Workplace strategy and scenario planning: Moving beyond the tangible to understand the future of work and place in a post COVID-19 world

Arnold Craig Levin, Regional Strategy Practice Area Leader, Gensler

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Abstract: Our current global situation resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic creates an opportunity to revisit a paper I authored that was published in the Summer 2017 issue of Corporate Real Estate Journal. In that paper I cautioned that the traditional methodologies used in the corporate real estate (CRE) and workplace strategy arena to predict the future of an organisation’s workplace were short-sighted and did not provide the breadth of vision that would take into consideration a broader sphere of disruptions and changes to any given organisation. I recommended adopting scenario planning methodologies that would include an analysis of the conventional areas but would also include disruptions resulting from political, social, economic and health threats. Four years later, this paper revisits that hypothesis and examines our current COVID-19 condition and poses the same opportunity for helping organisations develop viable strategies for both their initial re-entry phase back to the workplace and, more importantly, in planning for a ‘reimagined’ workplace where both the nature of work and place are potentially redefined. The paper cautions against predictions based on limited knowledge and trends, as well as definitive solutions, but puts forth the proposition that scenario planning will be a more effective means to help organisations guide their enterprises into this reimagined world of work.


Keywords: workplace, strategy, scenarios, organisation, pandemic, disruptions


Arnold Levin is a regional strategy practice area leader with Gensler. With over 45 years’ experience in design strategy, organisational design, feasibility planning, workplace design and design research, he has worked with a wide range of clients globally. This diverse range covers government and private sector organisations including GSA (US Department of Commerce, US Parks Service and US Department of Agriculture), LA County Government, Weil Gotshal & Manges, Bloomberg, Caterpillar, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft, Microsoft, Capital One and Morrison & Foerster. Arnold has worked with clients throughout the US, the UK and Asia. He is a frequent speaker at Corenet, Neocon and IFMA World Workplace conferences in both the US and Europe. With an undergraduate degree in design, Arnold went on to complete an MBA in design management and an MPhil in organisational design. His research on organisational design, design strategy and workplace has been published in the Journal of Facilities Management, Journal of Design Management and WorkDesign.


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