As the world of work continues to shift and change, we need to design workplace experiences that reflect the new world order. With the Covid pandemic altering how, when, and where people now wish to work, companies who want to attract and retain the best talent must reassess their workplaces to create a people-centred experience.
The workforce and the workplace are changing
The rise of remote working has changed the workplace, literally and figuratively. These days workplaces must offer value to the people who either work in or visit them. In turn, these workplaces create value for the organisation itself. Workplaces are simultaneously value propositions that attract employees and customers and value-creating systems that add to the bottom line.
A workforce is not a fixed or static entity. It is a continually changing system of energies, talents, expectations, and life stories, and these all create value for an organisation. A workplace is not just a building and its facilities: it is more than the sum of its parts. A workplace is a system of cultural values, human interactions, and interdependent services loosely bound by physical premises.
The boundaries between the workforce and workplace and work and home are becoming increasingly porous as our daily experiences of work with everything else in our lives blend.
How does the workplace create value?
Value-creating propositions are made tangible not just through the physical architecture of a workplace and how it is laid out, but also through what happens in the building. A workplace is valuable for what it enables, the thinking it unlocks, the culture it inspires and supports: in other words, the experiences it creates.
How do you unlock value from your workplace with people-centred service design?
Firstly, you need to design your workplace value proposition. Once you have this, you can create a space that facilitates this proposition and the company culture, along with the services, personal development opportunities, and valuable experiences for the people within.
The 10 principles for designing people-centred workplace experiences
- Design a cultural destination for your company
A workplace can express an organisation’s culture and values, which has become even more relevant as teams work remotely, with many viewing the office as their least productive workplace.
- View employees as guests whose stays you wish to extend
Buildings are not just about the facilities available: it’s more about the experience. So, design a premium hospitality experience for your employees and visitors. Create a service culture for your frontline and back-office teams and set a clear vision for service, behaviours, employee services standards, and ‘signature’ service moments.
- Embody the positives in the lives and cultures of the people you employ
It is essential for the culture and values of a company to be reflected in day-to-day workplace practices. For the same reasons, creating opportunities and experiences that reflect the lives and cultures of the people you employ can be just as necessary.
- Design workspaces as mixed-use ‘playgrounds’
Less and less work happens at fixed workstations. Collaboration requires more than just meeting rooms with whiteboards. Home working has shown how small, ad-hoc conversations can be just as productive as large formal meetings and workshops, if not more so. People should be able to find a place to match their preferred modes of working.
- Provide social spaces and opportunities to connect, not just desks
Design for your hybrid working policy and recognise that, for some, the workplace is no longer the most productive place to work. The office is more relevant as a social space to make meaningful connections and maintain personal working relationships and friendships.
- Create an architecture the company and its people can experiment within
It may feel counter-intuitive, but ‘under designing’ a workplace will help ensure spaces are put together elegantly as new needs emerge. Focus on providing the people, skills, and a kit of parts (experimentation resources and support) that permit this.
- Design for the life stages of your workforce
People need and expect different things from a workplace as they progress through their working life. People socialise and prioritise their time differently, so ensure this is reflected in your workplace experience.
- Use technologies that offer seamless, invisible interactions with the building and its services
By focusing on software and services rather than tech hardware, tech-enabled services and experiences can be personalised and evolve. A workplace-services platform can be designed for resident and third-party services to operate within a premises.
- Design excellent eating and well-being services and experiences
People eat and manage their time and well-being in many ways. The design of eating and well-being services and experiences should respond to this diversity and reflect people’s lives outside work.
- Design aspirational spaces and experiences that people feel privileged to be a part of
Everyone sees work in their own individual way. While not everyone loves their job, we are all flattered and made to feel special when invited into high-quality, exciting, and exclusive settings. Such spaces encourage us to feel valued and supported, inspiring us to give more.
Here at Engine, we believe in the power of the service design process. Well-designed, people-centred workplace experiences are necessary for a positive employee experience and the future growth of forward-thinking companies. Designing around these 10 principles will help you get your workspaces right.
We would love to share our expertise with you, so why not get in touch? We can help you create a people-centred workplace experience that will make a difference.