“Employees are happiest and most productive when they control their work areas”.
Professor Allen, MIT Sloan
Make the experience fit
A good workplace experience can involve many things, from enhanced amenities or wellbeing initiatives to improved social or leisure opportunities. Identifying what’s best for you depends on the type of organisation you are – what you do, where you do it, who your customers are. And most importantly, the environment you provide must be appropriate to your culture, and the needs and aspirations of your people.
All pretty obvious, you might think. But it’s easy to get carried away with ideas that might seem exciting, while forgetting the specific realities of a working day in your organisation. Before you invest in new or improved facilities for your employees, think about how they’ll work in practice. To reap the full benefits of your innovations, you’ll need to spend time and thought on them, as well as financial investment.
For example, simply installing a gym won’t improve the workplace experience if your teams feel they don’t have time to use it while at work. But if you arrange fitness sessions at set hours, employees will understand they have ‘permission’ to take time out from their day jobs. They’ll not only use and enjoy the new facilities, but also appreciate the difference they make to their working life.
Similarly, opening a new café offering tempting treats won’t be very successful if your workforce is mainly health conscious or discerning coffee aficionados. Before planning menus – and committing to the equipment needed to produce what’s on them – it’s wise to find out the likes, dislikes and dietary requirements you’re catering for. Again, sounds obvious, but many in-house catering facilities have low patronage simply because no one has researched what the customers want.
Ponder the possibilities
Another trap to avoid is throwing everything at the first idea that comes along, without considering the full range of elements that could – or maybe even must – go into developing the right workplace experience. Creating the conditions where employees can work happily, healthily and productively could mean providing anything from yoga classes to nutrition workshops. It could also mean rethinking how you use technology – for improving security or booking ‘hot desks’ to work with your closest colleagues, for example. Combining a careful selection of measures such as these is the basis for a successful workplace experience.
To help you think about all the factors that might go into developing your workplace experience, we’ve produced a handy guide, ‘Workplace experience: future possibilities’. Covering trends for tomorrow and the realities of today, it’s designed to provide inspiration while you’re planning how to make your workplace as attractive, supportive and welcoming as possible, now and in the future.
Download the guide Workplace Experience