What is workplace experience and why is it important?
In the midst of a global pandemic, workplaces have expanded to include home offices, kitchen tables, and bedside desks. These new workspaces are likely going to stick around long after companies reopen their offices. Today’s workplace leaders face the challenge of reshaping the workplace experience to address this dynamic environment.
To do this, they need to understand the value of workplace experience and partner cross-functionally to create an experience tailored to their organization. We’ll cover both of these topics in this post. But first, what exactly is the definition of workplace experience?
What is workplace experience?
Workplace experience (“WX”) is a holistic approach to creating the optimal environment for employees to do their work. It examines how space and technology can drive better business outcomes—from employee productivity and engagement, to talent retention and lower real estate costs. Workplace experience relies on cross-functional collaboration between Facilities, IT, and HR teams.
Workplace experience examples
Workplace experience is made up of three core components:
- Space – the physical surroundings in which employees do their work
- Technology – the systems and tools employees use to do their jobs
- People – the relationships, policies, and cultural standards that impact how work is done
To understand how these components come together to optimize the workplace experience, let’s look at an example: meetings.
Facilities teams are responsible for the design and operation of conference rooms. IT provisions video conferencing software and the devices to operate it. HR establishes policies around culture and communication. All these components create a workplace experience that enables employees to do their best work.
Empathy is another key factor in building an optimal experience for employees. Through empathy, Facilities, IT, HR, and other teams can understand the challenges employees experience and come together to solve those challenges in a holistic way.
Let’s extend the meetings example. Say you survey employees to understand their feelings about meetings. The results show that employees find meeting environments inflexible and painful to manage. Knowing this, your company could test a range of meeting spaces like open area, phone booths, and sound-absorbing furniture. You might implement a room scheduling system that helps employees easily find and book a room. You might also offer a way for teams to record meetings. This way, employees who aren’t able to attend live can watch them later.
The value of workplace experience
People, space, and technology are often the top expense categories for companies. Focusing on these components of workplace experience helps organizations maximize the value they get from these expensive resources. It can help:
- Leverage limited real estate budgets more effectively
- Improve employee experience
- Increase employee engagement
For example, fewer fixed desks and more collaboration spaces require less square footage. This can reduce real estate costs and create a better working environment for employees. A win-win.
Empowering employees with the right tools can also help improve the workplace experience for them. For example, a workplace platform helps employees reserve a spot in the office and book hot desks and meeting rooms. When employees spend less time figuring out logistics they have more time to focus on the work that matters.
If you don’t have the budget or buy-in to shift to hot desking, creating a better way to manage incoming office mail and let recipients know it’s arrived can be just as delightful. Ultimately, your employees want to see that you care about their well-being. Something as little as notifying them when a package arrives can go a long way.
Workplace experience can also be a tool for increasing employee engagement. Gallup’s meta-analysis on employee engagement found that team members with more engagement produce much better outcomes. They’re also more likely to remain with their organization.
Getting feedback on your workplace experience
Finally, employees’ needs are constantly evolving and their workplace experience should evolve with it. To ensure you’re keeping on top of what will help produce the best environment for employees to work, you need to keep in communication with your people.
To do this, create and communicate ways for employees to share feedback on the workplace experience. Here are some best practices to keep in mind:
- Provide more than one method for people to share feedback – Give people more than one option for sharing feedback so employees can use the method that’s most comfortable. Slack, “always-on” surveys, and annual feedback sessions are a few methods you might consider.
- Give employees clear direction – State what kind of feedback is helpful. Ask for examples and tell employees when they should submit the feedback by.
- Send out regular feedback nudges – Use your company’s communication channels to remind employees to share feedback. It’s best to send out reminders are more than one channel to ensure you reach the most employees.
- Close that feedback loop – Don’t leave employees wondering what happened to the feedback they provided. Follow up with them to let them know if you’ve incorporated their feedback. If you didn’t, be sure to follow up with why so they know their feedback was considered.
Learn more about how to collect real, unfiltered feedback from employees in this blog post.
A great workplace experience is good for employees and good for business. By taking a holistic approach, workplace leaders can bring teams together to create a seamless experience that crosses space, technology, and company culture.