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How to Improve Workplace Experience

employees collaborating, workplace experience
Chuck Leddy
Published on

Workplace experience is a proactive and human-centered approach to office design, technology, and culture to help people interact with and optimally utilize their workplace. Workplace experience is thus an evolving ecosystem made up of everything that impacts employees’ ability to do their best work, from furniture to workplace policies to technological enablement to company culture to employee experience initiatives and beyond.

Workplace experience has become an increasingly prominent focus for organizations, especially at a time when the components that make up workplace experience (space, tech, and people) have become more complicated and important. Indeed, many forward-leaning organizations now have “workplace experience managers” and/or “workplace experience teams” to focus their own employee experience efforts and investments.

Why Workplace Experience Matters

A great workplace experience is similar to a positive employee experience, although the employee journey expands beyond your office's four walls. Employee experience focuses more on the experience of an employee across the entire employee life cycle. Whereas workplace experience focuses more on an employee's experience in the physical workspace.

The goals of both experiences is to provide people with the resources and tools they need to thrive at work. When people have a positive workplace experience, they tend to feel more engaged with an organization’s culture, impacting employee satisfaction and employee retention rates as well.

Global consultancy Deloitte makes the best case for why workplace experience matters: “companies with the top-rated workforce experiences generated 22% higher engagement among workers compared to other organizations. Furthermore, organizations with workforce experiences rated as the best enjoyed 12% greater customer satisfaction . . . and their three-year revenue growth rate was 2.3 times greater than the average [company].”

Your organization can have the best leadership team and the best business strategies in the world, but if you can’t retain and recruit talent to execute those strategies, you’ll have no chance to grow or innovate. Engaged employees drive better business outcomes.

Engaging employees should be a top priority for any workplace team.

What Makes a Great Workplace Experience?

The quality of the workplace and employee experience plays a crucial role in the success of any work model, be it a hybrid arrangement or full onsite work. Workplace experience has three major components:

  • Space – The physical work environment in which your employees do their work.
  • Technology – The systems and tools your employees use to do their jobs.
  • People – The relationships, policies, and company culture that impact how work gets done for your organization.

While every organization is unique, all great workplace experiences place value on these three elements. The goal is to create well-designed spaces that encourage connection while also providing people with all the resources they need to do their best work. Ultimately, these types of environments drive better employee performance, create a positive workplace culture and reduce employee turnover.

How to Improve the Workplace Experience

We know space, technology and people are the ingredients for a positive workplace experience. Let’s examine each component individually, with recommendations for improvement.

1. Space Considerations for Better Workplace Experiences

Physical workspace directly impacts people’s productivity, job satisfaction and health. If your offices are cramped and outdated, filled with uncomfortable furniture and bad lighting, your talent will be less productive and their health will suffer for it.

“A positive workplace environment can reduce [people’s] chronic stress and ensuing physiological consequences, such as higher levels of cortisol and increased risk of heart disease,” notes Deloitte. “The workplace can serve as a medium through which an organization can uniquely foster (and change) its culture.”

You can improve the physical workspace by doing the following:

Understand How Your Office is Being Used

Leverage office utilization data or workplace analytics to build better workplace experiences. For example, if your data shows that some areas or workspaces (e.g., meeting or conference rooms) are not being used, you might want to convert the space to another use. If your meeting rooms are always busy and/or overbooked, you might consider adding more meeting rooms, perhaps by converting underutilized spaces into meeting rooms.

Regularly review your workplace analytics to understand how your office is being used.

Provide a Variety of Spaces for Different Purposes

Space serves different purposes for people at different times. Obviously, your meeting rooms should support smaller and larger groups/teams, but you should also provide designated spaces for quiet immersion/individual focus, relaxation (a “quiet room” or meditation room), socializing, brainstorming, eating/drinking coffee, and more.

Consider Workplace Design and Ambience

Workplace experience is a holistic concept, so consider office lighting, biophilia (plants and greenery), the colors on the walls, and the general “flow” of your spaces. Natural light, for example, is better than fluorescent light for improving people’s mood and productivity. More greenery and natural landscapes are beneficial too, so consider increasing those “natural” elements.

