Welcome to the first issue of our newsletter- Humans @Work. In this series we will share some of our own thoughts as well as those of other companies and individuals who inspire us. We hope you find it useful, and we would love to hear from you.Thanks,





Well before the current public health crisis, workplace strategists around the world were busy implementing innovations in how people work. This included varieties of activity based working (ABW), hot desking, remote working, and coworking. Over the past five years this new portfolio of options has made its way into the mainstream. This is the good news- companies and workplace strategists have been actively exploring more flexible working approaches for some time.

Even still, no one was fully prepared for Covid-19. The near-overnight adaptation to working from home (WFH) was not in anyone’s plans. That said, across the workplace strategy industry many of us have thought about and planned for a variety of future-scenarios that might unfold. The world is busy mapping out the future of work.

Prior to the current WFH moment, employees from many companies (particularly Millennials and Gen Z) have been saying quite loudly they want choice and flexibility in wherewhen, and how they work. Some companies were moving in that direction before Covid, others not so much. Today, though, all companies have a fresh opportunity to revisit the issue of choice.

Two Dimensions

There are two dimensions to the adaptation at hand. One is physical and the other is organizational. Workplaces will need to change to accommodate fewer people on campus. And organizations will need to become more fluid and dynamic and attuned to the rhythms of employees. We are following some great work being done out there in both areas.

The Physical

Cushman and Wakefield have been successfully returning people to the workplace in China for several weeks, and their guidance on doing this thoughtfully and safely has quickly become an industry standard. Their concept of the Six Feet Office might turn out to be a template for moving forward.

Steelcase has recently published their version of a ‘return to the office playbook.’ Called Navigating What’s Next, they outline a three phase process designed to help companies deal with the immediate crisis, the short term, and the long term. Their Now, Near, Far, approach outlines best practices for firms struggling to find a cadence for returning to the office.

The Organizational

So much will have changed by the time companies reset their HR practices post-Covid that we will be looking for new leadership in how to manage people. This will be a time where conventional HR advisory services won’t be very helpful. Thankfully, a new breed of organizational consultancies has been offering up truly flexible and human-centered models for managing people and organizations.

We are really inspired by The Ready, an organizational transformation agency that is defining the future of organizational consulting. Their newsletter, Brave New Work, is a must read for companies looking to unlock the future-potential of your people in an uncertain future.

And finally, our collective post-Covid adaptation is an opportunity for us to prioritize the values that are important to us. Some of the things we need to do will in the short term be crisis intervention types of things. But once the dust settles, we hope that organizations will take the opportunity to think more holistically and sustainably about how they manage their companies. For this challenge, we are greatly inspired by the idealism of Undercurrent. Their radical goal of transforming capitalism comes at a very opportune time. As we all reassemble the pieces going forward, we will eventually be judged by the decisions we are making now.

Thank you!
We appreciate you spending time with the first issue of our newsletter.
Interested in learning more about what we do and how we work?
Please check out the information below.

Read the White Paper

White Paper Preview

This new white paper from OpenWork’s Founding Partner, Drew Jones, PhD, outlines the challenges and opportunities that companies face as they plan their return to the office.

Provided is a roadmap for how companies can reframe the current crisis as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It discusses two important opportunities: 1.) Rationalizing real estate to reduce costs; 2.) Honoring employee choice and preference to attract + retain talent.

The five-step framework presented in the paper outlines how companies can strategically respond to Covid-19 by building a flexible and people-centered workplace + workforce strategy.


Model the Opportunity
Model Scenario Preview
Where will your employees likely be working the next year or two? Which employees will thrive in which type of environment going forward? What will be the implications for your real estate footprint and the future of your office?These are the questions (and answers) we  explore in the Workplace Strategy & Scenario Modeling process. By modeling different scenarios of the who, how, and when company employees will return to the office, companies are able to gain clarity on the transformative path ahead. Data from smart surveys are integrated into a data-rich report, which serves as a roadmap to help companies with their return-to-work-strategy.

Shout Out

Bridge to the New Normal

We recently attended a webinar delivered by Corgan, entitled Bridge to the New Normal, which was extremely informative. We have worked with Corgan on several projects over the past few years, and we always find their work and thinking to be inspiring. The innovative research coming out of their R&D lab- Hugo– is state of the art and worth keeping an eye on!


Get in Touch


If you’d like to have a chat about your workplace project, we’re here to help. Email us at hello@openwork.agency or schedule a call directly.