Is the 3-2-2 model the future of work? Expert weighs in

The traditional 9-5 work week has been challenged over the past year thanks to COVID-19. Gone are the days, for now at least, where we spend our Mondays to Fridays in a typical office environment. Some might still be doing that, although those numbers have significantly dropped in favor of thousands of employees doing their jobs in a work from home environment.

There is a new concept on the rise, however, that could become our new norm before, during or after COVID has officially moved out of our lives. Its called 3-2-2, where people would opt to work three days in the office, two from home, and off for the other two. 

This has become a major topic across the internet that have people discussing it with varying opinions. Some see this as a positive as it allows them a ton of flexibility with their personal and professional lives while others question if it should work based on factors like objectives, industry and the individual companies themselves.

Real estate expert and CEO of cove Adam Segal chatted with The Ladders about his take on all things 3-2-2 and what it means for office trends in the upcoming year.  

The 3-2-2 concept has grown exponentially. Is this something you support not only for cove but other companies who used to do the whole 9-5/5 days a week in a shared space?

COVID-19 has changed the way businesses think about the office and its role in their operations. Moving forward, companies will focus on how people are most productive. For a lot of businesses, this will lead to empowered employees with greater flexibility to choose when and where they work. The 3-2-2 concept is one solution that will become even more popular – it enables people with choices but also accounts for in-person interaction.

What other trends are you and your team members seeing on the market compared to 3-2-2?

The office, like so much of our lives, should and will be digitized to ensure everyone has a modern, more personalized experience. That is where we come in. As an organization, our team is on a mission to provide the technology and services to ensure real estate is a great and engaging experience.

We provide the technology to ensure a company can move to a 3-2-2 model and remain just as productive and happy as they ever were.  In the market, many companies are open and exploring options that enables more choice for employees.

This can be satellite offices as well as more flexible work-from-home policies. The office is not going away, it is just evolving. Those companies that value the office as a key resource to engagement and culture will realize new benefits.

Do you think doing this will ultimately help companies find other places that they can spend less money on, compared to the high rents they’re dishing out at their current place of business? 

Ultimately, companies should reverse engineer for their objectives as an organization. If cost savings is one of them, then this will be important to consider. Most companies do want to save money but also want to optimize for what makes them most productive and produces the best output.

The office can be a great resource to increase productivity, maximize culture, and optimize output — however its role will evolve with the exact needs of each company. This can mean anything from being an everyday workspace for every person to being built around meeting rooms, collaboration zones, and social moments.

Is the 3-2-2 thing something Cove does or is thinking about doing?

At cove, we take a very personalized approach to work. No two companies are the same. At the same time, no two people work the same. We believe that the office is an incredibly valuable place and one that will continue to evolve with us — but also a key resource to how we operate.

We are choosing not to go to any one specific model like 3-2-2, but instead focusing on productivity and personalization, while also ensuring and accounting for in-person team time.

COVID has drastically shaken the corporate office infrastructure as we know it. Do you think it has changed things for good or do you think at some point we will go back to how things were before this pandemic began?

There will always be a place for the office, but its role has and will continue to evolve. And this makes sense — our work behaviors, tools, and focus have evolved. So should our office solutions. To truly become a key resource, the office should lean into what makes it unique — a place to come together as opposed to a required 9-5, everyday requirement.

Once the vaccine eventually becomes accessible to all, concepts like 3-2-2 will become quite common place. One thing is for sure, nothing will never be able to replace the benefits of human interaction. At cove, we provide the technology and service that unlocks a modern workplace for companies, but also enables office building owners to meet modern work demands.

How have you been able to keep your company upbeat and happy throughout such a difficult time in the world, especially with them working remotely? 

While we’ve always had work-from-home options available to us a team, it had never been intended for a 100% remote-based workforce. Over the past few months, the biggest missing piece we’ve felt is on the social side.

To create a stronger “remote-proof culture” – as we call it – that adds a valuable dose of humanity to the employer employee relationship, we’ve tried to instill a culture of personalization and listening at every level and align the entire organization to core values.

One example, at cove, we internally curate and mail themed boxes to all staff on a monthly basis that includes productivity tools, personalized notes, and food or snacks  — everything you could want at your doorstep hand-selected by their own team and informed by who we are: corporate culture advocates.