Workplace Leaders Insights: Coty and Peloton - part 1

This article is the initial installment in Mapiq’s newest interview series to promote peer-to-peer experience sharing and help facilitate a network of workplace professionals.

It’s no secret: There has been a paradigm shift in the workplace.

In the wake of the pandemic, there are now new standards for the workplace and its purpose.

Like any market disruption, there have been a variety of reactions ranging from knee-jerk decisions to closing all office space and going fully remote to hybrid models to holding tight to in-office operations. There are also pioneers discovering a new equilibrium.

The workplace is being reimagined as a tool to cultivate culture and successfully facilitate collaborative moments, and that means traditional attendance data is no longer telling the whole story of operations.

Leaders like Coty’s Fatima Hakim and Peloton’s Daniel Santiago are grappling with the paradigm shift in the workplace and spearheading innovation, combining state-of-the-art analytic tools with outside-the-box creativity and finding ways to answer their unique challenges.

Meet Fatima and Daniel

Fatima Hakim has 20 years of experience in facility management and is currently a senior operation manager at beauty and fragrance giant Coty, which is based in New York City.

Coty has office locations throughout the U.S., including a lab environment in Morris Plains, New Jersey, and various plants and commercial spaces.

Daniel Santiago is the director of global workplace experience at Peloton Interactive, where he manages corporate and commercial real estate for the connected fitness and equipment company.

Peloton has an expanding real estate footprint, with five North American corporate locations and five international offices. Daniel says his department has also expanded to oversee warehouse and field operations.

The two professionals recently met for the first time. They joined Mapiq to share personal insights and “survival stories” about how Coty and Peloton have responded to new workplace expectations and how each is piloting new ways to improve the quality of their data to drive decision-making.

Understanding New Workplace Dynamics

Like so many others, the new expectations in the workplace following the pandemic have forced both Coty and Pelaton to reconsider their workplace experience strategies.

Since reintegrating employees in-office, Fatimia says occupancy in Coty’s headquarters is constantly in flux. Throughout the workweek, she says attendance will grow from 100 people on Mondays to more than 300 people by Wednesdays and Thursdays, creating challenges with predicting workplace accommodations and efficiently executing space allocation.

Peloton’s headquarters can accommodate 1,200 people, according to Daniel, who explained the eight-floor office can have 350-400 people in the office on Monday and rapidly scale to 1,000 people between Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“We currently work hybrid in most of our locations. Between Monday and Thursday, we’re pretty much packed in the office,” he says. “Friday has become the day where people say, ‘I’m working from home. I’m not coming to the office. That’s become the common stance for a lot of people in the industry.

Is the Corporate Office A Dying Reality?

Despite the pervasive shift to remote and hybrid work over the past four years, Fatima says Coty is learning how vital the physical office space is.

“We have a very young population. They need to be in the office to collaborate and learn intangible business skills that you can only do in person. We could never eliminate the workplace. It is more important than it was initially. I’ve learned how important it is for young, new hires to come in and learn and be near leaders.” she says.

Daniel says remote employees often feel out of touch with in-office employees because there is never that in-person element connecting them to relationships and workplace culture. There is a unique efficiency when people are physically together, arguing that people can get immediate feedback, help, and collaboration, which inherently improves workflow.

“Sometimes they don’t get the urgency for certain projects. If you’re in the office, you’re like, ‘Hey, we’ve got to get this done immediately.” he says.

Redefining the Workplace

As workplace dynamics have shifted in the last several years, Fatima and Daniel say the traditional definition of “workplace” is inadequate.

“Since COVID, we've redefined what the workplace really means,” Fatima says. “The story of company culture has a larger place and not a physical workplace. It's a collaborative environment where we enjoy collaboration in many ways.”

Daniel agrees. He says the new definition of “workplace” is more about culture building than it is about the spaces.

“Pre-pandemic workplaces always revolved around what your facilities had,” he says. “And that even went down to job descriptions — free coffee, a pantry. That’s drastically changed. For [Peloton], the workplace is really all about experience.”

Creating Collaborative Environments

The goal for leaders like Fatima and Daniel is no longer simply to manage office resources and logistics — it's to orchestrate and deliver collaborative environments to enhance employee morale and boost efficiency.

Fatima says Coty has primarily focused on inter-department collaboration through a number of new strategies aimed at encouraging interactions. For example, Coty has started centralizing corporate lunches around the office.

“We force this kind of collaboration in this huge office,” Fatima says. “We were giving out free lunch all over the office. Then we said, ‘You know what? No, let’s put it all in one spot and force everyone to see each other at some point every week.”

She says these encounters allow teams to brush shoulders with each other, who may never have otherwise, sparking conversations where idea sharing happens organically and creating synergy and a sense of togetherness.

“Even on a day where we maybe get 200 people plus, our office feels really full because we keep forcing all this collaboration. That’s what people get when they come into the office,” she says.

Improving Workplace Experience Holistically is Key

For Peloton, Daniel says collaborative environments are the new challenge.

He says Peloton is now looking at the workplace “holistically,” and they are harnessing workplace experience to capitalize on workplace synergy with lunches, team learning, fire-side chats, and giving space to commemorate cultural observations championed by diversity, equity and inclusion teams and employee resource groups.

As Peloton has promoted these types of in-office cultural elements, Daniel says occupancy rates have increased significantly, and Peloton’s employees have a healthy FOMO (fear of missing out).

“When you produce those tangible moments, what happens is you build that rapport, and it really grounds people into our culture,” Daniel says.

Conclusion: Cultivate your Culture and Look Beyond Attendance Data

The evolving dynamics of the workplace detailed by Fatima and Daniel exemplify the role workplace experience teams have on organizations' innovation and adaptability. Their insights reveal a profound shift towards creating environments that accommodate and promote collaboration and cultural engagement.

Insights like these are why Mapiq is aiming to connect, equip, and inspire workplace leaders through its Collaborative Workplace Leader Series. This initiative seeks to empower professionals with the knowledge and tools necessary to navigate the complexities of today's workplace landscape, fostering a community where innovation, culture, and collaboration drive success.

In part 2 of Mapiq’s discussion with Fatima and Daniel, we dive deeper into how they’re leveraging various metrics to tell the stories of the workplace and pinpoint success.

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