Great Expectations: How to Create a Workspace That’s Worth the Drive
I recently participated in a RealComm webinar about what workplace experiences make the office “worth it.” As a panel, we discussed how buildings and enterprises are making big investments to deliver more thoughtful and inspiring spaces. Here are some of my thoughts on how to create spaces that excite employees and create community.
How the Idea of the Office Has Changed
Today, the office has a new purpose. Before the pandemic, the reason for coming to work was to do just that. But when remote working proved successful, there came an undeniable shift in how people think about their time in the office. More than ever, employees care about their time and that it is well spent. We’re hearing the message become clearer: Employees will come into the office – but the experience had better be a great one.
So what are buildings and enterprises to do?
In a recent analysis by WFH Research, data shows employers and workers have nearly the same ideas about time spent working remotely versus in the office. In mid-2020, employers had low expectations about how much time employees should spend in the office – on average 1.5 hours per week. After health measures, vaccination rounds, and policies put in place, those expectations have risen. The difference in expectations for time spent being in the office today? About 4 hours.
Closing the Expectations Gap
So how can we bridge this expectations gap? First, by making sure the office is designed with employees in mind. During the webinar, Sarah Brengarth from Gensler pointed out that the modern workspace must be intuitively inclusive – designed for everyone, how and when they want to work. In the past, the office was typically a one-size-fits-all proposition. Creating an environment where all employees can be the most productive is essential to success.
Second, deliver an experience you can’t get at home. Get employees excited about it. Give opportunities to collaborate and make the entire office experience seamless. Buildings and offices that use IoT-Connected signage can deliver this kind of experience.
How Digital Signage Elevates Workplace Experiences
1. Encourage Engagement and Break Through the Noise. Recent research from Duke University has shown that people are receiving between 65-80 notifications per day on their smart phones and the noise is deafening. As a result, people have become used to being heads-down, frequently notified, and not engaged in their surroundings. Adding more content to email, apps, or phones won’t help that. However, delivering useful, vibrant, and engaging content on a digital wall display can change that paradigm and cut through the clutter. Team members can share information, learn about events, or catch up on the latest in a phone-free, visually appealing way.
2. Break the Ice and Build Community. Community is something that’s hard to replicate at home. Offices can foster community and a sense of belonging using digital content. Sharing photos of employees on-screen can help raise awareness of certain departments or teams. Similarly, spotlighting colleagues, new hires or interns can help introduce and orient outside of company events. One TouchSource customer deployed a “Search By Picture” capability on their directory to help remove that anxiety in not being able to put a face to a name.
3. Remove Disorientation. With over 47 million resignations in the US in 2021, the turnover in corporations has been enormous. For many companies, nearly 50% of their employees have never been to their local office. Employers and employees are excited about a return to the office, but it is intimidating if you can’t find your desk, the coffee machine, or the bathroom. New space sharing environments are exciting but not intuitive and increase the hesitation in return. By pausing and thinking about the way employees enter a space how they utilize the amenities, there is an opportunity for clear signage, instructions, contextual help and clear mapping. Digital solutions go a long way to help people orient within the workspace with mobile wayfinding, auxiliary messaging and conference room signage.
4. Celebrate Success. Did Akhil win a big deal? Did Joan celebrate an anniversary? Did Miguel get a new pet? Did Roger bring in some new coffee flavors in the break room? Whatever you are celebrating, use the walls around you to celebrate that success. People want to feel like the office is a living, breathing space that represents them and their success. Show them why the workplace deserves their attention with on-screen content sharing tips, amenities, events, and more highlights of being at work.
Workspaces continue to change. They’re moving away from delivering amenities targeting the individual and moving towards purpose-built environments for gathering and socializing. IoT connected signage plays a big role in keeping people informed and removing barriers to create successful in-office work experiences. Give us a call today to find out how digital signage solutions can deliver a compelling, memorable office environment.