Airbnb’s chief HR officer has rebranded his role to ’Chief Employee Experience Officer’.  Not so surprising for a disruptive tech brand, but the long-established firm Forrester Research has also created a similar role

This illustrates how employee experience is being placed high on the HR agenda for many companies, regardless of industry, and is increasingly a priority when making corporate real estate decisions.

The idea of ‘user experience’ at work is interesting, because in some ways, it’s the furthest from real estate you can get. ’User experience’ feels intangible while real estate is by definition tangible or ‘real’.

Defining user experience in the workplace

So let’s first be clear what we mean by experience in the context of the workplace. We don’t just mean offices with cool interior design, or kitted out with the latest technology.  ‘Experience’ is the impression that an organisation leaves on its people – including, but not limited to, the physical environment.

It’s everything from the workspace itself, to the services and amenities provided, to the values and management styles of the organisation.  An element of thoughtfulness about all of these elements is also crucial.

We spend most of our waking hours at work, and employees are expecting more and more in terms of their workplace experience.

Employers, too, face the challenge of attracting and retaining sought-after talent, and keeping their staff productive and engaged. With this in mind, the user experience at work has become more important than ever.

The recent JLL research report ‘Workspace Reworked’ explores this key real estate trend, which we foresee as a long-term shift that will last until 2030. Look out for forthcoming JLL research on this as we explore the idea of what experience in the workplace means and the key drivers for a positive experience.

Why a positive user experience is important

The physical office, and the services and amenities provided, are indeed key to defining experience – and the physical office can take many forms.

As the competitive environment tightens in the face of technological change and innovation, and many jobs become automated, the war for the most talented employees who will comprise the core corporate workforce will intensify. User experience becomes an even more important differentiator.

In the age of remote and mobile work, a positive experience of the workplace will also become a draw for project teams and remote workers. In ‘Workspace Reworked’ we identify this fluid workforce as a feature of the future workforce, alongside core employees and automated roles.

What constitutes an optimal experience of work will be different for every office, geography, and will undoubtedly change over time.  This means that both occupiers and developers of space – whether it’s the head of employee experience, real estate, or HR – must be increasingly mindful of, and continually monitor, the evolving user experience at…

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