Hospitality and workspace blend: the future is a hotel-office hybrid

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The hospitality sector is transforming toward an increased integration with the workspace world. New needs that are reflected in a profound transformation of the spaces in which we live and work. One of the trends is towards an increasingly greater integration of the hospitality and workspace sectors: lodging facilities and workspaces are reinventing themselves as hybrid spaces. work and leisure is increasingly blurred


The hospitality sector is transforming toward an increased integration with the workspace world. Thomas Bialas, futurologist and head of the Future Management Tools project at CFMT, was already stating this in 2017: “The majority of hotels were conceived and built in an era very different from the one we are living in now. It was the time of industrial civilization and Fordism, and there was a clear division between work and leisure time. Now everything has shifted, and there is no more separation. How many people work through computers, phones, and iPads even while on vacation? We are facing hybrid and deconstructed situations, and hospitality spaces must adapt.” In essence, the focus of the hotel industry is no longer solely on comfort, but also and above all on flexibility: mixed and multifunctional spaces are proliferating, where the boundary between work and leisure is increasingly blurred.


  • One of the new trends is to transform hotel rooms into offices, reorganizing the spaces to maximize their use and attract a broader market, including remote-working employees. Shifting employees to remote mode is indeed a widely spreading trend in companies, as they are rethinking their organization by integrating remote work and office work. The supply of flexible spaces where companies can relocate remote-working employees is already extensive, but these facilities often rent offices on a weekly or monthly basis; the hybrid hotel can meet the demand for workspaces for a few days or even just a few hours, creating a new market capable of addressing the needs of many. The impact on revenue is significant. According to real estate advisor Colliers International, integrating multifunctional co-working offices can increase hotel revenue by up to 20%. It’s not surprising, therefore, that the hybrid model is becoming increasingly popular. The Accor Group, for instance, has launched the Hotel Office project, which allows customers to book a hotel room during business hours while also offering a five-day package that includes access to the facilities’ bar, restaurant, and spa rooms. The chain has also integrated office rooms, meeting spaces, and conference-call areas into all of its typical hotel services such as pool, spa, bar, and restaurant. And this trend is spreading in an increasing number of countries: there are talks of as many as 250 hotels in the UK and 70 in Northern Europe, with an expectation of significant growth in the coming months throughout the rest of the continent as well. But how to implement the hybrid model in practice? In light of future revenue benefits, hotels are required to undergo a significant reorganization: shared workspaces and meeting rooms are needed, along with functional office rooms tailored to the needs of professionals. This entails ergonomic desks and chairs, high-speed WiFi, printing services, and more. In essence, the key is to create spaces inspired by offices but enriched with the hospitality experience typical of the hotel industry.
  • Another variation of the home/office fusion is the Zoku model, which originated in Amsterdam in 2016. The hotel offers 133 furnished microlofts designed like actual apartments, complete with office area, kitchen, living room, television, and dining area: everything needed for living and working condensed into the space of a typical hotel room – akin to a blend of coworking and Airbnb. The name, of Japanese origin, means family, but also clan or tribe. A concept that embodies the goal of the founders Hans Meyer and Marc Jongerius: to provide a sense of community and hospitality to young professionals always on the move, the 2.0 nomads. “With the way we work now, the separation between work and leisure is becoming increasingly subtle. We don’t want to end up in dull hotels and typical office spaces, but in open and informal atmospheres.” In addition to the lofts, the hotel features various communal areas, available 24/7, seven days a week, for sharing meals, reading, socializing, as well as for collaboration and interaction.

“At Zoku, we firmly believe in mixed-use development. By combining work, life, and socialization, buildings become more than just bricks and walls – they become places and ecosystems for collaboration,” Meyer concludes. In essence, Zoku stands out as an excellent example of utilizing unused capacities and adapting its business model to the new market demands.

The stay includes a sofa, coffee table, flat-screen TV, and even a couple of pull-up rings. ( Zoku)


And it’s not just lodging facilities that draw inspiration from workplaces, but vice versa as well. Traditional rigid offices are making way for vibrant and dynamic spaces inspired by the welcoming and customer service-oriented atmosphere typical of the hospitality industry. Hospitality has indeed become a driving force in the transformation of workspaces: in addition to conference rooms and gyms, offices are now enriched with lounges, cafes, concierge services, game rooms, and sleeping areas. These new services cater to the merging of professional and work life that we have been witnessing in recent years. “We have transitioned from work-life balance to a complete fusion of personal and professional life; the workplace is simply adapting to the increasingly blurred boundary between life and work,” stated Chris Kelly, President and Co-Founder of the office space company Convene.

Indeed, now that the average adult spends most of their waking hours at work, it is natural for there to be a greater overlap between work, socialization, and home environments. This is reflected in the expectations of today’s workforce, where working in welcoming and multifunctional spaces has become an essential requirement. Philip Tidd, Dean and Head of Consulting for Europe, Middle East, and Africa at Gensler, is also convinced: “Employees across all sectors and generations are seeking an office that provides them with a stimulating experience, not just a place to work. Everyone is talking about the experience economy and experience design – people want to have a fantastic experience when they go to work. We weren’t discussing this five years ago.”

In essence, the office of the future will operate much like a full-service hotel. This entails hospitality, attention to employee comfort, offering multifunctional spaces and tailored services, all while embracing a connection with nature (a concept known as biophilia). In other words, the focus is on considering the workers’ experience holistically, from the moment they enter to the moment they leave the office – just like the best hotels do.

Transforming work-oriented spaces into a hospitality perspective isn’t an easy task. The primary objective is to blur the boundary between work environments and social spaces. This entails providing spaces where workers can collaborate and engage in discussions, as well as converse and network in an informal setting. Thus, there’s a green light for lounges, restaurants, gyms, and outdoor areas where employees can step away from their desks and gather inspiration.

However, these ample social areas should be complemented by microspaces where workers can focus or take a moment for themselves. “Whether it’s a dedicated meditation room or a glass booth that employees can use for personal phone calls, the key is to find ways to make people feel like privacy is still an option,” explains Nancy Ruddy, Co-Founder of the New York-based architecture firm CetraRuddy Architecture. “This idea of being alone together is also an element we’ve adopted from the hospitality world,” Ruddy adds. It’s essential to strike the right balance between privacy and sociability, providing employees the flexibility to choose spaces that best suit their needs.

Adding to this is the hospitality aspect: every space must be beautiful and comfortable, creating an atmosphere that makes workers feel at home. Traditional partition walls and swivel chairs make way for luxurious upholstery, well-curated bookshelves, and lush potted plants. Design, art, and comfort combine to make these spaces appealing and livable, stimulating workers and attracting top talent. According to Chris Kelly, the office of the future may even include wellness centers, pools, dry-cleaning services, and gourmet restaurants. “Offering amenitized office buildings is how property owners compete to meet the new needs of forward-thinking tenants.”

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