Bringing Smarter Spaces and a Workplace Network to Life
In the past, we had a relatively simple and straightforward way of providing workplaces to Spotifiers – a simple supply & demand model. One employee equals one desk, and one desk equals a number of square feet. Using this model, our workforce and workplace growth have been linear. As we enter a new era of workforce structure with Work from Anywhere (WFA), it’s obvious that we’ll also need a new workplace model. So what is it?
Dynamic Demand and Supply
As we now start to gradually re-open our offices (ROTO) we also move into our new reality. We are not expecting everyone to come to the office full time. Even if a person has chosen what we call ‘Office Mix’, which means that the majority of the time will be spent in the office, we don’t expect that person to come into the office every day or even spend the full day when coming in. We also have a big part of the organisation that has chosen ‘Home Mix’, but they will also come into the office from time to time. Therefore, the demand has become much more dynamic and much more unpredictable.
Having an optimized supply is important from both an experience perspective and from a resource perspective, so we need to have a new supply strategy to ensure we continue to deliver the best experience for our employees and visitors to the office.
Dynamic Workplace For Greater Flexibility
Using a Dynamic Workplace approach to design our workspaces has meant we’ve already become much more people-centric than the office design of the recent past. We’re already working hard to use our spaces in the most sustainable, flexible ways, and with the well-being of our employees as a central pillar. In addition, it’s a much more robust solution which is more capable of handling increasing variations in workplace needs. It allows us to absorb changes more quickly by being more flexible, and therefore is the key to the success of our new balancing act between supply and demand.
Data Informed Development of Our Workplaces
As we welcome our band members into the workplace, we’ll need to evaluate, adjust and adapt to findings we make along the way. We aim to better understand how we utilise our offices on a more ongoing and granular basis, so that we can make more informed decisions about our spaces & services and inspire sustainable future space planning.
To support this we’re implementing a space utilisation program, where we can measure occupancy across the various spaces in our offices. With our analysis platform reading this data in real-time, we’ll be able to gain a picture of how our spaces are being used as it happens. The data from this platform will have the massive benefit of informing continuous adaptations of existing spaces and supporting our mid and long term planning.
Our Workplace Network
The Spotify Work From Anywhere Program means that the office is no longer expected to be the only place where we can work, meet and collaborate. The office is one of our physical locations together with home offices and co-working spaces. Moving forward, we see our physical locations forming a workplace network.
Every location is a node in the network and the network shall support Spotify’s Distributed-First Strategy. We aim to provide an excellent experience when coming to our Spotify offices, and know that we must provide consistency in terms of quality of experience in all our workplace nodes. So, as we consider the future of the workplace and our workplace network, the most prominent questions are:
- What should our network look like to support the business and our current band members in the best possible way, and continue to attract and retain talent?
- What new types of nodes should we add in addition to our existing ones?
- Where should new nodes be located?
- How do we ensure that we are always working in the most flexible and sustainable way?
Right now, we’re focusing on the development of these future nodes together with our people and ironing out the expected challenges in achieving parity across the nodes. It’s a difficult and complex task, and we don’t have absolute certainty on how all our workplaces of the future will look. Our first new node will be the ‘Seasonal Hub’ in Åre (a popular ski resort in Sweden). The purpose of choosing this node is to provide Spotifiers with an alternative place to work for a limited period of time. Our data shows us that our band mates are spending more time away from the big cities, so this location provides a place for physical activities and cultural experiences. As always, it’s a bet we’re making and time will tell if it’s a winning bet or not. If it’s successful, we will continue to add this new style of node in other places around the world.
There are still many uncertainties, but what is guaranteed is that having a mindset to try, test, and gather data to make sure we’re informed is crucial to being able to work in a fully distributed fashion. And that this will be a journey where we lean on our culture, our learning environment, our sense of curiosity and our growth mindset – that’s inevitable. What we know for certain, it’ll be one hell of a ride of controlled chaos, where we will get the chance to push boundaries and shape the future of workplaces.