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How to Center the Employee Experience with Modern Workplace Amenities

Posted By Bella Pace | Nov 14, 2021 9:00 AM
How to Center the Employee Experience with Modern Workplace Amenities

You may have heard about human-centered design, but do you know how it applies to the workplace? Today’s top companies are putting their customers first by using  modern workplace amenities to help their employees optimize creativity, collaboration, and focus. 

Design firm IDEO outlined the human-centered design process, which emphasizes “involving the people you are designing for throughout the process to ensure you’re developing solutions that are truly specific to their needs and goals.”

With the many changes to accommodate health, wellness, and hybrid employees in today’s work environments, now is the perfect time for commercial real estate (CRE) professionals to take this same approach and put the people working in their office spaces first. 

Dynamic Workplace Expectations 

The modern employee’s expectations for the workplace have changed, along with the ways property teams can optimize the workplace to meet their demands. However, this doesn’t mean that the physical workplace isn’t important anymore. In fact, it’s quite the opposite: recent data from Gensler shows that the majority of employees consider their company’s workplace to be the best place for a variety of work functions.

56% of employees at top-performing companies consider their office to be the best place for ideating with coworkers, and 53% prefer the office for ideating by themselves. At the same time, 45% of respondents think that the office is the best place to host a conference call or video meeting.

And, to ensure that every individual in the workplace is supported whether they work in the office or take advantage of remote work, landlords and property teams must create harmony between the physical and virtual office environments.

Modern Workplace Amenities: More Than Cafes and Fitness Centers

Already, office owners and operators are reimagining their physical office spaces to create environments that allow people to do their best work. While many are implementing new technologies to elevate their spaces and reach tenants no matter where they work, not all modern workplace amenities are technology-related.

In our recent industry guide, we sat down with Architecture + Information’s Studio Director and Project Lead Elaine Maillot to learn more about the Squarespace Headquarters. A 98,000 square foot property in New York City, New York, the space’s design translates the company’s brand values into a functional and elegant workplace representative of Squarespace’s product. 

Elaine shared some of the ways her team optimized the Squarespace office to reflect company values and accommodate a plethora of work modes, all while keeping the employee’s needs front and center. 

  • The space accommodates dualistic work models. The physical space is organized around central connecting areas off which social areas form the core of the office space. In these areas, creative brainstorming and workshopping are supported with large conference rooms, clubby furnishings, and a darker color scheme. Around the perimeter of each floor, the more individual, heads down work is able to flourish — helped in no small part by an abundance of natural light pouring in from the oversize windows that wrap the structure!
  • They understood that hospitality-first spaces sometimes include  “off-site” work. “In our strategic exploration of employee workflows,” Eileen explained, “we learned that some colleagues needed to leave the office to feel most productive — booking a hotel room or coworking space simply to be away from the old office space.” They designed for this need by creating an “off-site” in the ground floor entrance of the office. A hospitality-forward lounge space allows employees to work, take a meeting, or simply gaze at the streetlife of downtown Manhattan.
  • They created spaces to gather, day or night. The A + I team accommodated for one of the most important aspects of the office experience: collaboration and connections. The space boasts a cafe space with a bar that can host large groups, all-hands meetings, performances, and demonstrations, all of which can be broadcasted to Squarespace offices in Dublin and Portland, Oregon. 

This application of human-first design illuminates the importance of creating spaces centered around the people who actually use them. Squarespace employees can optimize their time in the office space, giving them the power to work however they want, where they want. 

In order to support top talent in the industry, landlords and property teams will have to follow suit. By optimizing the workplace and putting people first, property teams will be able to stay ahead of the competition, drive NOI for their property, and make more informed investments based on important feedback from tenants themselves.

To learn more about how the workplace is adapting to the social and technological needs of the workforce, get your free copy of Office Reconfigured today.

The State of Tenant Experience in 2021: Industry Outlook | HqO

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