What is an Experiential Workspace?
In recent years, the office has transitioned from a cubicle-based desk farm to an open plan, collaborative workspace. Over the last decade, some of the world’s largest companies, such as Facebook and Apple have designed and built huge workspaces with one thing in mind: employee experience.
Now, as leaders consider the future of their workspace and how they work in a post-pandemic world, the experiential workplace has become even more important. Countless surveys have revealed a conundrum: the number one thing people miss about the workplace is face-to-face time with colleagues, and yet they also appreciate the benefits of working remotely- no commute, better work-life balance… the list goes on.
The solution is to make the workplace a destination, an experiential place, that your people will remember for how they felt while in that space – the togetherness that comes from working as a team, the empowerment felt as they choose how and where they work.
The experiential workplace prioritises one thing: people. Both how it makes them feel, and how much they enjoy their time there. In the words of Richard Branson “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”
Why Experiential Workspaces Matter
In the 1950s, people equated economic prosperity with ownership. Flagship purchases, such as buying a car, or a first home were major life milestones. Younger employees now feel real value and a sense of identity is derived from experiences as opposed to possessions. For a generation brought up on streaming and subscriptions, this is not surprising.
Driven by the same factors of reduced costs, customisability, experience over ownership, and personal interaction, this shift is reflected in the workplace with the move from fixed desks and personal space to flexible, unassigned spaces.
Experience is assuming an ever more important role in workspace design and with the needs of your people and business evolving as we emerge from the pandemic, adaptability will be key to keeping your office relevant. Through flexible furniture, your space can be changed on a regular basis. This will help to reflect the needs of your teams and create premium experiences for your people.
To avoid becoming redundant, the role of the office has to transition to its new purpose as an experiential “destination” that prioritises connection and collaboration – a destination that your people want to spend time in. Through focusing on employee experience within your space, you can boost productivity, creativity, and engagement – all of which will be reflected in results.
However, you don’t have to break the bank to create an experiential workspace. Through utilising and adapting what you already have, along with a few carefully selected design elements, you can create radical change in your office for a relatively modest investment.
How to Make Your Workspace Experiential
Understand Your Needs
It goes without saying that the first step in creating your own experiential workspaces is to develop a comprehensive understanding of the needs of your people and business. Different job roles and personalities require different things of the workspace. Introverted parents may need quiet spaces to focus, while socially starved younger employees will look for more collaborative spaces.
The needs of your employees also need to be considered in conjunction with those of the whole business. With the rise of hybrid working, the traditional office role has been challenged like never before. If and how you implement remote and hybrid working will have a major impact on the role your office needs to perform for your business and making sure it is designed with that in mind is essential for its success.
Creating an experience is all about forming a feeling or memory that is tied to a space or environment. In the workspace, that means providing a wide variety of spaces that closely match employees’ requirements for all different tasks, so that they are in a space that meets their exact needs at that moment.
Staff are at their happiest (and most effective) when given a variety of spaces choose from in which to do their work. Whether that’s café-style spaces for informal meetings, pods for focussing (alone or in small teams), or academy facilities for people to communicate & learn a space that properly facilitates the work they are doing will have a huge positive impact on their effectiveness.
Modular and adaptable furniture allows one space to facilitate a wide variety of different working styles and experiences. We have developed FluidSpace™ as a means of ensuring that you have the flexibility and confidence to create exceptional workspaces for your people. It does exactly what it says – it creates agile, flexible workspaces that can be quickly and cost-effectively reconfigured to meet the changing demands of organisations.
By utilising furniture to create rooms and zones rather than traditional methods of fit-out such as partitions, it allows for maximum flexibility – new zones and rooms can be established without the need for disruptive and expensive construction works. As the lines blur between work and relaxation, individuals and teams, agile spaces are required to meet the evolving needs of your people and businesses.
By thinking about your workspace not in terms of features but in terms of holistic user experiences will make your office far more user-orientated. This will have huge benefits for your people and your business. These spaces can play a key role in the attraction and retention of top talent, as well as facilitating collaborative and fulfilling experiences that just aren’t possible when working remotely, alone.
The experiential office is about more than just the physical work environment – it involves every part of what an employee in the space will experience throughout the day, right down to the tea and coffee. Every touchpoint is an opportunity to reinforce who you are as a company and align your people with that throughout the day.
Experiential office design gives us an insight into what the office of the future will be: a destination in and of itself that your people will want to come and work in, because of the experiences they can be part of when at work.