What is employee workspace?

An employee workspace is a central physical and digital hub where employees access the tools and services they need, regardless of where they work. While some employees report to their cubicles every day in their company’s workplace, others work from home, coffee shops, or even RVs while traveling and exploring the world. Organizations must ensure that their workforce can seamlessly collaborate and communicate from anywhere, especially since widely dispersed teams are the new normal.

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Why is an employee workspace important?

There’s a reason why people tend to decorate their physical workspaces with photos, trinkets, and plants—employees want to feel like they belong. Furthermore, having access to the tools they need to do their jobs well makes workers feel valued and appreciated. When their workspaces meet their needs, employees are happier, more productive, and more likely to be satisfied. Since requirements to be effective and efficient on the job vary from person to person, organizations need to think about how to accommodate all different types of workers and preferences so that employees can do their best work every day.

For example, an office environment has several potential stressors that could inhibit some workers. Open design plans may help in collaborative work scenarios for teams, but individuals may struggle to focus given loud chatter, music, and other office noises. Creating a quiet zone or providing noise-canceling headphones helps these workers focus on the job at hand, as does encouraging teams to use conference rooms when having lengthy discussions about projects. Organizations could also relocate employees who are frequently on the phone to specific areas, give them an office with a door, or urge them to use empty conference rooms when possible.

Technology is another vital part of the employee workspace for every worker, regardless of location and job type. Having access to the right tools and services results in tasks being thoughtfully completed and on time. Workers with the right tools are more engaged and better able to support your product and your customers. As an organization, if you lag the competition in embracing technology to help employees work smarter and more effectively, your bottom line suffers.

Chatbots assist employees in finding relevant information quickly 24-7, which means they spend less time searching for answers and more time making progress. In the same way, interactive guided learning paths can accelerate and streamline the onboarding process and compliance programs by offering employees step-by-step guidance to ensure they complete every phase correctly. Both chatbots and guided learning reduce support calls and allow the people who would be answering those questions to focus on more crucial HR initiatives.

Other more complex AI-based solutions can help the organization predict an increase in workloads by analyzing data and trends, so your organization can plan ahead and provide support right when it’s needed the most. This lets you be proactive instead of reactive and prevent issues, such as bottlenecks caused by staffing shortages or employee burnout. When HR analytics is combined with data from other departments, deeper organizational insights are revealed that will allow stakeholders in your company to strategize and innovate. This positions your organization favorably in the market and makes it possible to outperform the competition. These tools and any other tools and services employees need to perform in their role make up the digital piece of an employee workspace.

Foster workplace connection and collaboration

With remote work growing in popularity and the frequency with which employees regularly collaborate with team members across town and the world, the digital aspect of the employee workspace is critical to foster connection and make it easy for colleagues to partner on projects. Tools that allow teams to manage assignments, work in the same digital spaces, and communicate using video and messaging apps are imperative to success, even for teams in the same office. A robust digital employee workspace boosts team and employee engagement, which in turn can positively affect the greater company culture and morale.

Each person in your organization creates a community known as your workforce. Communities are stronger when people can rely on each other, and they’ve built solid relationships over time. Organizations and leaders need to encourage their people to embrace the social part of being in a community and create important connections by leveraging tools in the employee workspace, especially when some or all members are remote. Team celebrations, and other events can all happen virtually or can accommodate mixed teams with in-person and remote workers. Events like these are vital to relationship building, and no one should ever be left out. They could also lead to new, exciting ideas.

Short, informal meetings can also spark innovation. Leaders from different teams, for instance, can meet monthly over video chat for coffee and share feedback on what the other is doing. This may inspire fresh perspectives that take projects to a new level or reveal opportunities for cross-departmental collaboration. Employees from all levels can recreate water cooler discussions in the digital space.

Even though not every interaction will lead to a miraculous insight, these discussions perpetuate the flow of information, which is essential to a vibrant and productive workplace. For this reason, organizations should host quarterly, company-wide meetings and share communications from senior leaders to impart indispensable information—with the ability for employees to provide feedback. Doing so fosters this sense of community by making sure everyone understands high-priority company goals and has an opportunity to ask questions and voice their opinions.

With adequately equipped workspaces, employees feel more connected to colleagues and their employers. They’re more confident, more likely to be successful in their role, and have an enhanced employee experience.

How employee workspace affects well-being

Not having access to the tools and services you need to do your job is frustrating. It leads to stress, anxiety, and makes employees question how much their organization cares about them and their job. If prolonged and untreated, that stress and anxiety could be enough to make a person quit. Ensuring your workforce has the appropriate physical and digital workspace is key to employee experience. So is a workplace culture that recognizes and combats potential hazards in the employee workspace.

We see evidence of this regularly, from plexiglass protecting cashiers and customer service representatives from viruses to ergonomically designed office equipment to hardhat-only areas in manufacturing facilities. Different employee groups have unique needs, and everyone deserves an employee workspace that is meant to keep them safe and help them work efficiently. With the rise of the remote and hybrid work culture, these employees face hazards other groups may not.

For all its positives, working virtually has drawbacks for some people. Feelings of loneliness are more common with remote workers. Companies must support their workforce by setting the tone and proactively creating a culture where collaboration is encouraged, teams celebrate together, everyone has a voice, and managers check in with their employees during weekly meetings—not just ask for project updates.

Establishing boundaries should also be an organizational imperative. Overwork increases burnout, resulting in depression, stress, anxiety, and other harmful effects on employees, whether they’re remote or in the office. Encourage your workforce to unplug and step away from their workspaces by snoozing notifications after hours, taking vacation days, and using downtime to focus on their personal lives. These are hallmarks of healthy work cultures where employees are valued. People who work for these types of organizations are more resilient and better able to adapt to the unexpected, which can happen often both at work and in life.

Employee workspaces support the total well-being of the workforce and include tools, such as messaging apps, services, and the physical locations where employees work—whether their desk is at headquarters, their home, or mobile. The savviest, most competitive organizations realize that employee experience is impacted tremendously by employee workspaces. People want the apps, devices, and information they need to be successful in their roles at their fingertips. They want their employer to care about them, their time, and their performance. Having a workspace that meets their needs makes all the difference.

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