Webinar: Flexible Workspaces & Employee Engagement

Webinar: Flexible Workspaces & Employee Engagement

We are back with our Experts on Employee Experience Webinar Series. It is a monthly webinar series where Jade Choy, Epoch’s CEO, has conversations with leaders and innovators in the Employee Experience and engagement space. Today’s topic is Flexible Workspaces & Employee Engagement. 

In case you missed it, here are some key learnings and takeaways from our webinar featuring Michael Cockburn, Co-founder at Desana and Courtney O’Halloran, Workplace Experience Manager, at Elastic.

View the full recording here. Scroll on for notes!

Meet Courtney and Michael

Courtney, the Workplace Experience Manager at Elastic brings over five years of industry experience. She is dedicated to enhancing the workplace experience for her team, operating under the HR department. She oversees the North and South American regions for her company and has driven positive change at Elastic for over two years. 

Michael is the Co-founder of Desana. They work with companies such as Nike, GitHub, and Elastic to streamline their workplace processes and elevate their overall workplace experience. With over eight years in the industry, Michael is deeply passionate about Workplace Experience.

How do you utilize your workspaces?

Courtney transformed her offices into flexible workspaces for Elastic employees. Elastic office spaces are no longer just traditional work environments but can now be used as a conference center, group collaboration area, town hall setting, and event space.

How to address budget constraints

Addressing the budget can be challenging with no universal solution. However, by focusing on key factors such as real estate expenses, headcount, occupancy rates, and utilizing analytics to understand workplace locations will help you with budgeting. Additionally, presenting quantitative visuals and survey data to your CFO and executives will improve your ability to get the budget you need for your initiatives.

How to create an engaging culture in a hybrid setting

Courtney ensures that all Elastic employees, whether in the office or remote, have equal access to engagement opportunities. To create consistent experiences, she utilizes Epoch, for an all-in-one solution for RSVPs, feedback, and surveys. For those who prefer to work from home, alternative opportunities like gift boxes, candle-making kits, and company swag are provided. During holiday celebrations, Courtney organizes not only in-person events but also initiatives that can be enjoyed virtually, such as gift swapping with colleagues. 

Courtney creates an engaging culture in a hybrid workplace by grouping employees based on locations, initially introducing them to one another on a Slack channel. This approach breaks the ice and encourages them to socialize, strengthening work culture and relationships. She gives the power to emerging leaders within these groups to organize events, offering assistance and financial support when needed to support these initiatives. 

Michael notes that one of the most common misconceptions is teams gathering and feeling the need to book a conference room. For example,  teams of three will book a conference room for the day and break out into the desk area for most of the day. Conference rooms are not set up ergonomically for all-day work and are more expensive than desk areas. They are also less accessible for taking calls simultaneously. It is important to keep this in mind for booking workspaces and creating the best environment to work in for your employees.

How to get employees excited for events

While you can control your communication efforts to a certain extent, you can’t dictate how your message will be received. In today’s world, there’s a growing fear of missing out (FOMO), which Courtney takes advantage of to engage her employees. The goal is to make people think, “I can’t believe I missed that event”. One way to achieve this is by actively posting comments and pictures onlack, creating a sense of excitement and curiosity among team members. 

Courtney hosts exciting activities that keep her employees engaged, such as Elasticamp which occurs annually each summer. This event is open to all employees for global celebration and appreciation. In-person events range from dinners to boat trips, creating a sense of unity and belonging within the organization. Employees are celebrating the same purpose, globally - being part of Elastic. Elasticamp focuses on being globally consistent while remaining culturally relevant, ensuring that all employees feel included and valued no matter what their background is.

Getting leadership buy-in

To get leadership buy-in, your team’s efforts must be visible to the leaders. Leadership needs to see, discuss, attend, and hear about your initiatives. It’s also important to make these events available to leaders and consider their schedules so they have an opportunity to participate. When leaders attend, they can witness an authentic sense of happiness and satisfaction within the team. Gathering data from surveys and feedback is also beneficial to relay it back to your leaders. Courtney implemented a rating system to help identify room for improvement for the next event. For events that score 5/10 or lower, following up directly with attendees ensures their voices are heard and provides insights for improvement.

The significance of Employee Experience

Significant funding is given to employee experience, but the return on investment is worth it.  Michael and Courtney both find that potential candidates mention the high praise they hear about the employee experience at their respective companies, attracting top talent. They also observe that the more they prioritize employee experience, the higher their morale, culture, and talent retention becomes. 

OKRS and performance measurement

Courtney relies heavily on survey feedback and pulse checks not only event attendees but also her own team, to monitor what her team feels they are contributing to the workplace. She often analyzes this feedback to ensure her events align with Elastic’s cultural source code. Courtney also connects these efforts with the L&D team, aiming to align events with the company’s growth and development goals. It is also best practice to track the number of DEI partnerships, events held, time spent, attendees list, and ranking scales to ensure progress is being made.

Tips and Tricks

Michael emphasized that creating effective events and meeting atmospheres is a grey area, as there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. It’s crucial to engage directly with each group to find out their preferences and needs in a physical workplace. Keeping these preferences in mind while understanding that there are appropriate environments for meetings is crucial to creating the best working environment for your employees. 

Michael also shared a strategy he saw success in, which involves starting small when introducing a new program. For example, you can do this by implementing an event or vendor with your San Francisco team and, if successful, gradually scale it globally. 

Courtney shared that it is important to create flexible work environments and workspaces, advocating for an overall flexible approach to workplace experience. This approach aims to minimize friction so that everyone, regardless of their location, has access to the functions and experience they would like. Leaning into networks and vendors is also key when it comes to workplace experience, to gather new insights and streamline processes. Courtney concluded, that the ability to pivot when necessary and adapt to your employees’ preferences is crucial for success in workplace experience.

How Epoch can help

Use Epoch to plan your employee events and programs, then track analytics on how the events went! Epoch is an employee engagement platform used by people teams at Reddit, Asana, and more. Epoch supports any internal event that needs email, Slack announcements and reminders, calendaring, and reporting. On top of impactful engagement and feedback analytics, Epoch provides a simple way to communicate and promote events to your workforce, helping events reach employees where they prefer to receive messages.

Teams using Epoch have seen positive impacts in event engagement while reducing time spent managing and promoting events by over 70%. Udemy used Epoch to scale its inclusive culture, driving 89% participation, and Modus Create successfully scaled a global events program across 15 time zones.

Increase productivity and connection among employees through company culture with Epoch. Curious to learn more? Book a demo today!

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