Employee workplace experience is one of the hottest topics in the post-COVID world. Organizations, small and large, are hiring workplace experience managers to define and implement their workplace strategy in the post-pandemic world. It’s a difficult but exciting time. There are so many aspects that can affect the work experience of people. Technology, of course, cannot be the solution on its own, however, it should play a key role. Adopting a workplace experience app can help improve employees’ well-being and their overall work satisfaction.

In a nutshell, workplace experience apps (also, workplace experience platforms) help employees make the best use of their time and get work done — whether in the office or working remotely. Employees can plan their days ahead by taking advantage of who’s coming to the office, book desks, conference rooms, and parking spaces, or schedule their team visits together based on a number of factors. Oftentimes, they can order food or book on-site services. The workplace apps connect people with the workplace in a new and better way.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about workplace experience platforms, including:

Let’s get started.

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What is Workplace Experience?

Workplace experience is the sum of all touchpoints employees have with the workplace environment. This environment includes 3 components — the physical office, digital workplace, and the workforce — as well as the relationship between them.

Workplace Experience Elements Physical Digital Workforce

Some companies also use the term employee experience instead of workplace experience to describe the same thing. However, workplace experience puts more emphasis on the additional aspects of getting quality work done, like flexibility, physical spaces, and digital tooling.

To truly understand workplace experience, we need to take a holistic approach when looking at these 3 components and consider how they overlap. This is especially important in hybrid work environments, where people work partly in the office and partly remotely.

As Brent Hyder, President and Chief People Officer at Salesforce said:

An immersive workspace is no longer limited to a desk in our Towers; the 9-to-5 workday is dead; and the employee experience is about more than ping-pong tables and snacks.

As an example, let’s take one of the most important employee experience perks — flexibility. The pandemic resulted in flexibility becoming one of the most important perks for job candidates. However, offering options for flexible working (like fully remote or hybrid work) has implications for all three components:

  1. The physical workplace becomes more unpredictable, as not everyone works there 9 to 5, all week. As a result, the need to reserve a desk and see who else will be in the office arises naturally, especially with unassigned seating (i.e., hot desking or desk hoteling).
  2. The digital workplace becomes just as important as the physical office. Employees need to have easy access to all necessary tools to do their best work on any device, from any location.
  3. The workforce is also affected as teams become more dispersed. This means you’ll need a strong company culture and evaluation systems focused on results and performance, so employees are guaranteed equal opportunities, regardless of where they choose to work from.

As you can see, workplace experience can get quite complex in today’s environment. Read our guide on providing a great workplace experience here.

A brief history of the workplace experience apps

Workplace experience systems are a relatively new concept that is emerging in the post-pandemic world. They are a direct response to the need for more flexibility, better engagement, and improved collaboration between teams.

In short, we believe that the very first workplace experience apps were actually the so-called coworking apps. As some of you may know, coworking spaces are all about providing exceptionally good workspace services. They took the workplace experience to a whole new level by offering unmatched flexibility bundled with a lot of community and collaboration features. Most coworking spaces are thriving using workspace software solutions and a big part of this is the community app. The best workspace community apps offer booking features for all types of spaces, like desks, meeting rooms, parking, and classes, as well as a lot of collaboration features, F&B, services, workplace helpdesk, etc.

The modern workplace experience apps are an evolution of coworking and flexible workspace apps.

What is a workplace experience app?

The employee experience app helps employees plan their days ahead by taking advantage of who’s coming to the office, booking desks, conference rooms, and parking spaces, or scheduling their team visits together based on a number of factors. Oftentimes, they can order food or book on-site services. Some of the more important features of a proper experience apps include:

