value in people meeting face-to-face at some frequency: the question is really how much (does it need to be a few times a week, a month, a quarter, etc.) and how.

I think it’s also a function of company size. If you’re a larger company you have more scale to afford the real estate; if you’re smaller an offsite might be a better use of funds. Also in larger companies it can take more to have people feel connected since there are more layers between teams.
CIO in Software, 51 - 200 employees
For the cloud/digital native millienal employee base - not that much. Organizations are having turn over ratio of north of 20% per year so in last 3-4 years practically half of organizations have been replaced. A new office will set up the cultural base..reboot the organization base and also be the listening post of what is going on. Remote working and great recession are connected for a reason. I believe that dedicated office space will bring belongingness back to employee
AVP and Deputy CIO in Education, 10,001+ employees
Improve over what?   Not having a dedicated office space?  Define dedicated office space and is it equal?  Does everyone get a suite or an assigned desk in a open concert floor plan?  Define engagement?  The ability to interact with colleagues and be productive or engage with clients/customers/creativity? What problem are you trying to solve?  How do remote employees fit into the equation?
Chief Medical Information Officer in Healthcare and Biotech, 10,001+ employees
Yes I believe so. Gives employees a sense of ownership over their domain.
no title, Self-employed
It can only improve engagement if there are enough members of the team local enough to take advantage of the space. Otherwise, it is a potential dead space in terms of spend.

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CTO in Software, 201 - 500 employees
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