All eyes are on the workplace at the moment. How can it bring people together? How can it entice people away from their work-from-home stations? How can it help folks be more productive, collaborative, and engaged? While the answers to these questions look different for each individual and business, there is one thing that’s clear: companies that offer a great workplace experience will see larger numbers of employees return to work. An exceptional workplace experience will improve productivity levels, employee engagement, company culture, and more. In this post, we’ll explore:
- What is workplace experience?
- How to improve the workplace experience with space
- How to improve the workplace experience with technology
- How to improve the workplace experience with people
What is workplace experience?
Workplace experience is key to a successful work model, whether that’s hybrid work or 100% onsite. Why? Because it creates an optimal environment for employees to do their best work. It’s a holistic approach made up of three core components:
- Space – the physical surroundings where employees do their work
- Technology – the systems and tools employees use to do their jobs
- People – the relationships, policies, and cultural standards that impact productivity
Workplace experience examines how all three elements–space, technology, and people–can work together to drive better business outcomes. This includes employee happiness, talent retention, and lower real estate costs.
Is workplace experience and employee experience the same thing?
Workplace experience and employee experience are very similar. However, they do differ slightly in their broader definitions. Workplace experience revolves around the physical workplace and how folks interact with it. Employee experience, on the other hand, refers to the individual and their experience at the organization as a whole–both onsite and remote. This includes relationships with coworkers, performance and personal development, and their experience of onboarding and exiting. Now that we’ve covered what workplace experience is, let’s dive into the nitty gritty of how you can improve the workplace experience and wow everyone who comes on-site.
How to improve the workplace experience
Getting employees excited about going into the office takes planning, patience, and the right tools. After all, you want to create an environment that supports relationship building, is well-designed, and offers everything folks need to feel comfortable and productive. When thinking of how to improve the workplace experience for your organization, it’s helpful to break it down. Try to tackle your workplace experience per component: space, technology, and people. Let’s start with space.
How to improve the workplace experience using space
1 - Create purposeful spaces
Space management is key to nurturing a great workplace experience because it ensures you are making the most out of your work space at all times. No one likes returning to an office with unnecessary desks everywhere, big gaps of unused space, or thoughtless interior planning.Creating more purposeful spaces throughout your office will help folks have a better experience when they’re onsite. This includes spaces like quiet pods, phone booths, and individual desks for people to get in the zone. It also includes spaces like collaboration areas, social spaces, and meeting rooms for people who want to chat and share ideas.The more your workplace can accommodate different employees’ needs, the better. As a first step, assess the function of each space in your office to understand if it’s meeting all the needs of your employees. You can then work to improve or add to each space accordingly.
2 - Get creative with workplace design
The traditional office design of gray walls, desks, and a tiny kitchen isn’t going to cut it anymore. Over time, the office has had a makeover. You can probably expect couches, plants, and a pop of color as new features in the workplace. These office upgrades have slowly but surely raised the bar for what new talent expects from the physical workplace. Now, physical elements of the office are a crucial part of creating a quality workplace experience. Think creatively about what you can do with your space. For example, if you are operating on a hybrid work schedule and folks aren’t using all of your desks, swap some out for a games area, colorful couches, or a snack station. You might also want to add a few quiet pods to help people escape the hustle and bustle of busy office days. Finally, ensure your workplace receives a lot of natural light and, if possible, fresh air. This will help keep people engaged and refreshed while at work.Pro tip: Consider getting tables that are on wheels. That way, when you have all-company meetings or social events, you can easily modify the office to accommodate.
3 - Upgrade your kitchen area
Your kitchen area is a crucial part of your physical workspace. It can often be the center of company culture–a place where coworkers gather, eat, and take a break from their desks and work. Designing a clean, spacious, and well-stocked kitchen will encourage folks to use it. As a first step, ensure it’s stocked with a variety of different snacks and drinks to suit people’s diets. Some examples might include different beverages like alternative types of milk, flavored water, and some iced teas. Providing a diverse range of food and drink will increase employee satisfaction and contribute to an overall quality workplace experience.
