‘Workplace experience’ is a term that’s risen to prominence in the last couple of years, and it’s not hard to see why. In a market now being reshaped by employees’ changing work-life expectations, it stands to reason that a greater focus on working environments has become necessary.
Indeed, the importance of workplace experience (WX) continues to grow, with the number of roles in this area soaring. This offers a clear indication that businesses are designing around the needs and desires of their workforce, and understand that their workspaces and processes need to adapt. Recognising this motivation will be important for brokers if they are to continue to provide clients with the kinds of workplaces they now require.
What is workplace experience?
Office RnD defines workplace experience (WX) as “the sum of all touchpoints employees have with the workplace environment.” Three elements, and the relationship between them, make up this environment: physical office space, the digital working environment (technology, in other words) and the workforce themselves.
It’s a discipline property brokers are becoming increasingly familiar with, as WX professionals have more sway on company decisions regarding office space. And there are a greater number of them. iOFFICE reports, "Demand for WX positions has grown more than 300% in just the past three years, from 4,500 open positions listed worldwide in 2019 to more than 19,000 listings in August of 2022.”
So what does the WX manager do? “By nature, the workplace experience manager’s work is cross-functional,” says Tiffany Fowell of workplace solutions firm Envoy. “They [consider] the three core components of the workplace experience: space, technology, and people. They bring employee challenges to the attention of their organisation and lead the effort to solve them. This means their success depends on their ability to work with HR, IT, and facilities on implementing creative workplace solutions.”
In other words, how and where your clients’ employees work is no longer just a matter for property managers and HR directors. Workplace and employee experience professionals now have a stake, and have an increasingly flexible vision for their companies and colleagues.
Workers’ expectations affect client expectations
The rise of the WX professional reflects the changing wishes of the workforce, backed up by statistics gleaned from numerous studies. Research from Benefex shows that 77% of workers “expect more from employers than before the pandemic”, with 80% saying employee experience has grown in importance for them in the last year. Meanwhile, 47% of workers told a McKinsey survey that they’re keen for employee wellbeing to become a greater focus.
So why is this important for brokers? Changes in employees’ expectations mean a shift in what clients are looking for from their workspaces. And Giles Bateman, IWG’s Regional Development Director for Continental Europe, believes it's essential for brokers to provide them "with the right working conditions in the right location."
"If you’re having to commute up to two hours a day to your central office when it’s possible to work closer to home, then the net result is productivity loss and stress – which affects wellbeing," he says. "Location is part of wellbeing, it has to be.”
But getting location right isn't a one-size-fits-all fix; brokers need to provide custom solutions for each client — right down to a team level.
“It’s going to mean thinking about what makes the most sense for individual teams," says Bateman. "For some, working in a serviced office near home will be more advantageous and will help the company retain those individuals. Other teams will need to based be closer to clients to help build crucial relationships and save on cost."
Of course, that means your clients may need access to workspaces in different towns, cities and countries. And whether they're looking for flexible office space, meeting rooms or coworking space, IWG has over 3,500 locations around the world, as well as business support services, such as virtual offices and workplace recovery programmes. As a result, brokers can carefully tailor their offering to the client – a win at a time when WX is centre stage.
Discover how partnering with IWG can make it easier for you to find the perfect solution for your clients and increase your chance of making a sale.