More than a dozen workplace leaders, from companies including Twitter, Uber, and Zendesk, came together in late May at Okta’s San Francisco offices for Density’s VIP event, Beyond Work Experiences: San Francisco.
Beyond Work Experiences is our ongoing events series where workplace and real estate leaders come together for dinner, drinks, and a lively discussion about the future of work.
Guests to our San Francisco event also got a guided tour of Okta’s San Francisco offices.
Key themes from our discussion
Listen to employees
Meet employees where they are. That was one of the biggest themes of our event. If you don’t know the pain points and challenges of the people who use your spaces, you can’t create a better workplace experience for them.
One example: The shift to unassigned seating may leave employees anxious about where they can sit when they come to the office. They have no place to put their coffee cup.
Having open conversations with employees can help you understand how they’re feeling, so you can create solutions (like team-based neighborhoods).
Surveys are, of course, one way to gather employee feedback. So too are roundtable discussions and employee portals.
Developing a workplace strategy today should be viewed as a program, not a project. There is no set end date when your work is done. Experiment quickly and often. Some tips from industry leaders:
- Work with an MVP mindset. You don’t have to build the final version right now.
- Set experiments with specific timelines and project leaders (think DRI, or directly responsible individual).
- Make sure stakeholders know, from the start, that your experiments will take time to measure and assess.
- Communicate often. If end-users don’t know a design is a prototype or experiment, they’ll likely reject what you’re testing. Let them be a part of the journey.
- Make feedback easy. Your end-users are busy, so simplify the feedback loop.
Get data that matters
Everyone wants data. But not all data is useful or ideal.
It’s hard to get employees to adopt to reservation systems, for example. If employees don’t use the system, you can’t leverage its data.
Privacy-focused data was a big topic during our roundtable discussion as well. Employees have demonstrated a distaste for systems that capture any personally identifiable information, including badge data.
The takeaway from workplace leaders at our event is it’s nearly impossible to rebuild trust. If you don’t need to capture PII — don’t.
Lastly, a key milestone for the next six months is figuring out how to combine qualitative and quantitative data to unearth the story of the workplace. Companies that achieve that will create better employee experiences and more efficient spaces.