Measuring what matters most about your workplace: Rob Blair, TravelPerk
TravelPerk’s mission is to make business travel simple. But Rob Blair, Global Workplace Manager at TravelPerk, has a different objective — design inclusive offices that employees want to be in.
He uses data and employee input to build workspaces with people rather than for them. This subtle distinction ensures that he never designs an office based on preconceived ideas about how people use a space.
Rob talked with us about including employees in the design process, how culture fits into office design, and ways to measure workplace success.
Watch the video below for the full conversation, or read on for key takeaways and quotes.
Employee personas guide office design
TravelPerk’s employee personas identify the different ways people work and use the office. “We invested in [personas] from the top down. Everyone’s been involved in this process, and I think that’s the only way you get a true reflection of what your business really is about and what your business needs in order to produce its best,” says Rob.
After reviewing employee input, they created seven main personas. “We broke [each persona] down into the types of spaces and environments they need to produce their work and to collaborate, or not, with their team members,” he says.
The next step in Rob’s workplace design process is to concentrate that information into a floor plan blueprint and hand it over to TravelPerk’s construction team. The end result is a functional, diverse office space that employees helped create. It’s workplace design for the people, by the people, and it leads to increased productivity and better employee experiences.
Diversity and inclusion
There has been a much-needed push for companies to be conscious of diversity and inclusion in the hiring process. Traditionally, office design has favored the able-bodied and neurotypical. As the workforce becomes more diverse, the workplace has to adapt to support it.
“I don’t think there’s any silver bullet to driving inclusivity in the workplace,” Rob says. “I think everyone can be doing better, let’s put it that way. I think we can all do our best to drive equal representation…and we do that by listening to our people, giving everyone a seat at the table, and giving [everyone] a chance to express their views with an open mindset.”
Inclusive office design requires questioning the status quo. Do your meeting rooms provide an equitable experience for employees who can’t be in the office? Are there quiet areas where employees with ADHD or difficulty concentrating can do their work?
“It’s fundamental to be able to deliver a workplace experience for everyone,” Rob says. Let employee feedback and utilization data provide the answers to these questions.
Rob BlairGlobal Workplace Manager
Rob heads up the global workplace strategy and operations at TravelPerk, the recently crowned tech unicorn simplifying business travel. He spent the best part of a decade in luxury hospitality before moving into the flexspace industry, then Workplace; initially with SaaS giant Sprinklr, and now TravelPerk.
Rob considers himself a builder — of teams, cultures…
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