Jim Gossett, Director of Real Estate & Property Management for Legacy Health, on Utilizing Office Space to Create Community
For a recent episode of our Think Beyond Space | The PDX Workplace Insider podcast, host Blake St. Onge was joined by Jim Gossett, Director of Real Estate and Property Management for Legacy Health. Jim’s team manages over one million square feet of space for Legacy Health and in the episode Jim shared how Legacy is rethinking their portfolio of real estate due to the pandemic, and how creating community among their employees will play a central role as they plan for a return to the office.
Lessons from working in the healthcare industry during the pandemic
Legacy Health is a nonprofit with around 14,000 employees. 90% of Legacy’s employees are on the front lines providing care or directly supporting care for patients. Jim said that though working in healthcare during the pandemic was at times stressful, “our strong leadership helped give everyone in the organization a sense of comfort. We focused on taking care of the workforce, community and patients.” Jim added that even though his role is not in patient care, he continues to recognize the contribution of so many care providers, saying “there are a lot of heroes out there - anyone that is in a clinic or hospital deserves a lot of respect and applause.”
The question on everyone’s mind: What is the office of the future going to look like?
With remote work at Legacy being a success, Jim’s team knows this is a paradigm shift- the way they do business and work will be different going forward. Prior to the pandemic, Legacy had limited remote work options and the expectation was that employees would be in the physical office to support the hospitals. “While we were using our offices efficiently in terms of headcount per square foot, there were conversations bubbling up about how we make advances in the physical built environment that just happened to coincide with the shift to remote work due to the pandemic.” Now, Jim’s team is asking questions that many of his peers are faced with, including when they go back will they need to assign an office to every employee? To what extent do we need to be together physically and what kind of space is needed to support that?
Opportunity for the workplace to drive culture change, collaboration & innovation
At Legacy there is a strong appetite among employees for continued remote work, but employees also expressed a need for collaborative space when they return to the office. Employees still want the ability to see colleagues. Though flexibility is good, and the ability to work from anywhere offers many benefits, creating a workplace that focuses on collaboration gives organizations the opportunity to have a huge impact on quality of life for employees.
Jim reinforced that forward looking office space managers will need to take into consideration the needs of employees post pandemic, while also honoring the workplace as a place for gathering, saying “the office space should support connection and collaboration. And really, you are using space to create and facilitate community in the workforce.”