The ‘Back-to-Office’ Push Is Over—But Workplace Strategy Is More Important Than Ever

Three years since the shift to hybrid work, many U.S. employees continue to prefer working from home, with data showing a consistent level of remote workdays since 2021.

In other words, the ‘back-to-office’ conversation is over. So, what next?

Creating better work experiences for employees should still be the number one goal of any company. But achieving this requires a new, more strategic approach to workplace. It means understanding that your people’s working experiences are not limited to the work they perform, but where and how they perform it.

To be clear, when we say “workplace”, we are not only talking about office jobs. A workplace is anywhere that people work. Workplaces come in all shapes and sizes: Offices, laboratories, warehouses, production and logistics facilities, manufacturing, and hospitality venues. 


What is a Workplace Strategy?

A workplace strategy defines how an organization manages and organizes its people in relation to their work environment. It tells your workers that, no matter where or how they choose to work, you are committed to providing them with the best experience possible—not just on day one, but throughout their careers.

At SMMA, we believe every organization needs a workplace strategy as a fundamental result of its business and people strategies. Our role is to help you synthesize your business and people strategies and align those strategic goals and perspectives with your workplace strategy.

We have built workplace strategies for a broad mix of clients, from life science and fintech start-ups to global technology companies. Even landlords and developers benefit from understanding workplace strategy: Knowing what your potential customers are looking for is a prerequisite to making your product—i.e. a building—more marketable.

Why do I need a Workplace Strategy? 

Many companies see workplace strategy as an offshoot of their real estate strategy. Figure out your location, goes the thinking, and talent will follow.

This, in our opinion, is backwards. You cannot know where your business should function before you know what kind of environment your people are likely to thrive in. A workplace strategy will define this all-important criterion.

The advantages of a workplace strategy are threefold. First, it will position you to design dynamic and high-performance workplaces that your employees will love. 

Second, it will allow you to make more informed real estate decisions and better optimize your portfolio. Third, it will create feedback mechanisms that allow you to continually evolve your workplace environment to both reflect and support your organization’s evolution—no matter what earth-changing events may lie ahead.


SMMA’s workplace strategy service provides clients with a comprehensive living document you can draw upon to fine-tune your real estate strategy in perpetuity. Talk with us to explore the next steps toward developing a strategy that suits your company’s unique goals.