Adam Day, VP of Enterprise Experience at WeWork, started the day off leading the conference through a design exercise to save a struggling dive bar a la reality TV shows like “Restaurant: Impossible” on Food Network. By presenting human experience in a framework most people are familiar with (can you feel the soles of your shoes sticking to the floor of your favorite dive bar?), we were able to understand the key components that go into experiencing a space. Adam focused on messaging, service, space, programming, and technology. These five pillars are some of the key components to creating a human experience in any space, and can be applied to an office just as easily as a dive bar.
Sam Fisher from Citadel comes from a retail background. With this in mind, she encouraged the audience to look at how we can bring a retail-like customer experience strategy to the workplace. By merging the best in technology to make spaces as comfortable and user-friendly as possible, we can create places our employees WANT to come to every day because it best supports their work. The WX conversation is being driven by talent acquisition, but it’s just as important for companies to enable happy & productive employees to ultimately achieve their company goals.
IDEO is one of the global leaders in creating meaningful experiences for their employees, visitors, and clients. Kim Powers, Experience Director at IDEO San Francisco, let us peek behind the curtain and see how they create magic at IDEO. At its core, experience at IDEO centers around people. From strategically placing break areas to create opportunities for meaningful interactions among employees across the organization to providing unconventional refreshments for visiting clients to get them out of their comfort zones (probiotic gut shots definitely get people talking more than a handful of trail mix), Kim helped us see that creating impactful WX fosters strong culture. Strong culture, in turn, becomes a business advantage by creating a space for employees, clients, and visitors to fully connect with IDEO’s mission to make meaningful change in the world.
It’s no secret WeWork has taken the world by storm. Freelancers, small businesses, and enterprise clients everywhere have flocked to WeWork locations to find a sense of community they can’t get working from home. In addition to finding community, workers are drawn to business amenities and tech-enabled spaces that make doing business easier, more efficient, and more effective. By designing a space that focuses on meeting the needs of the people that occupy it, offering the right tech to make work easier, and providing amenities and services that surprise and delight people, WeWork has helped bring in the next generation of Workplace Experience.
Put simply, WX is a way of understanding how people, technology and spaces interact to impact the the lives of an organization’s employees. By better understanding WX, we can design, prototype, and scale new workplace experiences to help people be efficient, effective and happy in their work. It’s at this intersection of interpersonal, technological and spatial design that organizations can help their employees make a life, not just a living.