Dear Mr. Gorman,


Dear Mr. Gorman,
Can we journal with you for a moment? We may not be one of the world’s largest banks but, like you, we see value in getting people back into the hot exploding oil of in-person innovation and collaboration.

Your dining analogy is a good one, but there are deeper nuances to understand. Successful restaurants adapted during the pandemic, and you can too. Let’s consider why people like eating in restaurants and how these points can help attract a critical mass back to the office:

Smart planning in the workplace can provide everyone with an experience worth seeking out. The best dining spaces are designed to keep the hum of conversation at a level which allows us all to enjoy ourselves. Be strategic about where you want buzz and where you need more intimate spaces.

Everybody likes a booth:
Unless they like sitting at the bar. Or at a table with a view. Or outside. The same is true for the workplace. People appreciate choices and flexibility. Booths, high top tables, huddle spaces, rooms that accommodate different sized groups, rooms that can be reserved, and acoustically private spaces help people feel in control of their workday. It’s all about the right blend.

Getting what you’d never have at home:
Making linguini from scratch at home is hard when you don’t have the right equipment…or the well-practiced hand of a teacher who has rolled dough a thousand times. The workplace can be a hub for shared resources, tools, materials, as well as seasoned hands— leaders or mentors who guide and advise.

Everything is the experience:
The lighting, the water glasses, an unexpected detail in the restroom, a convenient or attractive location—a curated experience isn’t just about grand gestures, but details as well. Stairwells, corridors, daylighting, and amenities (like parking) are part of your workplace brand too, so don’t overlook opportunities to surprise and delight.

The customer is always right:
Ok, maybe this isn’t always the case, but being open to feedback matters. Survey after survey, like this one, confirms that employees want changes to how, where, and when they work. Listening, trying, testing, and being transparent about your efforts to better support them can help your teams feel heard and valued.

A takeout option:
Sometimes you want to dine-in, sometimes you want to eat at home. Employees across the world have proven they can be productive at home. Empowering employees to structure their time both in and out of the office establishes trust and makes people feel valued.


Mr. Gorman, it’s time to re-consider how space design can help your people communicate, collaborate, and innovate together. Or better yet, call us. After all, we’re architects…and diners too.


Megan & Eric 



Megan Mershman, IIDA is an associate at GBBN

Knowing that human beings spend 90% of their time indoors, Megan works to make those spaces supportive, functional, beautiful, and compelling. Her primary focus is workplace and public space, and recent projects include Cincinnati Children’s Concourse renovation and TriHealth Corporate Administrative Offices. A devoted foodie, Megan spends 90% of her after-hours time inside local Cincinnati restaurants, especially if poke or arepas are on the menu.

Man with glasses and beard

Eric Puryear, AIA is an associate at GBBN

With an abiding interest in craft and the question of how material and form interact with light and space to affect people, Eric found a natural fit in architecture. This interest finds direct expression in his daily work as he develops initial design concepts and transforms them into buildable realities. His recent work includes The Foundry and the Rushville Community Center. His most recent presentation on repurposing retail was for the Society of Marketing Professional Services.