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8 steps for optimising your workplace experience

8 simple steps for optimising your workplace experience

 

Research suggests the average UK worker is going into their office less than 1.5 days a week.

So if an employee is going to leave the comfort of their home, that brand new agile working environment has got to be worth making the trip for.

But how do you create an awesome workplace experience?

It’s a good question. And one we’ve been asked by so many clients recently, so we thought it was worth sharing our thoughts and experience. 

From brand immersion to design innovation, here are our 8 simple steps towards optimising your workplace experience. 

First things first, though:

 

Why is workplace experience important?

Today, employees are looking for more than just a great space to work in. Instead, they seek a sense of purpose, shared experiences and a place where to belong. 

In fact, research from BetterUp revealed some startling statistics about the value of belonging at work: high belonging was linked to a 56% increase in job performance, a 50% drop in turnover risk and a 75% reduction in sick days. But creating a great workplace experience can do so much more. Done right, it creates a strong culture and can ensure you get the most out of your space; we’ve gone into more detail about the ROI of office design here. 

So how do you do it?

 

8 steps for optimising your workplace experience

#1 Get to know your people  

OK, it may sound cliche but it’s true: everyone’s different. And this goes for the way we like to work as well. From analysts to explorers, there are 16 different personality types - not to mention the fact that one in seven people are neurodivergent

With all this in mind, it makes sense to start by understanding how employees like to work and what makes them feel most productive. 

 

 

#2 Immerse employees in your brand and purpose

Next, think about your workplace DNA. 

Essentially, this is about whether or not your workplace feels like you. So use your space as a narrative to tell your story; people want that sense of connection to your higher purpose.

In fact, your workplace is a crucial element of your brand. That means your character, purpose and values should be reflected in the space you occupy. Because fulfilling your brand promise isn’t just important to customers; it’s vital for your employees too. Immerse employees into your brand - much like you’d do with your customers - and make it an intrinsic part of your EVP (employee value proposition).

Increasingly, office spaces are turning towards the hospitality and retail sectors for inspiration. Placemaking is becoming more and more important to the workplace. This helps enhance that sense of community and collaboration today's employees are looking for.

 

#3 Create something truly memorable

Designing for memorability is an extension of brand immersion. Think about designing moments of wonder that create a sense of pride. 

  • Does the workplace appeal to all senses? This could be anything from textures and scents to visually-stimulating meeting spaces that inspire creativity. This leads us to our next question.
  • Does your use of lighting and colour create spectacular spaces? These can accentuate your brand personality, creating interest and something unique.  
  • Can you involve people in choosing or creating artwork? There's no better way to increase that sense of belonging than involving employees in the design process. 
  • Is your workplace Instagrammable? We know pride and engagement are closely related. This can be beneficial for talent attraction as well as retention.

 

#4 Put flexibility at the forefront

There’s no debating it anymore: people want flexibility in how and where they work. 

In fact, 63% of full-time employees are already working flexibly - and this figure is only set to grow. With that in mind, it’s time to design modular and versatile offices that support this philosophy. Think about creating spaces that can be easily deconstructed to evolve with occupant needs. The agile working environment isn’t the future of work - it has already been here for years. 

But flexible working isn’t just about agile environments; it comes down to your internal processes too. Essentially, flexible working means making the lives of your employees a little easier. 

  • Does your organisation provide concierge services? 
  • Can staff get their IT fixed at a genius bar? 
  • Do you provide flu jabs in winter? 
  • Can staff bring their dogs to work? 
  • Does the business provide flexible hours for parents? 

Ultimately, it’s about understanding how people can feel supported and putting a strategy in place to achieve this.

 

#5 Build a healthier habitat 

Staggeringly, people in the UK spend 90% of their time indoors.

With that in mind, it's important to create spaces that support health and promote well-being. This can be achieved by designing spaces that borrow from nature. For example, biophilic design features plants, natural elements and more organic shapes. This makes spaces more appealing visually and also provides vast well-being benefits. The Global Impact of Biophilic Design in the Workplace revealed that people in workplaces with natural elements, e.g. greenery and sunlight were 6% more productive and 15% more creative. Crucially, their levels of well-being were 15% higher.

Makes sense when hospital patients have been known to recover faster when they have a view of nature. At 360 Workplace, we’re seeing the introduction of circadian lighting that changes according to your biorhythm and innovative workplace technology that can measure key wellbeing impactors, e.g. light levels, humidity, temperature, noise and air quality. In short, we need to create spaces that allow people to leave the building healthier than when they arrived. 

Are you measuring your environmental performance? To improve your workplace experience and increase employee well-being, this crucial step just can’t be missed. 

 

#6 Consider community and comfort

One of the key drivers for people coming back to the office is a desire for shared experiences. But this doesn't just mean sharing work and collaborating - it’s about community and culture.

Today, there are so many ways of curating a great workplace experience - all based on what people enjoy in and outside of work. This could be fitness, gaming, book clubs, talks and food pop-ups - to name just a few. Are your people encouraged to have fun at work? Are they empowered to contribute to ideas to enhance their experience at work? These are all questions that are well worth considering. 

But what does this look like in terms of design?

We’re seeing a transition towards much less corporate environments that borrow aspects from our homes. For example, connecting with colleagues in different locations can be done in much more informal settings that provide a sense of comfort. 

Bringing people together is the key to creating a strong office culture and, crucially, a more successful business. Do it well and you’ll have much more engaged employees - and a thriving community. 

 

#7 Design for digital experiences 

A lot of organisations preach about digital experiences. But true innovation means embedding digital in every aspect of the user journey. In practice, this could include things like:

  • Workplace apps and room or desk booking
  • Facial recognition and sensors
  • Immersive collaboration tools and digital signage

Designing for innovation means creating spaces where people can get their teams together and have access to immersive collaboration tools - particularly important for disparate teams. Ensure spaces allow people to type, sketch and generally be creative in the ways they feel most natural to them. But this isn’t just about improving things in the office; digital experiences at home should feel just as positive, with hybrid meetings feeling both connected and inclusive. 

Virtual collaboration may look very different in the future; Teams is now second nature but still doesn’t provide an immersive experience as gaming platforms do. The Metaverse may open opportunities for a different type of interaction. It’s true that VR headsets and associated technologies will have to improve to provide a better experience. But at some point, the workplace will have to catch up with the gaming world.

 

#8 Monitor and measure as you go

Finally, data is key. Test, monitor, measure and iterate. Workplace optimisation is about continuous improvement. Creating pilots gives us an opportunity to generate data and make adjustments based on tangible evidence. To monitor and measure progress effectively, set the parameters of your workplace experience dashboard. Then, ensure you’ve got dedicated stakeholders that are responsible for ensuring your reach these KPIs. This is the key to optimising your workplace experience. 

If the workplace is a product then your employees are consumers. And much like today’s customers, employees need a solution that’s flexible enough to adapt to their needs. By creating the very best workplace in person and digital experience you won’t just attract the best talent today, you will create a community and culture that people will enjoy being part of.

Looking to optimise your workplace experience? Get in touch. 

White Paper

Technologies’ Crucial Role in Hybrid Working Environments

Podcast

Your Workplace or Mine? Podcast: Being a Part of the Solution with Fourfront Group

News

How 2023 shifted our focus on the future of work | Q4 Trend Report 2023

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