  • Intuitive desk booking system – whether you chose hot desking, hoteling, or permanent desks, employees should be able to easily pick their seats for a day, week, etc. You should also look for more advanced features like recurring desk bookings, delegated bookings, etc.
  • Easy-to-use conference room scheduling system – with the adoption of hybrid work, meeting rooms are in higher demand than ever before. So you really want to enable your employees to easily book rooms. Also, you should be looking for more advanced features like recurring bookings, private bookings, as well as automatic cancelations in order to improve utilization.
  • Collaboration and community features – have the ability to share important announcements (such as events, benefits, etc).
  • Integrated guests and delivery system – you can significantly improve the employee experience by simplifying the process of inviting visitors, as well as receiving packages in the office.
  • F&B and Services Marketplace – people can easily order food and book on-site services such as dry cleaning so they can spend less time running to outside appointments.
  • Integration with Active Directory (SSO) – to simplify the onboarding of employees and increase the security of the system.
  • Helpdesk, Feedback, and Surveys – arguably one of the most important modules is the ability to collect quality feedback, analyze it, and improve the workplace experience for all.

The benefits of workplace experience apps are pretty clear. The big question though is if people need another app on their phones.

What is workplace app-less experience?

Convincing employees to download and start using yet another app to interact with the office is no easy task. We already use a ton of apps and platforms to get work done. New software can get lost in the shuffle, and employee adoption can be difficult. This is especially true for office apps!

On the other hand, adopting a hybrid work policy in excel can be a nightmare for all parties involved – employees, managers, and office and HC professionals. The employee experience will be particularly bad, right?

Without further due, there’s another to improve the workplace experience without an app that your employees will love. The secret sauce is high-quality, deep integrations with the tools they already use!

One example is having a complete workplace experience within the Microsoft technology stack – Teams, Outlook, and Office 365!

Seeing is believing, so go ahead and click the play button below:

Of course, if you’re using Google, you can also significantly improve the experience for your teams. The workplace platform can be fully integrated with Google Chrome, Calendar, and Google Workspace.

What are the benefits of using a workplace experience platform?

The adoption of hybrid work dramatically increases the scheduling complexity thus making the life of employees a lot harder. Using a proper workplace platform will streamline internal operations, by bringing everything office-related into one solution. Furthermore, by using the workplace experience app, you can build and rely on data to optimize your workspace utilization, and get more out of your real estate. In a nutshell, the four most important benefits of using a complete workplace solution are:

  • Attract & Retain Talent – create a workplace community that employees want to be a part of. Provide a frictionless experience that mirrors the apps they use in their personal lives, with regular workplace communications, easy space reservations, visitor registration, and mobile access.
  • Increase Flexibility – offer employees a sense of freedom and flexibility. According to Forbes, 92 percent of millennials see flexibility as a top priority when looking for new job opportunities. In fact, some studies show that more than 50 percent of employees are considering leaving their jobs post-pandemic in favor of flexible workspaces.
  • Increase Collaboration – workplace experience apps give teams the flexibility to book desks together in clusters or just sit next to other teams. Having this flexibility can create interactions that can be key to speeding up projects and making sure teams are on the same page.
  • Optimize Space and Cut Costs – with flexible working on the rise, does it really make sense to designate a desk per employee if the employees won’t be in the office 40 hours per week? That’s a lot of poorly utilized real estate. Workplace apps can solve that!

As a result, by adopting a good workplace experience platform, you will save time, increase your employees’ engagement and reduce your real estate costs.

How to get started with workplace experience software?

As you can see, there is a lot to think about when it comes to workplace experience. And while there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, workplace technology should be at the core of creating and consistently delivering an exceptional experience.

On that note, if you’re looking for a workplace experience platform to help you bring people together in collaborative flexible spaces, check out OfficeRnD Hybrid.

You can try the platform for free with a 14-day trial (no credit card required) or book a demo with our team.

Miro Miroslavov
CEO and Co-founder of OfficeRnD
Miro Miroslavov is a software engineer turned into a tech entrepreneur. In 2015 he co-founded OfficeRnD - a leading flex space and hybrid work management platform. As a CEO at OfficeRnD, he grew the company from inception to a leading software vendor that serves thousands of customers worldwide. He is a big fan of flexible working and is on a mission to "Making Flexible Working the Way of Working".