Workplace Experience: the Secret Behind High Performing Teams | HqO

Workplace Experience: the Secret Behind High Performing Teams

It goes without saying that the workplaces we are experiencing today are very different from the workplaces of just a few years ago.

In a relatively short period of time, we’ve witnessed the unparalleled impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. First, there was a massive shift towards remote work for many companies who were positioned to do so. Then, this was followed by an explosion of new property and workplace technologies in the market. This leads us to where we are now, landing on a forever-changed workforce accustomed to hybrid working policies and a modern, tech-enabled toolset in every facet of their life.

As someone who used to work in Human Resources (HR) technology, I can admit that many of the trends we’re seeing today were well underway before the onset of the pandemic. At the time, however, these trends took a backseat to other budgetary priorities in the workplace. 

Now that we’ve collectively reached a point where these ‘niceties’ are actually requirements for today’s employers, it has opened up a pandora’s box of discussion on which tools to invest in, how much physical space employers need for their employees, and how to measure the success of these efforts.

So, where do employers begin? And how can they ensure that their money is being invested into strategies with the highest possible outputs?

Refocusing the Conversation

The first thing we need to do is to refocus the conversation.

Large companies like Google and Salesforce — who previously made stark statements about transitioning to fully remote work models during the early stages of the pandemic — are reversing their strategies, leasing out more office space, and encouraging their employees to come back to the physical workplace.

What’s important to note about these situations, however, is that these companies are not just doubling down on real estate simply because they should, or because the market is cheap. Instead, they’re putting more money than ever into their physical spaces as a strategic investment into their businesses and surrounding communities.

Why? Well, the proof is in the pudding.

Employees — whether they’re working from home or in the office — still need places to gather, socialize, and collaborate. In fact, about 75% of employees rate teamwork and collaboration as being very important to them, and companies that promote collaboration and communication at work have been linked to reducing employee turnover by 50%.

The office plays a critical role in these needs, but it’s not good enough to just provide a few desks and chairs for people to use on a daily basis. There’s a reason why Google and its colleagues are known for offering employees tech-enabled workplaces, engaging amenities and services, and are also considered leaders in innovation. They understand that it’s not just about having space to gather. It’s about having the right space to gather.

Simply put: happy and high performing teams require high performing workplaces.

Supporting High Performing Teams

There are a few distinctions we should make off the bat:

  1. A focus on employee engagement is usually only a short-term fix that is based solely on perks and benefits.
  2. A focus on the overall employee experience is a long-term solution that involves the redesign of an organization and continuously places people at the center of workplace strategies.
  3. To successfully promote productivity, employee satisfaction, and other business benefits in an ever-changing landscape, your company needs to support the latter.

This is further supported by Gartner, who defines a successful high performing workplace as “a physical or virtual environment designed to make workers as effective as possible in supporting business goals and providing value. A high-performance workplace results from continually balancing investment in people, process, physical environment and technology, to measurably enhance the ability of workers to learn, discover, innovate, team and lead, and to achieve efficiency and financial benefit.”

Thus, high performing workplaces not only have characteristics that support collaboration, but also ones that enable employees to set clear goals, maintain an open line of communication between all staff, and value diversity.

Additionally, your office is also your brand statement — you don’t want employees to feel like they’re stepping back in time whenever they visit the workplace. Not only should the office be in line with the purpose of your organization from a cultural standpoint, but it needs to cultivate a sense of belonging for employees. Thus, to keep employees coming back for more, you’ll want your workplace environment to serve as a high-end creativity center that is community-focused, seamless, efficient, and engaging. 

The Right Tools

Every company is going to have different capabilities and goals, but a holistic technology solution will allow you to start small and enhance your workplace experience step by step in a way that is scalable.

Furthermore, not only do you want to make sure you offer digital capabilities that boost efficiency and complement your space — such as resource booking, mobile access, and collaboration tools — but you’ll also want to receive important feedback and communications around these experiences. After all, the future of work is continuously maturing and iterating. Thus, the workplace should be flexible and adaptable enough to keep pace.

A few years ago, HR technology recognized the importance of accessing such data and insights — so much so that my job at the time was dedicated to supporting high performing teams through continuous feedback. Based on that experience, I learned that even the smallest details provide a lot of value, such as understanding who might be going into the office at a given time, or seeing how many people use a provided service or resource. These data points allow you to identify the adjustments you need to make to optimize the workplace experience, which in turn keeps employees happy, saves them time, and even increases their work-life balance.

At the end of the day, having a good team and culture are only a part of the equation. If your physical workplace isn’t held to the same standards, you’ll have a difficult time remaining competitive in the market. Think of it this way: we are currently serving four different generations in the workplace, all with varying needs. Younger generations may want to connect and network more, whereas older generations may be comfortable in their roles but still seek out ways to produce better results. They all need tools and resources personalized to their needs. The workplace experience can’t be viewed as a one-size-fits-all solution.

Thus, having a single, easy-to-use app — like the HqO Workplace Experience Platform — is the key behind a successful workplace experience. It will be able to offer a multitude of capabilities that empower your employees to do their best work, in the ways best suited for them. What better way is there to foster an ideal employee experience?

To learn more about our employer solutions, schedule a consultation today.