Design Hotel Hybrid Work Environments for Evolving Guest Needs
By Claudia Abt Chief Design Officer, citizenM | November 2023
As if the hotel industry weren't disrupted enough in the last decades, new approaches to hotel co-working are shifting the way many operators design and program their properties.
Today's work-life trends include new hybrid (remote and in-office) work schedules as well as solo, heads-down work and dedicated organization gatherings in "third places" including lifestyle hotel settings.
Many companies in tech, law, consulting and other professional services are now building – or maintaining – a "remote-first operational model," which encompasses solo co-working and varied kinds of remote in-person group work, including onboarding breakouts, company off-sites, and annual company retreats.
Leading hotels are supporting these mobile work lifestyles including "work from anywhere" (WfA) teams. The hotel company and lifestyle brand citizenM was founded with a prototype design - the first at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport and now in 30-plus locations globally - that welcomed and promised to support what soon became known as co-working, predicting the rise of the mobile citizen (thus, our name citizenM) and an engaging hotel program with comfortable co-working offerings adjacent to lounge and food and beverage (F&B) settings, as well as meeting rooms equipped for varied kinds of meetings.
Working at the hotels has been part of citizenM's concept from inception. The public spaces have been designed to see teammates, clients, friends, family, the locals. Moreover, citizenM's design approach is to bring people together for whatever that purpose is – whether it's as a local coworker in our common areas, known as Living Rooms, a happy hour among friends at the cloudM rooftop bars, or on a business trip overseas. None of these ideas, all incorporated from day one, are reactive design gestures prompted by any short-term trends.
Adding to that, citizenM's public spaces need to serve primarily their guests but also offer a "third place" for local community members as well. The respective needs of guests and neighbors are quite distinct, and the architectural programming and interior design of citizenM hotel public zones are geared toward addressing the typical requirements of those two groups.