The Playbook for Office Engagement

Becky Chariton
Becky Chariton
Published on 
12.20.2022

Hybrid office workplace experience

I sat down with Robin’s Workplace Experience Manager, Diana Prachan, to find out what she’s doing to improve the office and learn more about her three-phase approach to building a workplace engagement strategy.

According to Ring Central’s 2022 State of Human Connections at Work Report, 29% of people say isolation and loneliness at work impact how much enthusiasm they have for their jobs and 27% say it impacts their connection with coworkers. How can you solve for that? By building a space that people want to be in, a space that’s comfortable and conducive for all types of work.

As Diana reevaluated Robin’s office engagement plan, our office layout was front of mind. Before she could reorganize and amplify our office space, she had to find the bottom line: what do Robinauts need to be productive in the office?

Her approach focuses on: 

  • Collecting and analyzing data 
  • Turning conclusions into action 
  • Using data to measure outcomes  

Let’s take a closer look at her approach and how it can be applied universally.

People gather in the office for collaboration, connection, and culture building. Make sure your space is prepped for all 3.

Phase 1: Understanding Office Traffic and Trends

When Diana started, she relied heavily on Robin’s workplace analytics, specifically the Workplace Insights Dashboard and Global Index Trends, to determine what would be the best fit for the office.

“One of the biggest challenges we needed to prioritize was figuring out our office utilization and optimizing our space. We had seen the utilization drop across both our floors and with a larger number of employees working outside the Boston area, we questioned if the space was still the right size for us.”

After analyzing different metrics, Diana realized that in total the office only needed about 40 desks, which is roughly half of the previous capacity. This meant that Diana and her team could right-size the office and sublet one floor to save on real estate costs. 

Key Takeaways: Data-driven decisions build vibrant hybrid workplaces. Data and analytics play a crucial role in determining what resources and spaces you need to best support your teams.

Phase 2: Optimizing the Office to Rebuild Vibrancy 

The next step was physically building out the space Diana had imagined. Cutting our office in half meant she would need to reconfigure the second floor to support more people and meetings. To do so, Diana and her team:

  • Added telephone booths to the office layout, for individual virtual meetings
  • Changed the office capacity in the Robin app
  • Rearranged meeting spaces to accommodate more people

The smaller space enhances productivity, increases collaboration, and cuts Robin’s real estate costs. The added benefit? It’s more comfortable and homey. People are less spread out and can easily gather in meeting rooms or shared spaces to discuss their work, or even just have a conversation about their day. 

“Phase 2 is all about reinvigorating the office. We’re relying on our own Robin tools, like activities and “work week” view, to increase visibility,” said Diana. “I updated our office map, so people can see what’s changing and stay prepared each day.”

People book new activities, like breakfast sandwich Thursdays, and add them to the calendar, so others can join. In case the fear of missing out doesn’t draw people in, Diana and her team also implemented new workplace perks like a commuter reimbursement, to help drive people into the office. 

Robinauts gather for an annual office event, RossCon

Key takeaways: Office perks are a great way to motivate people to come into the office. Whether it’s a cozy office layout, a commuter benefit, or group activities - perks help bring people together and encourage people to come in.

Phase 3: Collecting Feedback and Reassessing 

With a new layout and workplace perks in place, the next step is monitoring the office and tracking how employees respond to the new changes. 

“To improve and track employee experience, we use our Experience survey to keep tabs on what is and isn’t working in the eyes of our team members and continue to improve the spaces and in-office benefits accordingly,” said Diana. 

The office isn’t static and there is always room for improvement. By collecting feedback Diana can gain a better understanding of what changes are having a positive impact on employee experience and what else can be improved. 

The only way to know what’s missing from the office is to ask the people using it. Our newly revamped space is welcoming and designed to support all types of work. As we continue to grow as an organization, and the role of the office continues to evolve, so will our space.

Key takeaway: Employee feedback is the best way to measure how your new strategy is doing. Don’t be afraid to try something new, see how it does, and make adjustments as needed. Make sure your office is pliable enough to grow with your teams.

3 Tips for Building an Employee Engagement Strategy

When it comes to hybrid work, there is no one size fits all. Every team has different needs and therefore every office will look different. Diana’s approach to employee engagement won’t apply to everyone, but it can be a great example to help you get started. Here are some tips from Diana you won’t want to skip.

Tip #1 Data Doesn’t Lie

If you want to find out what your teams need, data can help you get there. Let data be your guide as you build out or rebuild your office space, whether it's through workplace analytics or global hybrid trends.

Some key metrics  to pay close attention to:

  • Office trips and trends: The amount of office traffic over time
  • Desk capacity and utilization: Office traffic vs. desk capacity
  • Space utilization and configuration insight: Meeting room and space usage
  • Bounce rate: the percentage of employees coming into the office once, then not returning for at least 30 days

Want to hear directly from your teams? Try using an employee experience survey.

Tip #2 Perks are Great for Morale and Attendance

If you pick the wrong perks they can seem gimmicky, but if you can identify what perks will benefit your employees then they’ll be impactful. Do you have parents on your team? Can you offer lunch on team days? What about a commuter benefit? The role of workplace experience leaders is to minimize the barriers between people and the office, consider what incentives could sway their decision to make the commute. 

Here are the top workplace perks according to our recent Employee Motivator report.

  1. Free lunch
  2. Facetime with execs
  3. Team building events
  4. Commuter stipend
  5. Health/fitness perks

Diana noted that team building events caused office attendance to spike. The opportunity to gather with team members and connect with executives consistently draws people to our office. Test out new perks with your teams, look at the results, and adjust as needed.

Perks can motivate people to go into the office

Tip #3 Office Visibility Goes a Long Way

Did you know 64% of employees said knowing a team would be in the office on a particular day made it more likely they would go in? Office visibility is key and plays a major role in office trips.

Workplace experience platforms, like Robin, make it easy for teams to see who will be in when, so people can plan their days around collaboration and teamwork. Features like favorites, announcements, and activities help connect people and streamline communication.

Let people know what’s going on in the office, so they can join in on the fun.

Building a Better Workplace Experience

The office is meant to be a space where employees feel comfortable gathering together. It should enable productivity and collaboration, and in the end, should be a visual representation of your company’s culture. 

No two workplaces will look the same, that’s why utilizing analytics is crucial to finding a strategy that fits your team's needs. With the right insights, you can build an office that’s catered to your team. Want to learn more about Robin’s workplace analytic tools? Get started today.