To Create a Great Office Experience, Borrow from Coworking
Our expectations around work and office spaces have evolved as our work and personal lives become more closely entwined. Now we expect the comforts of home in our office, as well as fast wi-fi, video conferencing setups, and inspiring interior design. To accommodate this shift, commercial properties are taking cues from the hospitality industry. Hotels provide their guests with amenities including gyms, complimentary meals, wine tastings, and laundry services. As people spend more time at work and companies compete for top talent, why shouldn’t offices also provide similar?
“There’s a cycle that is now occurring, with residential design taking inspiration from hospitality, hospitality taking from residential, and now throwing offices into the mix,” said Lauren Rottet of Rottet Studios in a talk about bringing hospitality into the office. She added, “The office is becoming more casual and that is what people are looking for. (Team members) want a live-work-play environment feeling within their workspace.”
While they were few and far between just a few years ago, coworking spaces have stepped in to provide that live-work-play type of environment. With happy hours, catered lunches, and group activities, they take care of a full suite of services for their tenants. Their popularity seems unstoppable, from giants of the space like WeWork and Knotel, to niche spaces like the women’s-only coworking and social club The Wing. But what happens when a company “graduates” from a coworking space into their own office, or coworking was never an option to begin with? Employers still want to offer their teams a comfortable, appealing environment and unique workplace experience.
As employees expect more from their office the pressure is on office managers and operations teams to keep these complex spaces running smoothly. Without a plan to organize and manage your space and vendors, those amenities can become liabilities that threaten the productivity of your space. Trash from snacks and workplace happy hours will pile up, perishable food like yogurt risks going bad in the fridge if not checked regularly, the cream colored conference room rug that looked great in Architectural Digest will get stained from too many coffee spills, and, those coffee mugs will remain half-full, strewn throughout the office.
The hospitality expected in the modern office can be overwhelming, but luckily, there’s help available. Trusted, modern service providers can help office experience teams recreate the ease of a coworking space, whatever the size or complexity of your office. When deciding what services you need to create a culture that supports and efficient, welcoming place to work, here’s what you need to consider.
Understand how your team uses your space
Creating a seamless office experience is not a one-size fits all approach. Knowing how your team uses your workspace enables you to customize how to set up services in your office to best fit your team’s schedule and needs. For example, offices that are a homebase for employees who arrive early and stay late could take advantage of cleaning in the early morning or over the weekend. If the office is a hub for remote workers to come for team meetings, you may need daytime help to set up the conference rooms and keep the space tidy. Or if your company hosts frequent meetings with clients and prospects, you could schedule daytime help, weekend deep cleans, and frequent paint touch ups to ensure the office stays looking fresh and presentable at all times.
As you work out a plan to take care of your space remember that more disruptive services, such as cleaning and plumbing, are most effectively completed when the office is empty. To determine the type and frequency of services you need, consider the following about your space:
- What hours do employees work? Is your culture one of arriving early and staying late or do people generally work 9 to 5? Do people work on the weekends?
- Does your company host clients and prospects and need the office to be presentable at all times? - What is the desk to employee ratio? Does everyone have a dedicated desk or is your space a mixture of communal and floating workspaces?
- Do you have remote employees who come into the office and need space to work?
- What types of common areas and conference rooms to you have?
- What’s your decor like? Is it all cushy upholstery and carpet or metal chairs and hardwood floors?
- Do you frequently host internal or public events?
- Are four-legged friends welcome in your office?
Your space reinforces your culture, whether it’s full of glass and chrome or cozy nooks for quiet work. Understanding your space can help you set up the services you need so you and your team benefit from that “taken care of” feeling that tenants love about coworking spaces.
Consider your additional amenities
When thinking about how you keep your space running efficiently, it’s important to think about the cultural “perks” that your team enjoys. Office snacks and catered meals are one of the most common and popular perks, especially among younger employees. What kinds of food do your employees have access to at the office and what could make meal-time easier? For example, if your team looks forward to breakfast at the office, set the grocery order for milk, cereal, and orange juice to arrive the night before and schedule a day porter to stock it so everything is set up before the early risers start trickling in. If packaged snacks and fresh fruit are more to your employees’ liking, schedule them to be restocked before lunch to ensure no one starts hoarding pita chips in their desk drawer for fear of running out. If you offer catered meals, schedule regular daytime help to set up, clean up, and pack away the leftovers.
Beyond perks, coffee is considered an office “must have,” but office coffee (and employee expectations for it) have come a long way since Maxwell House. If you have the latest espresso machine or a complex coffee set up to cater to an office full of coffee connoisseurs, work with a coffee service to schedule regular restocking, cleaning, and maintenance to keep the coffee flowing.
While ensuring your team stays satiated and caffeinated is important, maintaining an office kitchen space can be an additional headache, especially after the morning coffee or afternoon lunch rush. Consider if you need extra help to refill the coffee, clean the sink, load the dishwasher, and restock snacks during the day, in addition to your regular night time cleaning.
While companies compete with each other to offer their employees cushier work environments and amenities are seen as a way to attract and retain talent, having a plan and a schedule to keep those amenities in great shape will ensure they serve their intended purpose.
Pay attention to details that make your workspace special
The office is your team’s home away from home and adopting a hospitality approach will help you create a space where they feel taken care of and can get their best work done. When you automate critical, recurring services like cleaning, supply delivery, and stocking, you free up your time to add special touches to your workspace that are customized for your team. For example, who else knows that your engineering team loves Jolly Ranchers or that the marketing team looks forward to Pita Chips in the snack bins? It’s the personal touch that creates a memorable workplace experience and can make your coworkers day.
Whether you are rolling out the luxury amenities or focusing on the basics, having a plan to take care of your space will ensure that your employees have a great experience at work.
If you need expert advice, suggested schedules, and checklists to help you set up regular cleaning for your office, download The Complete Guide to a Clean Office and see how a service like Managed by Q can keep your space looking and working at its best.