Making the Office a Community-driven Workplace Destination

Originally published on March 26, 2021, by Cary Chandler and Ellen Lieder for NAIOP

Although the long-term impacts of the pandemic on the office environment are yet to be determined, many knowledge workers could eventually go back to the office. When workers return to urban office towers, they may anticipate an exceptional experience that delivers more than their home office could offer: a workplace destination that has community attractions they’ve craved over several months of remote work.

While in the short term, building owners are addressing immediate safety issues and protocols, the longer-term reality is looming. As a private, dedicated workspace has become a luxury rather than a given, the need to deliver more than places to perform tasks has become an imperative. The workplace must now deliver a first impression that will serve as an impetus for community building and shared purpose, productive individual spaces, and “third places” (neither home nor office) that support innovation and collaboration.

All of that might seem like a tall order, even for high-rise office buildings. Here are a few ways office building owners in downtown Chicago are reinventing their properties as urban workplace destinations.


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