As you step into the workplace to start your work day, take a moment to stop—look around. What are people doing? Working? Socializing? Knowledge sharing?
Chances are, it’s all of the above. And chances are, that’s why you’re there. Connecting with fellow employees, learning what cool things they did over the weekend, and chatting about the upcoming deliverable on that big project. All of these activities help employees develop a community at work and foster the culture that reflects an organization’s brand. And it’s all part of the new approach to hospitality where we work.
Hospitality in the workplace is changing. It’s evolving from a nice coffee pot in the reception area to a broad, purposeful approach to creating experiences for employees, suppliers, customers and any guest that interfaces with an organization. Hospitality is how your brand and culture manifest in your workplace.
The most progressive companies are finding inspiration from outside traditional work environments to examine workplace design solutions and amenities that suit their culture and brand. Coffee shops, luxury hotel-style workout facilities, modern coworking-style spaces, yoga centers, and more are evaluated. At the same time, optimizing space utilization is a must to ensure efficiency of real estate expenditures.
So how does a company achieve the desired hospitality experience and still maintain a happy Chief Financial Officer and Real Estate Leader? This is the question the Haworth facilities team posed as they kicked off discussions on the renovation of our Toronto showroom.
Consider these four opportunities to craft desired hospitality experiences when embarking on your next workplace project:
1. The First Impression
Arriving at a workplace is one of the most impactful ways to exemplify an organization’s desired hospitality experience. As the adage goes, “You never have a second chance to make a first impression.”
We recently unveiled a newly designed Toronto showroom. As the Haworth team embarked on the design of the space, key brand elements came to life throughout the space—perhaps none more important than the Welcome Centre. The space reflects our desire to work alongside our customers, learning their workplace challenges and, in turn, leveraging our research and expertise to support the development of a new work environment.
The entrance evokes a feeling, a vibe that delivers the first impression. Materials, finishes, furniture placement, sound, smell, and many other factors play a part. In Toronto, we purposefully placed the reception desk further away from the entrance as a key part of our desired hospitality.
2. Social Spaces
The desire for space optimization has led to reduced workstation sizes, channeling employees to social spaces and collaborative work areas. Fueling hospitality in the workplace involves a thorough approach to active spaces that enable connection. Social spaces are often centrally located, utilize a variety of footprints, and may or may not involve technology tools.
Social spaces can serve many purposes—functional work areas, employee food storage and eating space, event space, guest reception, and meeting space. Just as coffee shops serve as social gatherings in quaint downtown districts, workplace social spaces provide key destinations where communities are nurtured.
Our guests are inspired by the Haworth Collection™ lounge in our Toronto showroom. Whether a team member wants to enjoy a quiet cup of coffee with a great view, or is looking for a spot to plan evening events with a coworker, this social space provides a comfortable respite from the frenetic activity elsewhere.
3. Personal Space
Oftentimes, employees look to open-plan workspaces with beautifully designed social spaces and wonder, “How am I ever going to focus?” Hospitality considerations need to consider spaces that enable people to accomplish their work, both in groups and alone.
The nature of today’s work requires employees to complete a variety of tasks within a workday. And individual workstations do not offer the complete functionality for all tasks. Providing employees choice to select the workspace that suits their work needs creates a hospitable experience. An employer’s culture influences the extent and design of this approach.
4. Spaces that Work Harder
Once you’ve considered your first impression and spaces for groups and individuals, the fourth consideration involves revisiting your brand and values.
What matters to your organization and how is that reflected in your hospitality experience? Haworth, for example, chooses to embody our sustainable values in our spaces. Our members proudly speak about the feature wall in our three-story world headquarters made of wood harvested from the bottom of the Great Lakes. We also speak to the quality of Haworth craftsmanship.
Your spaces should work hard to enable employees to tell the stories of your organization, its brand, culture, and values.
Hospitality is many things. As you enter your workplace tomorrow, think about how its hospitality is working for the experiences you desire.