by Peter Franklin
Thursday, 8
April 2021
Spotted
16:00

Can Jennifer Lopez tempt you back to work?

Offices will need to do more to attract employees in a post-pandemic world
by Peter Franklin

Have you heard about the WELL Health-Safety seal?

If not, here’s the high profile promo. It features Jennifer Lopez. And Lady Gaga. Not to mention Robert De Niro, Michael Jordan, Venus Williams and Deepak Chopra. Oh, and Dr Richard Carmona too — the seventeenth Surgeon-General of the United States of America.

It’s basically a certification scheme for buildings — promising high standards of, well, wellness. Which is all well and good, but why are so many celebs and experts promoting it? More to the point who’s paying them to do it? (I’m assuming they’ve been paid. Well paid, most likely.)

Writing for The Tablet, Jacob Siegel has some answers. The organisation behind it all is a property services company called Delos. According its website:

Delos is committed to enhancing health and well-being in the spaces where we live, work, sleep and play through standards, programs and solutions designed to promote wellness, stress resilience, performance, restfulness and joy.
- Delos

These guys are selling a lot more than air-con. In the post-Covid world, attempting to set the global standard in this field is a major commercial play.

You see, only one thing makes a location valuable — which is that everyone wants to be there. Thus the property sector doesn’t just sell space, it sells a vision.

Before the pandemic, that vision was centred around the idolisation of work. Companies like WeWork and Second Home sold working space as a high status lifestyle. But then Covid came along. Not only did we discover the advantages and practicality of working from home, we became sensitive to the dangers of herding workers into glass boxes.

If the providers of working space are to tempt us back into their crystal towers then they will have to sell them as places of wellness as well as work. Defining what that means and helping employers and landlords achieve it will be one of the great growth industries of the 2020s.

However, we need think about this issue holistically (to a use favourite word of the wellness industry). Things that happen on the inside of a building — like adequate ventilation — matter more than ever, but shouldn’t we also care about how buildings make people feel on the outside?

Do they contribute to welcoming public spaces? Or do they extend a towering middle finger to rest of us?

If it’s the latter, then I fear that any wellness standard is just putting lipstick on a pig.

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Samir Zulfiquar
Samir Zulfiquar
1 year ago

They have safety logos on buildings to calm down the media indoctrinated hypochondriacs now?
I almost want to laugh at this, but it’s just too sad.
Of course they enlist celebrities to pitch it to us. They think we are that gullible. well actually, most people probably are.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
1 year ago

luncheon vouchers-everyone loves a freebie? The workers who have missed out are those who lived near to work anyway so they didn’t save anything by not commuting. Probably it will have to be a variation on if you don’t return you lose your job?

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
1 year ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

A wage – sounds like ideal motivation to get back to the office <G>

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
1 year ago

Well I suppose that if the real Jennifer Lopez was disseminating the ppts or fixing the server every day I suppose I might be tempted. But I’ve been working largely from home for almost 25 years now and it suits me very well. It’s quite nice to go into an office every now and then for the good coffee and free fruit etc, but I’ve had enough after a couple of days.

Wulvis Perveravsson
Wulvis Perveravsson
1 year ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Enough with the talk of JLO and disseminating please Fraser, you’re offending my sensibilities.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago

“Not only did we discover the advantages and practicality of working from home, we became sensitive to the dangers of herding workers into glass boxes.”

Herding, very apt as sheep are what we are talking about. WFH, work from home, is the single most dangerous thing society could do as it is like the factory workers of the 1960’s with their militant unions keeping them home till the industry just got sick of it and moved to Japan and East. Luckily service jobs, you know those ones the office workers do, replaced the manufacturing as GDP, but nothing exists to replace this off-shoring mess.

All your WFH jobs are now potentially on the international market, one which the office protected you from by requiring work visas. Half of your cost is wages, the rest the benefits (maternity, holiday, pension), taxes, costs, rates, NHS, and what not. Then your pay internationally is a couple times more than what many nations who have a much higher collective IQ than UK, are paid. Also restrictive laws, weekends, 40 hour and then overtime, and on and on, health and safety, let alone the office, and the HR forcing quotas of less qualified, and on and on, you are a spoiled workforce, and now payback may be here. A foreigner can do your job for 1/4 the cost, and with computer translation and zoom, well that is a lot.

This is the war on the Middle Class! The Middle class is the only power structure which can resist the globe reversing to Feudalism under the Global Elites, and this WFH just nobbled it in yet another attack. You are all sheep, and remember, the sheep live their lives in terror of the wolves, but always end up being eaten by the shepherd. Baaa.

Last edited 1 year ago by Galeti Tavas
ralph bell
ralph bell
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Well said, and what’s more the recent Microsoft survery results on WFH showed the majority of young people wanted to be working in offices whilst the majority of older people and Managers preferred WFH. The interaction of team work and innovation has already been seen to be in decline since WFH.

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
1 year ago
Reply to  ralph bell

Having worked for a couple of major consultancies in my life (about 4 years in total) it was apparent that the hot desking, WFM, WFSEO (work from someone else’s office) did nothing to generate a team / corporate spirit. The only few who had a genuine team were those working together on a long term assignment well away from base.

Rhonda Culwell
Rhonda Culwell
1 year ago
Reply to  ralph bell

I’m one of the “older people” you spoke of, and after months of being forced to work at home, I was longing to be back in the office. In October we went back, and even the trek there in the cold of winter was enjoyable after being stuck at home. The real face to face connection with people brings an energy to the workplace that was missing at home. And strangely, my colleagues and I all agreed that we were actually working longer hours when at home, and found it harder to step away from the computer and get out of that chair, even to grab a quick cup of coffee. Perhaps it was a desire to prove we were constantly available and worth our wage, even though at home. I had long thought working at home would be ideal, but instead it was both physically and mentally exhausting. I now have been given the choice to work at home a couple of days a week, but I have no interest in that. As an older employee, I feel an urge to make sure my presence is known and my input is valued. Out of sight could eventually mean out of mind.

Cho Jinn
Cho Jinn
1 year ago

They say “Well,” but I hear “leases inflated by all manner of lifestyle-chic activities I’ll never use because I want to go home.”

Andre Lower
Andre Lower
1 year ago

Let’s see: Zero time&risk on daily commute, easy&immediate access to as big a team as I wish to have, with excellent communication tools, drop of real-estate & maintenance cost for the employer (creating room for higher salaries), zero space for office bullying/harassment (as any interaction leaves a record), obvious flexibility regarding working hours and vastly improved work/life balance.
I am still surprised that anyone can prefer to work in a physical office.
Relying on office time for human interaction betrays a disheartening inability to find&keep bonafide social life contacts. I prize the freedom to chose when and where I interact socially in-person. The way I see it, “office life” is an oxymoron.
Last but not least, if you cannot forge a team spirit (or persuade a client, or negotiate an agreement, etc.) over MS Teams, you will fare no better in person.
As for “your job can be done cheaper by someone overseas”, I regret to inform that not only I’ve never been so productive, but managed to change to a better employer and get 2 salary raises (the second one spontaneous) since the onset of the pandemic, so as Americans say, “your mileage may vary”.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andre Lower