OpenSensors blog

Putting human experience at the centre of workplace change

Posted by Yulia Pak MRICS
Yulia Pak MRICS


Reading time: 4 minutes

Designing workspaces and workplace change processes around a human experience and a growing need for a meaningful connection helps organisations across all sectors grow, evolve and compete for top talent.

A large number of studies show that today’s multi-generational workforce, many of whom are millennials, needs to be connected with their organisations on a deeper and more personal level to be productive and motivated.

From employee experience to human experience

In their quest for attracting and retaining the best and brightest  talent, organisations have started to move beyond employee experience, largely formed by rewards, perks and professional development opportunities, to focusing on human experience.

Job satisfaction is being increasingly viewed in terms of company ethos, culture and opportunities for meaningful human connections. 84% percent of respondents of a recent 2019 Global Human Capital Trends survey by Deloitte rated their human experience at work important, and 28% named it one of the three most critical issues their organisation will have to deal with in 2019.  

The same report identifies the prevailing ”work from anywhere anytime” culture of a digitalised workplace as one of the major sources of growing employee dissatisfaction with their jobs design as well as with their organisations ability to create  meaningful work.

The good news is that  progressive workplace and occupancy planning make it possible to reconcile seemingly conflicting employee motivations of having a flexible and accessible digital workplace with their desire for meaning and human experience at work.

Happy workplaces: designing space around human experience

So how do organisations deal with the adverse impact of ever digitising workplace and increasingly dispersed workforce on actual human experience? Meaningful human connections spark vital collaborative innovations, and organisation stakeholders and workplace professionals alike are recognising the value of well-designed collaborative spaces as innovation catalysts.

A 2018 report by Ted Moudis Associates identifies  continuous rise in activity-based working adoption along with an increase in size and variety of alternative work spaces that now make up as much as 54% of total seats on average across all industries. The same survey suggests that key benefits of working in an unassigned workspace with multiple types of collaborative space are better opportunities for peer-to -peer knowledge sharing, access to leadership and information, and, importantly, improved wellbeing.

Another  potential enabler of wellbeing and positive experience from daily interactions with corporate workspace are spatial layout, zoning and density. Using tailored data based approach to occupancy planning, it is much easier to get just the right kind of working environment for different teams or communities.    

Indeed, people are happier and more productive when their office is designed around their specific needs, according to findings from a recent global survey by JLL Workplace—Powered by Human Experience.

Enhancing human experience through meaningful change management processes

But it’s not just the physical working environment that provides organisations with invaluable opportunities to engage with employees and enhance their experience. The processes such as organisational and workplace change management, including design and planning engagement, need to be designed around human experience too.

JLL’s report cites that for almost 70% of respondents a sense of happiness is essential ingredient in creating unique human experiences (such as change) within the organisation.

Involving employees as stakeholders in change management processes puts them in charge of shaping their own working environment, fostering a vital sense of ownership of the workplace change. Moreover, this both enhances their sense of belonging to the organisation and helps build and repair critical cross-functional connections in the workplace community. It also helps break down organisational silos while putting human experience back in to the workplace.

Key takeaways

  • Human experience at work is becoming increasingly important for attracting and retaining top talent and driving business growth, in particular in industries where talent is scarce.
  • There is a positive correlation between human experience, happiness and sense of meaning at work that goes far beyond employee functional responsibilities.
  • Providing variable alternative work settings, that would be supporting collaboration and be reflective of organisation culture and ethos, and customising density and design for different teams and work communities are  some of the ways to enhance human experience.
  • Impactful employee engagement throughout workplace change processes is a powerful tool to foster a sense of ownership and belonging and increase happiness, all positively contributing to human experience at work


Why cross collaboration is key to Activity Based Working

Learn more about how to harness cross-functional collaboration to make a change management journey a success.

Content topics: Facilities and Workplace trends, Measuring space occupancy

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