The future of work anywhere: gardens, stores and hotels

The future of the workplace in a post-pandemic world remains in focus, but suffice it to say that many workers will have more choices about where they work.

According to a recent Gallup poll, some office time still seems to be the best. After all, sharing the workplace with kids, dogs, and doing laundry for the past nineteen months have been major challenges. Many people crave social bonds and cooperation in a societal environment. However, workers have been slow to return to the high-rise office buildings in the city center, making space perhaps for something in between.

Rodney Moreh runs SourceM, a small sustainable product development agency in Los Angeles, so he needs space to get his scattered team together at least two days a week to review the products they’re working on.

“As we go through this whole strange transition from everyone who works in the office, to everyone who works at home and now kind of somewhere in between, employees and workers are looking for a place that if they have to go that makes them happy,” he said.

So he moved his company from a garden variety office to an actual garden.

People work on computers in a large brick patio at Second Home Hollywood, where trees grow from tablet computers.  String of lights running through the trees.
More than half of the space on Second Home Hollywood’s 2-acre campus is outdoors. (Iwan Ban’s photo of the second house)

“It’s really funny when we’re on Zoom and someone sees our background, they’re like, ‘Are you in a tropical landscape? ‘No, we’re just in our outside office,’ he said. ‘It’s like kind of working in a nice, quiet woodland, if you will.’

It’s called Second Home Hollywood, and it’s an arboretum-like co-working space that opened just before the pandemic, half the space entirely outdoors with desks nestled among ripe monstera plants and banana trees.

“We are now walking through a 1/2 acre park – what has been described as the densest urban woodland in Los Angeles,” said Rohan Silva, founder of Second Home. “There are 6,500 trees and plants, 112 different species.”

Second Home has several branches in Europe and plans to expand into the United States. It specializes in health-focused workspaces that are not like offices. Or homes, too. Perhaps a lot like the “second home” of a wealthy fairy-tale jet-rider who owns a tropical island – a home with a hospital level air filter. and a Michelin-starred restaurant on site. seriously.

A walkway in Second Home Hollywood is lined with green bushes planted in the ground on one side and in wooden boxes on the other.
Walkway amid 6,500 plants at Second Home Hollywood. (Photo by Megan McCarty Carino/Market)

“If your office is just a sterile room with dirty recycled air and so on, it can probably be very difficult to get people to come,” Silva said.

Private offices start around $3,000 per month, while “hot desks” like Rodney Moreh uses are around $400 per person. It will not suit everyone’s taste and budget, like the black sesame served in the restaurant. Apparently, it’s soup.

The point is that the more going to work becomes a choice, the more the workplace becomes somewhat of a consumer product, said Dror Polig, author of Rethinking Real Estate.

“So people will continue to use the space. And I think people are going to pay for it more than ever before — at least those who need it.” “But they’d be more conservative about that.”

Historically, he said, office space has been almost pleasant on purpose. Think elevator music: it’s just a background designed to insult or excite someone. But in the world of work anywhere, there are endless alternatives.

“What we’re starting to see is the emergence of these lifestyle desks or home-like desks, and crazier kinds of amenities and activities,” he said.

Saks Fifth Avenue is opening a number of stylish office spaces within department stores, restaurants have turned dining tables into bookable offices on apps like KettleSpace, and hotels are increasingly adding business packages, remote travel and co-working facilities.

said Kyle Artega, who runs Bulleit Group, a national marketing agency that has given up most of its office space during the pandemic. As public health conditions improve, teams are beginning to meet again, not in offices but in hotels at destinations chosen by staff.

“We want that separation from the homeland, because we all, you know, spend a lot of time there,” Arteaga said. “But at the same time, there are some benefits that we’ve kind of adapted to, and we want to continue that.”

He’s planning the next all-staff meeting for February at a hotel in Washington, D.C. Whether it will have a Michelin-starred restaurant on site is yet to be determined.

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