April 13, 2024


Think Differently

How Marriott, Spotify, and Capital A single are redesigning the workplace for a September place of work return

Practically three several years after the very first COVID-19 outbreak transformed the way we do the job, its affect on company workplaces has started off to materialize. As extra firms accommodate hybrid operate, they’re improving and revamping the place of work, hoping to draw in workers to occur to the business office now that distant operate is a much more recognized element of our life.

Fortune spoke with senior management at Spotify, Marriott, and Funds A person about their actual estate and office environment house selections. While some common themes stand out—all a few are prioritizing adaptability and comfort—how they’re going about the workplace redesign differs.


Marriott Intercontinental, the largest resort corporation in the globe, is opening a new headquarters on Sept. 19 in Bethesda, Maryland. Even though it began arranging for the new creating six many years ago, COVID-19 transformed the selection of workstations the corporation allotted to each individual worker and its all round method to communal areas. Marriott also created significant investments in features these types of as its totally-staffed on-web site daycare.

Tim Grisius, Marriott’s worldwide head of M&A, enhancement, and true estate, carefully refers to the outdated headquarters, created in 1979, as “a little bit of a dinosaur,” which experienced “really dated, inadequate technology, and was in an office park.”

The new headquarters are centrally situated four blocks away from a D.C. Metro station and up coming to a brand new Marriott lodge. The two buildings are related by a plaza, which will be named immediately after the company’s former CEO Arne Sorenson, who died of pancreatic most cancers in 2021.

Marriott Intercontinental

A podium is found just previous the turnstiles, in an open corridor that can encompass 1,000 people thanks to the open up flooring plan, with foyer views from the mezzanine and third floor, bleacher seating that runs together with a two-tale staircase, and an outside patio all around the second-ground cafeteria.

“When we extra the mezzanine flooring, we [used] 10,000 sq. feet for far more collaboration space, so there’s open seating [and] far more conference rooms,” Grisius says. He points to a staircase that’s 20 ft large. “You can sit and appear down to the foyer level and really have a town corridor working experience. And we can broadcast that globally.”

Even though organizing for the new workplaces started pre-pandemic, the organization has produced some slight changes motivated by its rising acceptance of get the job done flexibility. Several company employees perform on teams these kinds of as hotel functions, new web page enhancement, and marketing, that require common vacation and conferences with exterior and interior companions.

“We’re going to encourage people today even right after the pandemic to have a great deal a lot more of a adaptable operate routine,” clarifies Grisius, who suggests he’s on the road about 100 times for each year. “They’ll probably appear to the business more for collaboration and conferences.”

Some modifications to the building’s first plan—which, despite the fact that negligible, have been precipitated by the pandemic—include the elimination of about a quarter of workstations in favor of meeting rooms and open up spaces. “We didn’t do away with that space, we just put considerably extra versatile room there,” Grisius claims.

As a hospitality organization, Marriott currently has contacts with style industry experts who work on its 8,000 resorts, and was able to tap the information of its current global structure workforce.

“It’s the exact strategy as the resort facet, wherever you’re striving to deliver overall flexibility for your friends. [At work], that foyer space is for colleagues who are assembly and collaborating,” Grisius says. Equivalent to the hotel aspect, Grisius states he and his workforce meticulously examined the business office household furniture, creating guaranteed the heights of tables made feeling for the way they were to be made use of, and the stiffness of seating and couches was ideal for the areas they occupied.

Right after reducing its company workforce by around 30% from 2019 to 2020, which noticed its business enterprise drop 90% by April 2020 (calculated by Revenue for every offered home, or RevPAR, a vital business indicator), Marriott is staffing up. The several bells and whistles of the new headquarters are meant to catch the attention of future staff members and preserve existing ones. Those people amenities consist of the new daycare center and mother’s home, standing desks attached to treadmills, a physical fitness center with Peloton bikes, leisure pods, a new innovation lab, and a exam kitchen area with bar seating.

