After the COVID-19 pandemic sparked rethinks of office designs across the globe, the main questions being asked revolved around how to make workplaces safer – yet still able to respond to specific working styles of employees. One of the best ways to understand how best an employee works in any office design is through the mapping of their work experience.

'Journey mapping' is often associated with customer experience programs in which retailers monitor the activities of their shoppers while in their stores. However, the process has been growing in usage within office buildings, as employee journeys are mapped to give their employers an understanding of the moments that matter most to them as part of an employee experience program.

Here, we're going to look at how a user journey map is built, as well as how it can be implemented within the workplace design.

Building an office design with user journey mapping

Like how customer experience professionals map out a visitor's journey by identifying problematic areas ('pain points'), HR teams can plot the end-to-end journey an employee has to understand how each stage impacts them.

From the moment they step through the front doors, through the working day, everything and everyone they interact with, right down to their exit – every single instance is looked at, understood and mapped in order to identify which areas can be improved to make for a better working day.

Here's how to start building an office design with the user journey in mind:

Segment employees

If the organisation has many different types of roles, the interactions for each set of employees will be different. Identifying these different 'segments' should be the starting point – ideally, it should be based on their interactions. Someone whose work is primarily in sales will have a very experience than someone whose job it is to maintain the company website, for example.

Establish each person's journey

Now the segments have been identified, each person's interactions can be mapped out – what are their responsibilities? How best can they achieve them? Who do they interact with during the day? How do they do it? Do any issues arise in any of these areas? If so, what can be done to remedy them?

Map employee feedback ('engagement survey')

To truly understand the impact of each employee's experience, it's vital to map their feedback. Instead of having to 'guess' how each person interacts with different environments, their feedback can contribute to a more realistic picture of how the office design works – meaning that the likelihood of producing better working environments is higher.

There should be a feedback mechanism for everyone in place at every stage of their journey – not only will it act as a constant reminder for people to record their interactions, having a way to record feedback in all areas of the office will ensure the interaction is fresh in their minds.

Combine each person's journey with the engagement survey

With employee journeys and engagements mapped, they can now be combined with the feedback to create a strategy that will suit their working styles. This will allow the business to develop unique environments, even in some of the more 'generic' of rooms – a simple break room, for example, can be turned into a facility that has been specifically designed for certain individuals in mind. Fundamentally, the data will provide a route towards making your ideal workplace.

What would a post-COVID workplace look like after mapping?

While the workplace will look and feel different, it should still support the company culture, creativity, and productivity – the mapping simply acts as a tool to heighten those aspects, while still catering for the new safety aspects.

While the types of facilities and workspaces will vary business-to-business, here are some areas of an office that will become typical in a post-COVID world:

  • Open meeting spaces. Meeting areas that aren't contained in a confined space will allow people to collaborate from a distance. Adjustable furniture and IT/AV equipment will mean that spaces can be changed to suit each meeting without surfaces being touched.
  • Sit/stand furniture. Furniture that caters to standing has been shown to lead to increased engaged participation, making collaborative work and meetings far more productive. Using screens or whiteboards at a standing height will allow employees to work together, while still maintaining any social distancing measures that are in place.
  • Screens and partitions. Having screens and partitioning have already become common in the wake of COVID as they work to safely distance employees. A great way to boost the health aspect will be to include plants within them – walls of plants, planted shelving, or large free-standing plants. Each of them will provide separation while potentially boosting productivity, providing cleaner air, and lowering dust levels.
  • Occupancy/environmental sensors. Using sensors will collect non-sensitive data on space use and environmental quality. Monitoring space use will keep occupancy levels down, providing people with peace of mind. Environmental sensors will also give them the control of light levels and room temperature – enabling them to set their ideal conditions.
  • IT & AV. Digital solutions are an absolute must in today's world – they give any office design an added dimension with easily customisable display and accessible connectivity. Having wireless connections is especially important in the post-COVID age, as offices become more agile, containing a multitude of environments, and/or if people choose to work from home; everyone can be connected no matter where they're located.

Regardless of the types of facilities a business wants to include, they must be able to understand how these environments will work before they build them. The best way to do that is undoubtedly through journey mapping. And this is where we can help.

Grow a strong future for your workplace, with OaktreeInteriors

Here Oaktree Interiors, we are a vastly experienced workplace design and build company, having carried out hundreds of fit-out, refurbishment, and relocation projects across the UK. Having responded quickly to the need for COVID-safe work environments, we are in a great position to offer you advice and assistance in regard to journey mapping your workspaces.

On our website, you'll be able to find additional information on our services; our case studies page contains many examples of the bespoke work we have carried out for our myriad of clients (presented in high-definition imagery and in-depth text).

To learn more about our office design service, give us a call on 034521 86955. Alternatively, you can send any e-mail enquiries to hello@oaktreeoffice.com and we'll get in touch as soon as possible.

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