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Bursts of Color - What's Next for the Office?

Bursts of Color - What's Next for the Office?
By Geoff Donaker • Issue #16 • View online
When and how will your company return to the office? I’ve asked many of you this question over the past month. A few of you are keeping your existing office lease and want to make a full return ASAP. At the other end of the spectrum, a few are going all-remote and consciously trying to hire talent in low cost geographies. Most of you are somewhere in between: the median answer seems to be that you want your teams to meet in person 2 or 3 days a week.

Office 2.0?
Office 2.0?
What Does a Part-Time Office Look Like?
In principle, this idea of working part-time in an office sounds like a good compromise between the benefits of remote work (less commuting and fewer germs) and office work (better culture and collaboration). In practice, this can quickly get complicated… especially if you wish to foster cross-pollination between different groups and functions. Some of the ideas I’ve heard thus far include:
  • Leasing a full office that people only visit on designated days, like Group A on Mondays and Group B on Tuesdays.
  • Splitting a lease with another company and only having access half the days.
  • Doing without an office lease, but rather renting venues intermittently, like one week together each month.
The Benefits of the Real World
A friend recently said: “every day out of the office, we’re deducting a dollar from the culture bank.” I tend to agree with this: while there are many advantages of remote work, I have not found a good substitute for the relationship-building or serendipitous ideas that come from being with other people in real life. At Yelp we tried to have remote team members get together for at least a week each quarter. And over the last few weeks, a number of you have started experimenting with different kinds of small group meetups like walks, outdoor dining, or bringing just a few people to the office. As I’ve slowly restarted these things myself, I’ve certainly enjoyed them more than most calls or videos.
One Idea: AirBnB Meets WeWork
You may be interested to check out Codi (disclaimer: I’m an investor), which allows teams to rent hyperlocal workspaces in homes. This approach has the advantage of convenient IRL meeting space with lower costs and more flexibility than a typical office. Codi expects Bay Area locations to re-open in mid July, and can find new sources of supply when companies request certain neighborhoods, house types, etc. If you’d like to learn more or share your requests, please drop Head of Growth Cullen McAlpine a note at, or let me know if you’d like an intro to Founder/CEO Christelle Rohaut.
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Geoff Donaker

Bursts of Color is a newsletter for start-up leaders who work with Burst Capital. It's meant to include products, people and ideas that I think are interesting and maybe relevant for you.

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