Mar 10, 2020 in Viewpoint

How to stay in touch with the needs of your employees

The mission of Leesman is to make workplaces better. With their standardized workplace experience survey and global benchmark database, they equip organizations with data and insights that help them create better workplace strategies. But how can you stay in touch with the needs of your employees after setting up the perfect workplace? We’ve had the pleasure to talk to Peggie Rothe, the Chief Insights & Research Officer from Leesman, and asked her all about the workplace.

Esmeé van Vliet
by Esmeé van Vliet
Peggie Rothe Leesman
We’ve had the pleasure to talk to Peggie Rothe, the Chief Insights & Research Officer from Leesman, and asked her all about the workplace

Keeping up with workplace trends

“The past ten years, work-life has changed enormously. The workplace is really enabled by technology, making it possible to work when and where employees like. But being ‘on’ all the time has already left its mark. Stress, exhaustion, and burnouts are becoming more common, increasing the need for workplace well-being. Luckily, more organizations are realizing the importance of well-being these days.

There are also some things that haven’t changed. The need for individual focused work, for example. The office has become a place to meet, collaborate and socialize. But employees still need to work individually. Otherwise, it’s just all talk and no action. Based on our database of more than 700,000 responses, 93% of employees find individual work important. The nature of work might change in the future, but the need for focused work won’t go away.”

Embracing new workplaces

Switching to a new way of working is a big deal for employees. It lies in our nature to be afraid of things we’re not familiar with. The same goes for new workplace concepts. People may then do a Google search, get activity-based working and hot-desking mixed up and read that the new way of working is ‘from hell’. What you can learn from this is that in every new work concept, you have to involve employees in on the transition. Engage them in the process and assess how they work and what they need. Explain why changes are made and how the new office and the changes are going to affect them. New types of spaces won’t automatically be used if the employees don’t understand what they are there for. Redesigning is one part of it, but communication and engaging the employees is also essential.”

Choosing a variety of workplaces

“In one of our studies, we compared the 10 best and 10 worst workplaces. What we found was interesting: the biggest gap in satisfaction was in variety. Only 6% of employees were happy with the variety in the worst workplaces, and 79% of employees were satisfied with the variety in the best workplaces. This shows the importance of having a diversity of work settings in the office.

Another example of an important activity that needs to be supported is phonecalls. If employees don’t have a proper place to make calls, the worst-case scenario is that the phone conversation experience is bad in both ends of the call, and the conversation also disturbs people around who are not even a part of the conversation. It’s a lose-lose situation.”

Staying in touch with employees needs

“Designing a brand-new office with a variety of workplaces, engaging and communicating clearly about it, isn’t enough. You also have to continue checking in with employees to make sure the office still matches their needs and expectations in the future. This can be done by combining different sources of data. You can, for example, do a survey to give all employees a voice, follow-up with in-depth interviews and continue with workshops. You can combine that data with occupancy data, about how the office is really being used to get clear insights. But don’t just do it one time, you have to do it every year, to really stay in touch with the changing needs of employees.”

The future of work

“I believe the importance of the workplace will keep on growing. Investing in a healthy and happy work environment will be a topic in almost every organization. The variety of workspaces will stay necessary. Work is collaboration, focus, and meetings. But it’s also relaxing and taking breaks. Supporting those activities as well will be something we will hopefully see increasing in the near future. And well, I personally also hope we can finally say goodbye to designated individual offices – very few people benefit from working alone all day, every day.”

Series of interviews

At Mapiq, we love to talk about the workplace. Together with René van der Vlugt from Microsoft, we discussed the importance of collaboration in the office and Stephanie Akkaoui Hughes from AKKA architects enlightened us with her view upon the workplace from an architectural perspective. Do you want to keep track of the smart office story? Sign up for our monthly newsletter below.

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