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What is workplace experience and why is it important?

Learn how to create a great workplace experience that makes your employees happy and drives better business outcomes.

Amy Kirkham
By Amy Kirkham Content Marketing Manager

The era of home offices and Zoom calls from your living room is nearing an end for many–at least full time. Now, hybrid work has folks returning to the workplace in bigger numbers than ever. 

Hybrid work means that today’s workplace leaders have a big job on their hands: to make the office a place employees want to be again. But how?

Encouraging employees back on-site will depend on the quality of workplace experience organizations can offer. In this post, we’ll cover: 

  • What is workplace experience? 
  • Why is workplace experience important?
  • A workplace experience example
  • How to improve your workplace experience

What is workplace experience?

Workplace experience is a holistic approach to creating an optimal environment for employees to do their work. It is made up of three core components:

  1. Space – the physical surroundings in which employees do their work
  2. Technology – the systems and tools employees use to do their jobs
  3. People – the relationships, policies, and cultural standards that impact how work is done
A holistic approach to workplace experience

Workplace experience examines how all three elements–space, technology, and people–can work together to drive better business outcomes. This includes employee productivity and engagement, talent retention, and lower real estate costs. 

Workplace experience relies on cross-functional collaboration between Facilities, IT, and HR teams to be successful. It’s also fundamental to delivering a great employee experience.

Why is workplace experience important?

Workplace experience is key to a successful work model (whether that’s hybrid or 100% on-site).  While your employees may not visit the office every day in a hybrid work model, the workplace should offer purpose, opportunity, and space for those who do. Let’s look at some of the benefits a great workplace experience can bring to your business.

Improve employee experience

Workplace experience can be a great tool for improving employee experience. A January 2022 survey found that 63% of employees feel empowered when they have flexibility to choose when and where they work. That means empowering them with the right tools to choose how they work. 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 a better workplace experience and can focus on the work that matters.

Increase employee engagement and productivity

It’s important to build a workplace experience that will keep your employees engaged and empowered to do their best work.  According to Gallup’s meta-analysis, employee engagement is on the decline in 2022, with the least engaged coming from full-time, on-site workers. Hybrid and remote workers are more engaged, and engagement is higher for organizations that focus on culture. Engaged employees are also more likely to remain with their organization. Collaboration and connection play a big role in creating a great workplace experience. According to a recent study, the top factors that influence employees to visit the office are to get heads down work done (39%) and connection with other colleagues (37%).

Optimize your workspace and reduce real estate costs

Managing your workspace effectively will also help to improve your workplace experience. Thoughtful space management helps keep employees healthy and happy in the office. 

It’s important to remember that not everyone is comfortable with returning to work. In fact, 87% of employees still have concerns about their health and safety when it comes to returning to work. That means that optimizing space and having fewer people on-site at one time can not only require less square footage but also make people feel better about being there. A win-win.

Optimizing your real estate could help you lower real estate costs by 12-20%. According to Accenture, businesses could reduce their office space footprint by up to 40% by evaluating their real estate based on future headcount, growth projections, and workforce models.

Pro tip: If you’re wondering how much office space you need, start with office space planning for helpful tips.

A workplace experience example

Now that you know what workplace experience is and the value it can bring to your company, let’s look at an example of how to optimize it. For this, we’ll focus on meetings.

Like we’ve mentioned, workplace experience is an approach made up of technology, space, and people. Having the right departments behind each component is crucial for its overall success. For meetings, workplace and 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. 

Say you survey employees to understand their feelings about meetings at work. The results show that employees find meeting environments inflexible and painful to manage. There are a number of things you could do to improve this for your people. 

First, you should test adding a range of meeting spaces like open areas, phone booths, and sound-absorbing furniture. Second, 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.

Improving your workplace experience

Employees’ needs are constantly evolving and their workplace experience should evolve with it. According to our latest At Work survey, 61% of companies are making changes to the physical workplace to encourage people back on-site. That includes more collaboration spaces, social zones, meeting rooms, and desks in the office. All geared towards creating a better workplace experience. If you want to know more, check out our blog post 5 actions you can take to create a better workplace experience.

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. For that, feedback is vital.

Getting feedback on your workplace experience

Creating ways for employees to share feedback on the workplace experience is important. 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, 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.
  • Send out regular feedback nudges. Use your company’s communication channels to remind employees to share feedback regularly. It’s best to send out reminders in 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–this can be detrimental to employee trust. 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.

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Amy Kirkham
Author Bio Amy Kirkham

Amy is a content guru at Envoy, where she helps workplace leaders build a workplace their people love. Outside of work, you can usually find Amy drinking coffee, exploring new places, or planning her next trip.