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The traditional work environment is broken. Only one-third of U.S. employees are engaged at work. “Always on” culture is hindering our creativity, productivity, and focus. Steve Sanchez ’16GSAPP felt these effects firsthand throughout his career in financial services and founded Branches with a deeply rooted belief that the workplace needs to be redesigned to accommodate the complexities of modern life.

Forward-thinking companies agree. To attract and retain the best talent, businesses are increasingly providing benefits to their employees that focus on wellness and flexibility in terms of where, when and how work gets done.  While coworking operators such as WeWork and Convene are disrupting the market for office space, a huge opportunity remains outside city limits to create hybrid spaces that satisfy the workforce of the future.

Branches develops and operates retreats surrounded by nature that combine work, wellness, and lodging. Using principles of activity-based office design, Branches offers different workspaces for different work modes. For individual work: coworking areas, quiet libraries, cabins in the woods, and desks in every hotel room. For collaboration: meeting rooms, treehouse offices, and video conference booths. These spaces are combined with sustainable lodging, locally sourced food, outdoor activities, and wellness facilities to create the ultimate destination for both work and play.

Long ago, artists and writers started building colonies in remote locations after intuitively figuring out that nature is good for the brain. Now, a lot of evidence-based research proves them right. Research shows that when people are immersed in natural surroundings, they are more creative, more productive, show less signs of stress, and become better problem solvers. Branches retreats are inspired by these artists colonies but designed to energize and refocus all types of knowledge workers in today’s digital economy.

Branches’ enterprise-grade facilities (with commercial-grade internet speeds and reliability) are convenient to major cities and built for shorter trips that don’t require air transportation. Once there, guests will find a community of like-minded makers and doers that believe their best work doesn’t always happen from 9 to 5 in densely packed skyscrapers. At Branches, individuals and small teams can escape from home and office distractions, do some deep thinking, connect with themselves, and get real work done.

Sari Ingerman ‘19GSAPP has recently joined the team to manage the development of our first branch in New York’s Catskill Mountains (opening 2020). Branches is currently looking for select companies in New York that would like to provide their employees access to Branches as a unique workplace benefit. Whether your company has co-located employees, has a partially distributed workforce, or is a FROG (fully remote organization), a partnership with Branches can enhance your employee experience and demonstrate your commitment to work-life balance and human-centric practices.

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