Work Shift: Can Work Resorts Lure People Back to the Office?

October 10, 2023

At least that’s the idea behind “work resorts,” or offices that are more like boutique hotels than glass-and-steel skyscrapers. Outdoor gardens, cosy seating areas, co-working spaces and more secluded desks — all with a sleek, hotel-like feel — offer something for every type of worker. Art galleries, restaurants and cafes on the ground floor transform the building into a destination for the wider community beyond office workers.


Of course, packaging matters. “When you walk by the building, you just have to stop, look back, and say what is this? I want to be here,” said Matthias Hollwich, founder of New York-based architecture firm HWKN Architecture and a proponent of the idea. “It’s the end of the box. Sorry, Canary Wharf.”


The concept of work resorts is emerging as banks and other large employers are slipping out of aging high-rises in traditional business districts like London’s Canary Wharf or Paris’s La Defense, settling instead into more compact spaces surrounded by shops and cafes. Sticks like strict return-to-office mandates have so far produced mixed results in luring people back to their desks.