Global Workplace Manager at The Knot Worldwide
The Knot Worldwide makes moments that matter using workplace data
While The Knot Worldwide started as a company to help people plan their weddings, it has since expanded to help celebrate life’s biggest moments, from planning a birthday party to becoming a parent. As the company has grown in scope, so has its global footprint. The Knot Worldwide, headquartered in Chevy Chase, MD, now has 10 office locations and employees in 15 countries, spanning North America, EMEA, LATAM, and APAC.The Knot Worldwide has a flexible work policy program, best summed up by its title: “Work where you work best.” The company gives its employees the flexibility to work from home. However, at the same time, The Knot Worldwide recognizes the value of people coming into the office to build connections and collaborate at work. From onboarding and training, to hosting team bonding events, The Knot Worldwide uses their office locations to elevate their employee-facing brand for work-related “Moments that matter.”
That’s where the Global Workplace team comes in to ensure employees have a great experience while in the office. This includes implementing software tools to interact with and manage the workplace, as well as using technology to inform real estate decisions. Haley Vela, Senior Global Workplace Coordinator, cites data as being critical when evaluating different office locations and their leases. “We want to have a presence in locations around the world, so we need to ensure we have accurate numbers to make the best real estate decisions for our employees and our company as a whole,” said Vela.
Crafting great employee experiences starts with understanding various employee perspectives and their reasons for coming into an office. For some employees, it might be to see the new office space. For others, it may be connecting with coworkers when they can see who is scheduled to be onsite.“I think the biggest point of employee feedback we’ve had is that some people forgot what it’s like to be in the office,” said Amber Green, Global Workplace Manager. “And so when they go in, a lot of time is spent reconnecting with coworkers, which fuels their energy.”
This serves as a guiding principle for Green and her team as they plan and implement their workplace design. A prime example of this is their new Barcelona office, which opened in October 2023. “We were intentional with how we designed our new Barcelona location, where we were consolidating two previous locations into one new building with more space–over 39,000 square feet for up to 300 employees,” said Green. “We wanted to create more collaborative spaces that encourage connecting and celebrating–to reflect the flexibility of work that our employees need. This is what we mean by using the office for ‘Moments that matter.’”
A customizable platform for The Knot Worldwide’s needs
While The Knot Worldwide originally used a different office space software solution, they soon realized they needed a more user-friendly tool for both admins and employees to use on a daily basis. After an introductory call and demo, Green appreciated how easy it was for both admins and employees to get Envoy set up, even for their international offices. “One of The Knot Worldwide’s brands is Bodas.net, and they are located in Barcelona. So when we first rolled out Envoy, our team in Spain was so thankful that their training was in Spanish,” said Green. “And now, with our new Barcelona office, we’re excited to have our employees use Envoy’s visitor management solution in both English and Spanish when they invite guests to come onsite.”
For day-to-day workplace operations, Haley Vela appreciates how she’s empowered to make the changes she needs to support The Knot Worldwide employees in real time within Envoy. Vela can upload floor plans and dynamically customize workplace maps with Desks and Rooms as part of Envoy Workplace, rather than having to wait to work with a service representative. Integrations are also key to crafting a streamlined employee experience with the tools employees already use. “Amber and I were able to set up the Envoy integration with Brivo, our access control system, for the Portland office without IT’s assistance, which really speaks to the ease of using these features of Envoy Workplace,” said Vela. “That way, our employees are automatically checked in when they badge into the office, so we can understand how our spaces are being used for capacity and resource planning.”
But when questions come up in real-time, Vela knows there’s someone to answer her questions fast. “Live chat with Envoy has been so helpful and quick,” said Vela. “I’ve even had support to help fine-tune and customize how we use Envoy’s platform to serve our needs. For example, we wanted to set up an alert that would email our New York admin anytime someone books a desk at that office. We were able to customize our employee sign-in flow so our New York WeWork office admin could understand in real time who was coming into that space.”
Data to drive critical decisions and events
Being able to see this level of workplace utilization influenced a key real estate decision for the New York office when their office lease came up for renewal. “We were able to use our data from Envoy's occupancy dashboard to better understand our office needs.” recalled Vela. “It provided us with insight into employee traffic—is the office being utilized frequently vs only when we are coming together as a company to connect or celebrate. By identifying this workplace data trend, we efficiently provided real-time data for our real estate team so they could make the best decision to support our New York based employees.
With the space utilization data from Envoy, The Knot Worldwide's Global Workplace team was excited to leverage the insights when designing the new Barcelona office space. “We made a conscious decision to make the majority of our bookable spaces in our new office for collaboration and connection,” said Amber Green, Global Workplace Manager. “Based on our previous experience and data from our other offices, we designed Barcelona’s office to have more collaborative spaces taking the place of traditional desks. While we still have some individual workstations available to reserve, employees can book seats at collaborative tables, like cafe seating, to encourage casual conversations.”
