As workplace leaders navigate the changing world of work, many have tried to “future-proof” their businesses. But the future of work is impossible to predict.
The best path toward a sustainable, profitable future is to focus on employees. Employees are a company’s greatest asset, and their time, skills, and experience are the foundation of a business’s growth.
Workplace experience, sometimes called WX, is the modern strategy for improving employee performance and reducing expenses. It involves designing a work environment that fosters productivity, providing appropriate technology solutions, and creating a culture that prizes employee well-being as much as profits.
When those three areas are in balance, employee satisfaction improves significantly. Satisfied employees reduce turnover rates, increase productivity, improve the customer experience, and much more.
In this post, we’ll look at why workplace experience is so important now, and how you can use it to create a positive environment for employees.
What is workplace experience?
Workplace experience is a human-centered strategy for creating optimal work environments that support employees’ productivity, performance, and well-being. Several factors come together to create the workplace experience.
Company culture, technology solutions, and office design all play key roles in developing the overall experience your employees have in their work environments. The ultimate goal of workplace experience is to improve a range of business outcomes including increased revenue, better recruitment and retention, and lower real estate costs.
Why is workplace experience so important now?
The world of work has changed considerably since the pandemic. While workplace experience has always been important, it’s now essential to business success. The list below identifies key changes that make workplace experience more important now than ever before.
1. The definition of the workplace has changed
The workplace was once a set office where employees came in to work five days a week for eight hours a day. Now, for many companies, schedules are flexible and the workplace includes the traditional office as well as the places remote and hybrid employees choose to work. To maintain a cohesive company culture and an equitable work environment, workplace experience must be top of mind for business leaders.
The expanded work ecosystem presents many new opportunities for improving workplace experience. New technologies that can support virtual communications and collaborations can help employees feel connected and engaged no matter where they are.
Smartly designed office spaces and stipends for home offices can create work environments where employees feel comfortable and do their best work.
2. The workplace must now accommodate multiple ways of working
The traditional office, with its assigned seating and limited collaborative spaces, is a thing of the past. Today’s workplace must accommodate both collaborative and focused work to ensure all team members have access to a work environment that supports their productivity.
It’s easy for companies that have embraced hybrid work to assume that employees will use the office for collaboration and do focused work at home, but it’s not that simple. Not all employees have a suitable home environment for doing their best work. Whether it’s family distractions or a lack of space, these employees still need an in-office solution where they can complete heads-down work.
The modern office must balance the needs of these two types of work. For collaborative spaces, this may include features such as technology-enabled conference rooms, reconfigurable furniture and layouts, and comfortable spaces to accommodate both large and small groups. For focused work, employees need privacy, limited distractions, and a space that can be “theirs” for a few hours.
3. Recruitment is more difficult due to increased remote opportunities
Remote work has created global employment opportunities that didn’t exist before, and employees are spoiled for choice. To be competitive, companies have to find new ways to attract talent. Perfecting your workplace experience is one of the best ways to show employees that you understand their needs and will support their performance and wellbeing.
Features such as a hybrid work policy, a comfortable work environment that accommodates various work styles, and modern technology solutions make a big difference to employees. If an employee is considering a remote opportunity from halfway across the world and your company has a local office, an excellent workplace experience can tip the balance in your favor.
What are some benefits of having a good workplace experience?
Recruit the best talent
In the past, a worker’s job search was limited to their local area. This meant less competition to recruit the best talent, leading to less emphasis on an excellent workplace experience as a recruitment tool. Now that remote work is the norm, employees have seemingly limitless job opportunities. Companies must optimize every possible recruitment tool, and workplace experience is one of the best places to start.
Improve employee retention
Employee turnover is a significant expense for businesses. Gallop reports that “the cost of replacing an individual employee is one-half to two times the employee’s annual salary — and that’s a conservative estimate.”
Improving the workplace experience can eliminate this enormous and unnecessary expense by creating a positive environment that meets employee needs.
Increase employee engagement and productivity
Employee output has a direct impact on a company’s bottom line. The more engaged and productive employees are, the more accelerated business growth will be. A consciously designed workplace experience can foster this productivity, improving everything from the customer experience to the level of product innovation.
How can you create a great workplace experience?
Build a company culture that puts people first
Over 30% of workers say they’ve quit a job within 90 days because of bad work culture. A company culture that prioritizes transparency, equity, and a people-first attitude is the foundation of a great workplace experience and the key to improving retention.
A healthy culture is the first step toward a great workplace experience, and it helps employees feel engaged and invested in the company’s mission. Make sure workers feel empowered to ask questions and voice concerns to all levels of management. Cultivate an environment of gratitude for your employees’ contributions and empathy for their personal well-being results.
Design functional, comfortable workspaces
Office spaces must strike a balance between functional and comfortable. Understanding how employees use your workplace is key to pinpointing design decisions that will perform well.
Utilization data collected from technology solutions such as building sensors can provide the unbiased information you need to design the best possible office for your employees.
“When people do things like employee engagement surveys, they give us these really polite responses because they don’t want to offend anybody, but something changes when action speaks,” says Nathan Manuel of PagerDuty. “So when we have data, that’s based on what the actual behaviors of people are, not based on what they say. It really changes the game,”
Despite the politeness bias of employee utilization feedback, it is needed for creating effective workplaces for remote and hybrid employees. Let employees inform you of what they need to create an appropriate workspace for themselves, whether that’s an ergonomic desk chair for a home office or a pass to a coworking space. This ensures you maintain an equitable experience between in-office and remote employees, which is essential for a great workplace experience.
Provide modern workplace technology
Technology is an essential aspect of workplace experience, but some businesses have been slow to embrace new technologies. Today’s workforce is accustomed to the speed, convenience, and seamless experiences technology brings to their personal lives, and they expect this same level of technology in the workplace. Slow and outdated machines or software create unnecessary obstacles to employee productivity.
In a 2020 survey, Statista respondents indicated that these are some of the top technologies that allow employees to work more effectively:
- Collaboration devices that recognize the user by automatically pairing with personal devices
- Wireless screen sharing
- Digital signage that displays alerts about availability, company news, and technology capabilities
- Digital office navigation assistance (e.g., help finding meeting rooms)
- Voice-controlled meeting assistant for touchless controls
To create a positive employee experience, explore the new devices and software available that can help make work faster, easier, or more accurate. The right mix of technology can revolutionize your employees’ productivity as well as their workplace experiences.