Hybrid work is the biggest thing to happen to work in the past century. It impacts everything from where employees work to how and when they do it. To adopt this working model, organizations need to make structural changes that help their employees transition. Updates to processes, policies, and procedures are just a few considerations they’ve got to make.
At the center of these changes is a workplace that supports the needs of employees in a flexible work environment. And the key driver behind making sure the workplace adapts to suit their needs? The workplace experience manager. They’re responsible for curating on-site experiences that support employee productivity and engagement. They help ensure their companies get the most out of real estate and workplace tech investments. Without them, the workplace isn’t the efficient, supportive environment employees need it to be.
Workplace experience managers wear many hats. Let’s go over the ones that are most important in a hybrid work environment. We’ll also share tips on how managers can lean into these areas of responsibility.
1 – Conductor of cross-functional workplace experiences
By nature, the workplace experience manager’s work is cross-functional. They stress over the three core components of the workplace experience: space, technology, and people. They bring employee challenges to the attention of their organization and lead the effort to solve them. This means their success depends on their ability to work with HR, IT, and Facilities on implementing creative workplace solutions.
In a hybrid work environment, these solutions are critical to getting people to return to the workplace. Employers worry about whether their people will return after more than a year of remote work. The workplace experience manager not only comes up with solutions that encourage people to work on-site, they oversee this cross-functional, high-impact work.
How to lean into the role of workplace experience conductor
- If you haven’t already, build cross-functional partnerships with folks in HR, IT, and Facilities.
- Establish a workplace strategy (consult your cross-functional teammates!). Among other things, your strategy should articulate how you’ll work with these teams and align everyone on what you’re trying to accomplish and how you’ll do it.
- Find opportunities to support cross-functional teams with their initiatives. This will help deepen your relationships with these critical partners. It’ll also give you more visibility by ensuring you’re a stakeholder in the work they’re doing.
2 – Maestro of workplace technology
IT may implement the technology used on-site. But the workplace experience manager identifies what tech employees need in the workplace, where it should go, and how to get employees to make the most of it. Their role is key to ensuring that companies use their technology investments to the fullest.
Workplace technology will make or break the success of a hybrid work model. Employees need to be able to collaborate effectively with team members regardless of where they’re located. Having the right technology in place ensures seamless communication and collaboration. It also enables people to go into the workplace and get what they need done in an efficient and effective manner. That may include using their mobile device to reserve a spot in the workplace or finding and booking the best meeting room for their big meeting.
How to lean into the role of technology maestro
- Become an expert on all things workplace tech. Survey your workforce to understand their favorite tools, what technology frustrates them, what keeps their work moving, and where there are gaps.
- Keep a finger on the pulse of technology trends. Not every new trend will be the right fit for your workplace (or your budget). But being aware of new solutions means you can move fast if you decide to implement them down the line.
- Take care to build a great relationship with your IT department. They need your support to find technologies that employees will use and you need their technical expertise to implement them.
3 – Enabler of workplace collaboration and safety
The workplace experience manager ensures people can work with peace of mind knowing that their employer is thinking about their health and safety. They also ensure that real estate dollars are put to the best use by keeping track of workplace occupancy and ensuring every square inch of the workplace is put to good use.
In the post-pandemic work world, 47% of employees want their organizations to provide a more flexible work environment. When they do work on-site, they want to feel confident that they won’t get sick. On top of that, employees want to use the workplace to collaborate and connect with co-workers. The workplace experience manager ensures that their workforce can remain healthy and have great experiences while on-site.
How to lean into the role of enabler of a safe and collaborative workplace
- Don’t try to do everything manually. It’s difficult to keep track of who’s in the workplace and when. Mistakes can put your people’s health at risk. Implementing workplace tools will help you streamline this work.
- In a hybrid work environment, the world of work changes. Build employee personas to understand the people who make up your workforce and how to support them.
- Map out your workplace to get a good look at the physical spaces available and how they’re used. Use the employee personas to make optimizations based on your people’s space needs.
Workplace experience has always been important. It may not have been something companies invested heavily in (if at all) before the pandemic. But with the rise of hybrid work comes the need to double down on the workplace experience. And who better to do an efficient and impactful job than the workplace experience manager? By leaning into the responsibilities above, you can position your work as critical to your organization’s transition to hybrid work and essential to its long-term success.