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Everything You Need to Know About Workplace Services

people in a meeting room, employees collaborating in a meeting space
Stephanie Tilton
Published on

With today’s offices featuring amenities like meditation rooms, on-site cafes and gyms, and ergonomic furniture, it’s hard to believe that metal trash cans were once an important workplace option. Yet they were transformative.

In early 20th-century offices governed by much looser building and fire codes, office fires were not uncommon. All it took was someone carelessly tossing their lit cigar or cigarette into a wicker wastebasket, and the office or entire building would go up in flames. Once Steelcase introduced metal wastebaskets, office fires largely became a thing of the past.

Since then, workplace amenities have served a different – yet equally vital – role. While technology like computers and Internet access enabled easier collaboration and connectivity, it also sparked an industry that led the way in luring talent with unique and memorable workplace environments and experiences.

Fast-forward to the post-pandemic era, when amenities are designed to do more than enhance the workplace experience – they are pivotal to every organization drawing employees into the office. Now that remote work is an appealing alternative to in-office time; employees have higher expectations and demands of how they are supported in the office. Enter workplace services, which businesses are calling upon to create efficient, well-appointed workspaces that promote in-office visits.

When employees come into the office, they expect quick and effective access to the resources they need.

What Are Workplace Services?

While workplace services can encompass a range of amenities and aesthetics, they generally go beyond workspace maintenance to cover anything contributing to a positive work experience and environment. Though these options can come in the form of physical resources, there's also a category of digital workplace services that Accenture defines as enabling "people to work and collaborate from any device and any location, at any time."

Here at Robin, we think of workplace services as a way to empower employees with support for special requests associated with events and spaces around the office. Think everything from space setup and catered lunches and seamless audio visual (AV) equipment operation.

Sometimes referred to as soft services, workplace services provide employees with the environment that best supports them in the office while allowing organizations to achieve their business goals. In the past, some companies outsourced digital workplace services but now that these functions are so critical, many companies need software that they can directly manage.

Workplace services can refer to anything from catering a meeting to booking speciality equipment.

Why Do Workplace Services Matter?

Even if you have adopted a hybrid work model, a modern workplace service can support your workforce in a way that satisfies their expectations for a standout experience. By providing options and conveniences, your company can help promote frictionless experiences that drive high levels of engagement, efficiency, and productivity.

And that’s essential as you compete to bring employees into the office. Accustomed to flex schedules and the option of working from home, employees view the office as a place to both collaborate and focus on work requiring intense concentration and a quiet environment. Within that workspace, amenities shape employee experiences on a daily basis. 

In addition to being a deciding factor for employees considering a return to the office, workplace services can create an appealing office experience that stimulates people to do their best work. Beyond boosting employee productivity, a pleasant, smoothly running office can convey the sense that the company cares about their experience. That, in turn, can improve employee morale.

Workplace services do more than make existing employees feel more connected to their companies, co-workers and in-office experiences – they are a competitive advantage that can attract the newest generations of workers. One study found that 86% of professionals under 40 need on-site amenities to accept a job. That's worth noting -- as the fastest-growing segment of workplace talent, Millennials and Gen Z are helping shape the future of work.

For younger generations, a collaborative and connected workplace can attract top talent.

3 Tips for Optimal Workplace Services

As you look to improve the workplace services you offer, keep the employee experience top of mind – and aim to deliver one that leaves them feeling like guests at a five-star resort. This doesn’t mean you’re expected to provide spa treatments. Rather, focus on ensuring employees feel their every work need is catered to and optimized.

Meeting Room Resourcing Tips

Knowing an effective conference room paves the way for connection, collaboration, and creativity, it pays to ensure the right setup. To that end, equip these rooms with state-of-the-art technology while designing the space to balance comfort with productivity.

To start, set up and outfit the space to suit its purpose. In addition to supplying appropriate table(s) and the right number of chairs, provide good lighting and acoustics, natural touches like plants, and the equipment that drives meeting success (such as interactive whiteboards, projectors, and screens). The space should include all the ports and outlets needed to accommodate meeting attendees and their technology requirements. And don’t forget to optimize for remote employee participation with robust internet connections, cameras, and microphones.

Having meeting room displays outside of spaces, teams can quickly locate free rooms and book them from the display.

Then make sure employees can reserve these rooms with ease via digital workplace services, like a user-friendly meeting room booking system. Ideally, meeting organizers can view meeting space features and availability in real-time and avoid double-bookings. Moreover, they should be able to easily report missing or broken equipment, so you can quickly address issues that stand in the way of effective meetings. Combine this feedback with workplace analytics data generated by a space management solution. The result is a view into room usage and challenges that empowers workplace and facilities managers to make improvements.

Audio Visual Setup Tips

Workspaces designed to accommodate hybrid work feature webcam equipment that connects people no matter their location. Some web cameras enable immersive audio-visual experiences with a rotating camera featuring a microphone and speaker. Another key piece of AV equipment is projectors and/or video monitors capable of displaying presentations, documents, and even collaborative whiteboards.

To ensure uninterrupted conversations and presentations, wire your AV equipment directly to your network or deploy a separate SSID to support wireless connectivity without congesting your network. It’s also smart to reserve the 2.4 GHz channel or 5 GHz channel on your dual-band routers for video conferencing.

Another factor to consider when it comes to avoiding meeting disruptions is room acoustics. High-quality audio speakers allow both in-person and remote participants to hear everything clearly. Just make sure those speakers can easily sync with the rest of your meeting room technology.

Whatever your AV setup, be sure the equipment is served by optimally placed, dedicated outlets and that it’s possible for participants to record their meetings.

AV setup is more critical than ever as most meetings are hybrid, requiring video conferencing capabilities.

Catering Services Tips

If you are catering office lunches regularly, set up a process and deadline for gathering people’s orders. Once you’ve catered a few lunches, you can create a list of running orders highlighting people’s go-to choices. That way, you can still place an order when an employee isn’t available to make their lunch selection.

While food is core to any catering plan, the space and supporting elements are just as important. Make sure to provide sufficient room and table space along with utensils, plates, and napkins. While a conference room will suffice for a team meeting, you’ll need a larger, open space for an all-company meeting. To keep things moving along for particularly large gatherings, consider setting up multiple buffet tables so no one has to stand too long in line.

If you’d rather hand off all the planning, choose a catering provider that handles scheduling, ordering, catering, and room setup and cleanup. By partnering in this way, you’ll offload yourself of ongoing headaches and be confident about the consistency of each catered lunch.

Bonus: If you’re based in the Boston, Massachusetts area, check out our top lunch catering ideas.

Elevate the Employee Experience with Workplace Services

In your quest to make your office a destination, it’s smart to elevate the employee experience. Amenities that improve the office experience are a worthwhile investment – after all, they boost employee morale and productivity.

As you plan ways to deploy or enhance workplace services, be sure to call upon the service desk technology and interface that make it easy to orchestrate how you schedule and deliver these amenities. Ideally, this service desk will empower employees to easily connect with the right person from your company to satisfy their in-office needs and elevate their workplace experience.

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