The #1 reason people want to come into the office is surprisingly simple: to see (and work with) other people. In fact, 84% of employees would be motivated to come into the office if they knew they could socialize with coworkers. There’s nothing worse than making a big effort to commute into the office only to find it empty. You can sit alone on Zoom at home, after all.
Enter workplace experience technology, including desk and office booking software, that enables people to coordinate their work week and see who else is coming into the office. That visibility changes the entire workplace experience, allowing people to meet, collaborate, socialize, and do more gatherings with others. While it’s great to see a colleague’s face on a screen, nothing can beat the experience of coming together in person.
3 Functions Any Workplace Experience App Needs
Connecting people can be challenging, which is why the ability to coordinate schedules and see who else is coming into the office becomes such a foundational capability for hybrid work. While organizations need to have a workplace experience app with desk booking capabilities to help them manage their office, any digital workplace experience tool needs to offer three additional components:
- A user-friendly interface so people can seamlessly gain visibility into who’s coming in and easily coordinate their schedules accordingly,
- A powerful and continuous source of office usage data to help organizations drive strategic decisions via timely insights, and
- A platform to foster meaningful connection and interaction among people.
“Any viable workplace experience solution needs to help people plan out their work week, and enabling that requires having visibility into who else is coming into the office so people and teams can decide how they want to interact with the office, as well as with colleagues,” says Milo MacPhail, Product Manager, Robin.
What Workplace Experience Technology Enables
Imagine an engineering manager who lives 30 miles from the office. She wants to meet team members and colleagues for collaboration and other reasons, but also doesn’t want to show up to an empty office after a long commute.
Research from Axios indicates that 74% of employees miss having an office community. If people are the most attractive aspect of the office, guess what’s the least attractive? Yes, the commute. Let’s explore the features and benefits any workplace technology solution should be offering her:
1. Optimizing Processes with Tool Integrations
Engineers typically spend lots of time working via digital collaboration platforms such as Slack. The best way for the engineering manager to connect with other engineers is through the tools that her team already uses. So any desk/office booking solution would need to integrate with popular tools such as Slack and Microsoft Teams, as well as with people’s digital calendars.
The engineering manager should be able to go into Slack, access the engineering team via its Slack channel, and easily organize a team get- together with the help of the integrated desk booking solution. The integrated booking solution helps the engineering team find the best space and the best time to connect in the office.
2. Enabling People to Coordinate Schedules
“People want to find and schedule the best times that they can collaborate in the office, both as a team and individually,” says MacPhail, “times when they can also run into others not on their team, people they don't typically get the opportunity to see in person.” The ability to go into Slack and see her team’s schedule enables the engineering manager to see exactly when the most people are coming into the office. On top of that, she can view what in-office activities are happening that she and her teammates might want to participate in.
So maybe most of the engineering team is coming in on a Tuesday for a brainstorming session or a hackathon. Maybe “Taco Thursdays” or catered lunches on Wednesdays become attractive draws for some engineers. You've got meetings in the office on specific days; you've also got activities in the office you want to join.
You can even get to know your coworkers outside of the office via after-hours social activities. Enable that visibility through a workplace experience app so people can plan to be with other people.
3. Planning Events Inside and Outside Working Hours
The engineering team could even plan activities and book spaces using Slack or MS Teams with an integrated booking software tool. The team can display upcoming in-office activities on Slack. Maybe they're all coming together at a hackathon on Friday morning, booking a big conference room.
With an activities feature in a workplace experience app, for instance, the engineering team could organize a group outing to a big sporting event or dinner at that hot local eatery. The engineering manager can see that most of her team are going, and then decide she’d love to join them.
Again, whatever space booking and scheduling coordination tool people use needs to integrate with other tools. You must be able to see the full spectrum of what your day looks like, both inside the booking solution and outside of it. All your digital workplace experience technology needs to talk to each other.
4. Gaining Visibility Across Your Organization
Beyond coordinating within a team, it’s also essential to have wider visibility into what's happening across the rest of the office and organization, which workplace experience technology should enable. You’d want to know: “When might my manager’s manager be coming into the office or when will my closest friends from other departments be in?” You want to have visibility so you can take advantage of opportunities to meet in person.
In the end, people are what motivates us to come into the office. Robin provides the visibility and space/scheduling coordination capability people need, and is also fully integrated with other workplace experience tools. People can leverage these tools to help them create the workplace experiences they want so they can come into the office to do their best work and see their coworkers too.