How to improve the workplace experience using technology
1 - Uplevel the welcome experience with an employee and visitor sign-in system
Your lobby area is the first place employees and visitors walk into when they visit the workplace. It’s crucial that the experience is warm and welcoming if you want to set the right tone and allow folks to have a great day on-site. One way of upleveling your welcome experience is to invest in a visitor management solution. Not only will this help workplace managers keep track of who’s entering the workplace, but it will streamline the process to offer a slick experience for everyone. Choosing a visitor management solution doesn’t have to be a big task. Look out for the right features for your organization, such as customizable sign in, notifications, and analytics and reporting functions. With the right employee and visitor sign-in system, you can improve your workplace experience for everyone.
2 - Use desk booking software
Nobody likes to see rows and rows of empty work desks when they come into the office. It doesn’t give a great first impression and makes the office feel empty. Switching to hot desking will improve your workplace experience by giving people the freedom to work where they feel most comfortable and productive. Hot desking offers autonomy to your employees. It also gives you the opportunity to cut down on wasted space, saving you money on real estate costs. To make hot desking work for you, use a desk booking system. This will allow your employees to see all available desks and book their preferred desk on the days they come into the workplace. Folks might choose to prioritize different desk amenities in the office, such as a standing desk or a dual monitor screen. Others might choose to book desks closer to coworkers or friends. Offering your employees the choice of where and how they want to work in the office will help you create the best workplace experience and keep folks happy and productive when on-site. Pro tip: A big frustration for employees can be where to find coworkers in the office, especially if folks use hot-desking and aren’t always sitting in the same spot. An easy solution to this is to offer a maps feature in your desk booking system. That way, folks can see where their favorite coworkers are sitting and how to get there.
3 - Invest in room booking software
A great workplace experience allows employees to collaborate on projects and check-in with their teammates in meeting spaces. This might require folks to book a meeting room or simply head to an area separated from desks. Either way, it can be frustrating for employees if they can't find an area to suit their needs on-site.Investing in room scheduling software can help your employees easily find and book available rooms when they need it. They’ll be able to see what rooms are available and select the best one for the job. Whether that’s a smaller pod for 1:1 discussions or a large room for a group presentation or a brainstorming session. Room booking software will also offer visibility on when and how often each meeting room is booked. This will help you monitor and avoid ghost rooms and free up that space for someone else to use. Pro tip: Prioritize features and integrations that work within your organization. The more everything works seamlessly in a meeting room, the better workplace experience you can offer.
How to improve the workplace experience using people
1 - Get feedback
Creating ways for employees to share feedback on the workplace experience is important. It’s the best way for you to improve and ensure you’re meeting the needs of everyone in your organization. But getting feedback from folks isn’t always easy. Here are some best practices to keep in mind:
- Provide multiple ways for people to share feedback. Emails, meetings, slack channels or a survey form are all good examples.
- Frame your questions carefully on each survey to get the helpful feedback
- Keep up a regular cadence of feedback nudges, so to normalize and encourage it
- Let folks know what changes are being made and when as a result of the feedback
2 - Plan regular workplace events
Company events offer a ton of benefits for your organization. Not only does it help cultivate your company’s culture, but it’s also a simple way to get people together. It can be for professional get-togethers, like a company-wide all-hands. Or it could be for personal celebrations, like employee birthdays or milestone achievements. Planning a range of workplace events will really help your employees engage with the workplace and have a fun experience. It also offers a great opportunity for folks to catch up, meet with new coworkers, and re-engage with being onsite.
3 - Provide food in the workplace
According to LinkedIn, 55% of employees felt more appreciated by their companies when they provided food for employees. This accumulated benefit offered a 150% return on investment and a higher productivity output. Providing free meals and/or snacks in the workplace may feel like something unnecessary. But it’s a key way to delight your employees and get them excited about visiting the workplace. You don’t have to offer Michelin star meals. Simply starting with one or two meals a week from a local favorite restaurant or providing snacks and beverages would go a long way to making folks feel appreciated and happy onsite.Pro tip: Include a question on food when you survey your employees on their workplace experience. Remember, diets are different and appetites change, so it’s important to cater for as many people as you can. -Creating a quality workplace experience doesn’t have to be a complicated process. With some planning and tools, organizations can entice folks back into the office which will, in turn, have a greater impact on company culture, output, and overall employee satisfaction.
Understanding each component of the workplace experience will help you improve it in the right way for everyone. Want to know more? Check out our ebook on how employees can thrive in a people-centric workplace.