When I first started the research for this report back in July—a lifetime ago!—the goal was to lay out the best thinking about how to manage a safe return to the workplace. But as time passed, it became increasingly clear that “return” and “workplace” were no longer so straightforward. Instead, the entire premise of a workplace—its location, function, requirements, value proposition—were now open to reinterpretation.

While COVID-19 didn’t create the trend toward distributed workplaces, it did accelerate and dramatically rewrite our assumptions. Before the pandemic, many people had the option (or the requirement) to work onsite. Working from home was an exception in many cases; now it’s a norm.

The core question leaders face today is fundamental: What is a workplace? What do we need from it? How do we design it? How do we evaluate it? And, most importantly, how do we design for growth in a distributed environment?

This report, Strategies for Growth in the Reimagined Workplace, is the first in a three-part series sponsored by Autodesk. It:

  • Examines the key shifts we are seeing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and other macroeconomic, industry, design, and technology trends;
  • Explores the role of the distributed workplace as an engine for growth;
  • Identifies key insights and strategies from leaders across a range of industries; and
  • Includes a checklist of factors leaders should consider as they refine their plans.

The next report will focus on relationships; specifically, how the ways we interact with customers, employees, and partners are changing, and how we can design digital experiences that foster preference and trust. Finally, the series will conclude with a look at the opportunities and new business models this unprecedented set of circumstances has revealed, enabling businesses to grow and thrive even in the most dynamic and challenging circumstances.

My thanks to everyone who so generously contributed their time and insights to this report so that we may all learn from each other.