Green and her team also designed flexible meeting rooms that are rich in amenities, including movable whiteboards and room partitions that can divide or open up larger spaces. “We’re hoping to identify trends as people book these spaces,” said Green, “so we can understand our employees’ needs and the kinds of amenities they use the most in order to drive workplace design for future offices.”
Designing the workplace for maximum flexibility is especially true for the largest space in the Barcelona office–its canteen. Equipped with a large digital screen, the canteen can also serve as a place to hold company-wide gatherings. It has a flexible meeting space in one corner, where a room partition can divide that into a smaller bookable area when needed. A large mural by renowned local artist Perrine Honore features Barcelona landmarks, serving as a welcoming visual for new employees who will gather here for their onboarding sessions.The canteen is also located next to the patio with a doorway for overflows into the outdoor area, making this space ideal for people to interact and engage with each other for large company events.
In addition, The Knot Worldwide has also started to host an annual global office conference called Engage, where over 1800 people attend two days of simultaneous virtual and in-person sessions in six countries around the world. A critical part of planning and executing this year’s event, which took place in February 2023, was centered around data. The Knot Worldwide's Global Workforce team worked with their Events team to encourage employees to register their office attendance and book a desk through Envoy. Using Envoy’s data, the Events team could then get an accurate headcount to plan for catering, snacks, happy hours, and gifting moments for their employees. The team also used Envoy to help plan for the different meeting spaces for their 19 total in-office events. Longer term, The Knot Worldwide plans to use workplace utilization data to help inform their environmental and sustainability goals by understanding the impact of how their employees use their locations.
“Having employees use Envoy on a global scale with the Engage event has also sparked smaller moments that matter—which is what we’re looking for!” said Green. “It doesn’t always have to be some massive global event for people to come into the office. In some locations, we’re seeing more people use Envoy to know when their work friends are coming in, schedule team lunches, and invite others for spontaneous happy hours. People are using Envoy to help start those conversations and connections.”
Empowering employees to create “Moments that matter” for each other
Building community within a company starts with employees, and Senior Global Workplace Coordinator Haley Vela was excited to see how Envoy helps connect people in the workplace in creative ways. Using Envoy’s mobile announcements and scheduling, The Knot Worldwide’s Portland office organized a craft fair during the last holiday season, which was a big hit. “Our office in Portland is close knit–about 20 people–and a lot of them have their own creative outlet, making handmade crafts like candles, magnets and earrings,” said Vela. “It was easy to create an announcement via the Envoy app to promote Maker’s Market, our employee holiday craft fair! That office got to show the things they do outside of work and support each other by buying those crafts as gifts during the holiday season. I know our folks in Portland have fond memories of enjoying the togetherness from last year, and are planning to do it again this year.”
Improving how employees use Envoy is key to ensuring that they use it more frequently. This becomes a virtuous loop where employees are motivated to come in when they can see their coworkers’ schedules and “create, connect & celebrate” (another The Knot Worldwide tagline) with each other. On top of that, admins then have the necessary data to make better real estate decisions to improve the employee experience.
Both Haley Vela and Amber Green are encouraged by how they see The Knot Worldwide employees using Envoy in their day-to-day work life, such as inviting coworkers to the office for more face-to-face interactions. Green particularly likes how employees are using the “favorites” feature, where they can get reminders from Envoy when certain colleagues have scheduled upcoming days onsite. Plus, when Envoy rolled out its Google Calendar integration to register and book desks directly there, Vela remembered how eager employees were. “When I told everyone that this was available, immediately people said ‘Oh my goodness, show me!’,” said Vela, “And they can do that with quite literally just a touch of a button on their phone. We’re also really excited about the Slack integration, which is another big win for all of us!”
A partner for future-proofing the workplace
The Global Workplace team at The Knot Worldwide values Envoy as both a tool and a partner to create the best work environment possible for their employees. Both Haley Vela and Amber Green appreciate how flexible and self-service it is to adjust their workspaces when needed on the Envoy platform, especially when setting up their interactive workplace maps. At the same time, they appreciate how dedicated the Envoy team is to ensuring The Knot Worldwide gets the most out of Envoy, including regular insights on the product roadmap and tailored recommendations on how to implement new features. Amber Green cites that Envoy’s ease of use and “how we’ve partnered with them to customize it for our needs makes Envoy the right choice for our company.”
At The Knot Worldwide, employees come first, and Envoy provides the data and tools that empower coworkers to have moments that matter together. “When we switched to Envoy, I had employees–who I’ve never interacted with before–reach out to me to say this is the best platform ever!” said Amber Green. “Envoy is so responsive and hands-on in helping me and my team make it the best platform for The Knot Worldwide, and that valuable partnership is what keeps us working with them.”