2. Workplace Technology to Support Workplace Experiences

People come into the office seeking collaboration, connection, and community-building. The worst workplace experience is when someone makes a long commute into a largely-empty office and sits on Zoom all day.

Technology tools enable great workplace experiences because they allow people to easily book office space and schedule opportunities for collaboration and connection. The friction and hassle of competing with coworkers over a limited number of desks and meeting rooms gets eliminated. Here's where to focus:

Invest in Desk Booking Software

In a more flexible world, employees don't necessarily need assigned desks. In fact, set seating arrangements can mean wasted office space since employees don't come in every day. That's why many companies leverage hot desking, treating each desk as a flexible workspace people can book day to day.

So instead of playing a frustrating game of musical (office) chairs, desk booking software enables people to come into the office, collaborate with colleagues, and do their best work. That a triple win for your people, your organization, and your bottom line.

Leverage a Room Scheduling Tool

A great workplace experience facilitates internal communication and collaboration among employees, allowing them to connect and coordinate with teammates in designated meeting spaces. However, it can be frustrating when employees struggle to find suitable areas on-site.

Make it easy for teams to find the resources they need.

By investing in room scheduling software, you can provide employees with a seamless solution to locate and reserve available rooms whenever needed. This software enables them to view room availability and select the most suitable option for their specific requirements, whether it's a small pod for one-on-one discussions or a large room for group presentations or brainstorming sessions.

Build Better Visitor Experiences

As the old saying goes: You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Make sure your workplace provides a stellar experience for visiting clients or guests.

A visitor management system helps streamline the entire process - from alerting employees of a guest's arrival to providing visitors with instructions. Providing an easy, frictionless customer experience in your office supports key business objectives like improving client relationships and building long-lasting partnerships.

3. Employee Engagement for Improved Workplace Experience

How people feel about their workspace and their organization matters a lot for productivity, engagement, and talent retention. For instance, when the lighting is bad or the office equipment doesn’t work, people start thinking – “doesn’t this organization care enough about me to change the light bulbs so I can work without straining my eyes?” The small things impact the big things, so it's important to prioritize an employee experience strategy.

Give Employees a Voice in Workplace Experience

Both workplace and employee experience improves when you give employees a say in the decisions that impact their work, using their feedback to make positive changes that address their needs.

Whenever your leadership team is uncertain about what people want, whether around space utilization or technological support, the best practice is to simply ask people via employee surveys or other methods. When feedback is heard and then used to make improvements, employees feel valued and their workplace experience is enhanced.

Give employees the right tools to provide feedback on their experiences.

Connect Employees with Company Events

Another “people-centered” way to improve workplace experience is to provide your team with opportunities for connection in the form of events and social activities. Organizational events not only foster and nurture your company's culture but also serve as a convenient method to bring people together.

These events can range from professional gatherings, such as company-wide all-hands meetings, to personal celebrations like commemorating employee birthdays or recognizing significant accomplishments. Never forget that the biggest draw for the office is people wanting to work with (and be with) other people. A whopping 84% of people would be more likely to come into the office if they knew their colleagues were there.

Build a Culture of Collaboration

When employees value collaboration, the workplace experience is naturally more vibrant. Coming into an office where people are sharing ideas and in active discussion with one another is energizing and often makes teams want to come back for more.

Promote teamwork by assigning projects that require collaboration across different departments or teams. Encourage employees to work together, exchange knowledge, and leverage each other's strengths to achieve better outcomes. To improve employee engagement and build a workplace culture that is focused on collaboration you need to actively support opportunities for cross-functional work.

Collaboration is a core part of a good workplace experience.

The Bottom Line on Workplace Experience

Better employee experiences start with Robin’s workplace experience platform, a set of integrated tools that deliver a positive workplace experience while giving workplace leaders the workplace analytics necessary to drive workplace experience improvement.

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 alongside their colleagues. Interested in learning more about how to improve your workplace experience? Learn more about what Robin has to offer

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