Startling Brands Insights
Our relationship with the office has changed and it won’t be the same again
What can save the post-pandemic workplace?
With the current 50% workplace occupancy rate, what can workplace managers do to return people to offices without losing engagement?
Text by Mario Dzurila
Illustration by Daniil Petunov
Anticipate a low engagement return to the “old” office.
The Covid 19 pandemic has accelerated people’s changing relationship with the workplace. For many, a hardly gained pre-pandemic privilege of a home office has become a benefit now widely accessible to everyone. A reward that’s hard to return.
With the current workplace occupancy rate of 50% and with more than three-thirds of employees wishing to stick to at least a hybrid model for the foreseeable future, workplace managers face the dilemma of how to get the workforce back to offices without losing their engagement.
Accept that the workplace has changed for good.
Asking employees to come back and endure all the hurdles of the pre-pandemic office that would never meet the comfort of working from home often encounters significant disappointment.
“People do not wish to return to the pre-pandemics office, and forcing them to do so creates a risk of losing their engagement forever.”
Workplace managers must have come to terms with the fact that people wish to avoid a return, and forcing them to do so generates a risk of losing them for good to competitors who remain to allow hybrid work models.
Lead the transformation to the future, hospitality-driven workplace.
Understanding and accepting that it is the workplace, not the people, who must change, is how workplace managers can ensure employees’ (partial) return. To get people back, you need to compensate them for the lost comfort of their home office. Hence, the future workplace must transform into a hospitality and brand experience-driven workplace to become a social hub for collaboration, interaction, and relaxation—an environment with employee experience at the core, where people enjoy spending their time.
“It is the workplace, not the people, what must change.”
What is the brand-experience driven workplace?
The brand experience-driven workplace translates an organization’s value and culture into a physical environment. It uses interior design, workplace design, environmental graphics, and spatial design to connect the brand with employees and customers and to reinforce employer branding.
A feel-good workplace is a workplace where people like to return. (Contentful, Berlin)
Photography by Koy+Winkel
Why brand experience plays a crucial role in bringing people back?
In a workplace where people no longer get to meet for five days a week, the brand experience plays a crucial role in employer branding and building brand equity. It connects people with the brand and company culture, and it becomes an irreplaceable force not only in large organizations or companies enduring fast growth that need to bring diverse groups of people together but also in small companies that use their workplaces as social hubs. The brand experience applied through spatial branding and design can
- Change the employee perception by creating a sense of pride and loyalty among employees and can foster a more positive perception of the workplace, making employees more likely to want to return.
- Enhance the workplace culture, which significantly impacts employee satisfaction and retention.
- Improve customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, and customer experiences.
- Attract new talent to the company. When potential employees have a positive impression of the company’s brand and culture, they are more likely to want to work there.
- Contribute to overall business success. When employees, customers, and potential employees have a positive impression of the brand, the business will thrive and succeed.
“In a workplace where people no longer get to meet for five days a week, the brand experience plays a crucial role”
By prioritizing the brand experience, companies can create a more positive, engaging, and fulfilling workplace environment that attracts and retains top talent and drives business success.
Reinterpreting Contenful’s logo into a vintage 8-bit graphics poster style elevated Contentful’s game lounge through a custom-made, fun and environment-suiting branding application.
Photo by Startling Brands
A software company remembers those who paved the long way to software development nowadays. With this 12 meters wide mural, Contentful paid tribute to the mathematics trailblazer and the inventor of the first algorithm, Ada Lovelace.
Photo by Koy+Winkel
How to build a brand experience-driven workplace?
The transformation to a brand experience-driven workplace is a process that involves many aligned forces together. A brand experience-driven workplace is a feel-good workplace where a well-thought interior design is essential. It helps build brand consistency through colors, materials, or textures. It can drive employee and customer engagement by creating a place where people feel nice. Most importantly, it fosters innovation and creativity by including features like collaborative workspaces, interactive displays, and unique design elements that inspire creativity and collaboration.
The most important part is, however, the brand experience strategy development. A brand experience strategy identifies the company’s core values, mission, and vision. Understanding the brand makes creating a workplace environment that reflects and reinforces these values easier.
Based on this strategy, environmental graphic designers build creative branding and design applications connecting people with the brand, creating a place where people enjoy spending their time.