So far, Marriott has proven a phased shift-in system, with some teams back again in the business by now. All staff members will be asked to come to the place of work by its September opening, below a hybrid performing design.

Marriott Worldwide

Capital A person

Whilst Cash One particular is not opening a new business, the fiscal solutions organization has produced a great deal of adjustments to its office environment space and office know-how in anticipation of a September return. 

Most meeting rooms are now upgraded with video clip technologies, which was only in a smaller share of convention rooms beforehand. The business also produced a new employee app, termed “@Operate,” which will help staff navigate the campus, indicator up for desks, discover means like workplace provides or printers, and even buy food items.

“We have some associates who have been employed all through the pandemic and haven’t definitely been in workplaces yet,” says Todd Cassidy, controlling vice president and chief of employees to the CTO. “Being capable to know where by to go and have a little something at their fingertips will be definitely practical.”

Some worker providers are now also automated for ease of use. 1 case in point is a chatbot for IT solutions such as password resetting or activating a new unit like function laptops or telephones. Capital Just one has also flipped on capabilities in Google Calendar so attendees can share their do the job destinations, and meeting organizers can prepare appropriately.

The most significant update was the movie conferencing capabilities included to much more assembly rooms in the company’s McLean, Virginia headquarters. Fred Really like, director of unified conversation, suggests that when this was a significant in general price, the expense to equip a place with online video-conferencing capabilities has become substantially reduced than in decades previous, by about 1-3rd. The technological know-how is also extra quickly out there.

With a return-to-office date of September 6, staff are now anticipated to be in the place of work at the very least some of the time concerning Tuesday and Thursday. The firm is also tests new capabilities like digital whiteboards that assistance merge in-person and digital collaboration, and how to greatest connect personnel into virtual conferences from the place of work.

“We’re tests some of the new features that are coming out with Zoom to be in a position to whiteboard on your desktop just as simply as you can go up to touchscreens inside of the convention home,” Cassidy says.


At Spotify, the work to redevelop operate spaces also commenced pre-pandemic, with programs to transition to a remote-initially, dispersed workforce. Throughout the pandemic, the streaming system opened new places of work in Los Angeles, Milan, Mumbai, Atlanta, Paris, Toronto, Miami, Singapore, and Berlin and introduced that employees could work from wherever the corporation had a existence. Nine current world-wide places of work, which include New York Town, San Francisco, Sydney, and Stockholm, were refitted to accommodate the new operate model.

The Los Angeles office environment offers a free cafeteria in the design and style of an aged faculty diner, a screening space, concert venue, recording studios, and a crack space that overlooks the out of doors established of the Fx television demonstrate It is Usually Sunny in Philadelphia.

“What we attempted to do in each and every one place of work was convey in that social component, together with a concentrate on collaboration [spaces],” Sonya Simmonds, head of office innovation & style and design, states. In other phrases, the office is significantly additional individuals-centric.

The L.A. campus incorporates two major properties. One homes a large cafe, various meeting rooms, and focus spots for employees. An additional holds the cafeteria, a location with a stage, recording studios, and extra work spaces. Workers also have accessibility to lockers, a requirement now that most staff don’t have assigned desks.

“It’s about us staying individuals and staying comfortable in the area,” Simmonds says. “When you incorporate much better lights, additional foliage, more ease and comfort, extra acoustics, it begins to feel a little bit extra homely. It does not make that seem to be like this sort of a extend from staying in your residence surroundings.”

In line with its renewed concentrate on collaboration, Spotify leadership gained design and style input from staff symbolizing just about every division at every single office spot. Each and every section occupies “neighborhoods” that involve attributes asked for by the associates but that are also adaptable. So if at 1st a community is evenly break up between desks and collaboration regions, it can later on be altered to contain concentrate regions or supplemental desks. The section reps can pick out from 10 things, such as whiteboards or tables, to hire in their neighborhoods.

“It was a genuinely very good work out to co-build in that way,” Simmonds suggests, noting that each group experienced a few or four representatives from all stages of the office. “Not automatically hierarchical.”