Workplace Experience

What is Workplace Experience?

Workplace experience relates to the experience that companies provide to their employees which encompasses office design, technology and workplace culture. The desired outcome is to increase employee satisfaction and retention.

A few examples of the ways you can improve workplace experience include utilising technology to provide tools that increase productivity, improving office layout and design and having a calendar of wellness or social events for employees. The impact of this should mean a happier workforce – ultimately increasing productivity and retention (a win-win!).

Only 13% of employees globally are highly engaged and satisfied with their workplace and with 69% of employees agreeing that they would work harder if they were appreciated it’s hard to deny that focusing on improving the workplace experience can have huge benefits.

Workplace Experience:Areas to consider

Office design

With the workforce spending almost a third of their time in offices, it should come as no surprise that a carefully considered office design can have a big impact on productivity and wellness. The layout, amenities and the overall look and feel should be planned out to ensure there are spaces that foster collaboration, concentration and relaxation. Office design can be a valuable asset helping to attract and retain employees. There’s even an accredited international organisation called WELL Building Standard where companies can apply for a certification for their office, building or space. Light, thermal comfort, community and materials are just some of the aspects that are taken into account when scoring an office space for the certification.

Two people in nice office design environment which provides a positive workplace experience

Employee engagement

One of the biggest considerations around your workplace experience strategy is employee engagement. So, how do you increase engagement? First of all, you would typically have a workplace experience manager that works in-house who is responsible for the overall employee experience. Their job is to monitor the culture and workplace experience and identify areas for improvement. This covers advising on elements that can improve wellness, productivity, satisfaction and retention which as a whole encompass employee engagement. It could include implementing new policies or technologies and creating a calendar of social events for the team.

Workplace technology

From HR solutions to workplace experience platforms, technology in the workplace is fundamental to a successful workplace experience strategy. Technology can drive efficiency through automating time-consuming and boring tasks, enable people to work remotely through video conferencing tools like Zoom and can connect teams through communication channels like Slack. Adopting tech can prove a worthy investment in helping to build a great workplace culture.

Workplace experience app

Many companies are now looking to a digital layer for their workplace in the form of a workplace experience app to improve the overall employee experience for their workforce. The app can pull together all of the above elements of workplace experience in this review allowing for a seamless and modern experience for employees that drives loyalty and performance. The app can be utilised in many ways such as building access through the app, company events, meeting room bookings and news. You can build on the sense of community in the app through having bookable events and a social platform where employees can connect.

Office building providers can also utilise this type of software to engage and retain tenants through tenant experience apps.

As well as the obvious benefits that the technology offers, a workplace experience platform will usually have an analytics dashboard with a wealth of data that can be tapped into. It will give you access to user data which will allow you to make quicker and smarter data-led decisions to improve the workplace experience. The large meeting room is only being booked 5% of the time? Consider utilising the unused space. The weekly yoga class is always full? Have a more frequent schedule and plan similar events to drive further engagement.

Trends in workplace experience

What trends are emerging in workplace experience? Particularly in the wake of Covid-19, there are many trends arising in workplace culture that you should be aware of.

Digital transformation

As we become more agile, flexible and distributed the adoption of technology will become a key part of successful workplace cultures. Companies will need to adapt their traditional methods of training, incentivising and managing staff members for the future of work. A poll by EY discovered that 69% of C-suite respondents are aware that they need to re-evaluate their digital transformation strategies or are already taking steps to change it. Human resource departments will need to adapt, HR leaders can drive change through digital transformation in a way that allows them to manage talent management, employee onboarding, appraisals and so on in the new remote and distributed way of work.

Communication

With a lack of confidence to return to workplaces due to the safety risk – communication will be fundamental. Landlords and companies will need to ensure they’re sharing with their stakeholders any processes that have been put in place to make the workplace safer. A workplace app can be used to communicate and inform through push notifications, articles and guides – accessible to employees or tenants whether they’re on or off-site. With the future of work becoming more flexible, communication will become even more prevalent to community engagement.

Wellbeing

Wellbeing in the workplace is certainly not new, but in the wake of the pandemic it will become even more important to consider wellness initiatives to increase satisfaction, happiness and loyalty during this time of disruption. More support may be required for those that continue to work remotely, such as a dedicated ‘WFH’ chat and further thought into engaging remote teams to provide the social aspect of work culture will be key to driving a more satisfied workforce. For many, the lockdown has been a difficult time in terms of their mental health. Not being able to see loved ones and friends, and being confined to their homes. As we come out of lockdown we may see companies offering more mental health support for employees to support this time of change and to ensure a healthy, happy and productive workforce as it becomes more flexible and distributed.

A young woman running on a treadmill in the gym of her new apartment - a positive tenant experience created by District.

Distributed teams

As we move away from large centralised offices to distributed offices and towards higher levels of remote working, the way we work with our teams will change. Distributed teams can offer better quality talent, as companies will not be constricted to hiring by location, and will allow them to work with more agility.

Gender diversity - better or worse?

The increased flexibility could have a huge impact on women, helping to create more diversity in the workplace. As a result, we could see increased gender balance on boards, as one of the barriers women previously encountered was the lack of flexibility to accommodate family commitments. However, on the other side of the coin research shows that higher percentages of women are in industries with the highest lay-off rates due to Covid-19 and are more likely to be in lower-ranking positions that are more expendable.

9-5 a thing of the past

With a rise in remote working, the 9-5 as we know it could be a thing of the past as we move away from traditional set-ups to more flexibility. We may see the end of presenteeism as attitudes to work change. Employees will no longer feel pressure to be present in the office to get recognition. Flexible working is a matter of trust, and with increasing levels of trust from employers to their staff, we may see increased productivity and loyalty as a result.

Coworking experience

The number of coworking spaces worldwide is projected to reach 25,968 by 2022 – that’s a 42% increase from 2019 alone. 96% of private sector companies in the UK are micro-businesses (have less than 10 employees). So it should come as no surprise that coworking continues to rise in popularity. But, coworking is no longer dominated by freelancers and startups. IBM, Amazon and Facebook are some of the large corporations with offices in flexible spaces such as WeWork.

The rise in co-working is testament to the importance of community in the workplace. Many people are turning to co-working facilities not only for flexibility but for the ability to collaborate with others. Plus, co-working operators like WeWork will typically make use of coworking software platforms, allowing users to book events, spaces and even connect with other users through an app.

To find out more about how you can modernise your workplace experience click here.

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