An office isn't the only place work gets done. Any space that produces value is effectively a workplace and the nature of that environment shapes the experiences of the people who use it. There are plenty of insights to be gained from examining trends and innovations in other industries, especially in light of the ongoing consumerization of the workplace. Let's see what we can glean from other industries!
The Hospitality Industry
The bread and butter of the hospitality industry – restaurants, hotels, etc. – is clearly the customer experience. If the workplace of the past largely ignored the preferences of its occupants, then one that follows in the footsteps of the hospitality industry would put them in the spotlight. This industry has a heightened awareness of the repercussions that failing to meet expectations will present; the loss of customers – or talent.
What can we Learn?
The hospitality industry has been hinting at a more global shift to "resimercial" designs across the board. For offices, this means no more cubicles! Guests at hotels and restaurants expect their spaces to be both functional and beautiful. Hotel spaces that incorporate or simulate parts of the natural environment are becoming ever more frequent. Workplace designers are taking notes. More plants, fish tanks, green roofs, and other elements are shown to reduce stress and increase performance. And natural lighting has a long list of benefits!
The hotel business has been transformed in recent years by changing customer preferences and competition from sharing services like Airbnb. People now expect a more customized, curated experience that reminds them of home. Successful workplace strategies can leverage this by drawing on the familiarity and utility of typical household features. Choosing to incorporate these elements can create a high-performance workplace that is also innately comforting. It's truly the best of both worlds!
Measuring Performance Correctly
Retail is unique in that it takes a measurement which is common to many industries and turns it upside down. Real estate is often regarded as a cost center in most businesses, with the usual metric being cost per square foot. While this is an easy measurement to calculate, it only tells half of the story: the downside. While retail business more frequently measures revenue per square foot. Every business could benefit by better understanding how effectively their space is contributing to their top line performance.
With that said, much retail space has been underperforming recently. While government shutdowns have pushed many retailers into the abyss, they were already dealing with moves to online shopping and an oversupply of space that had existed for years.
Modern building designs are becoming highly specialized. While that isn't a bad thing, it’s wise to take a gander over the wall of our own industries and see what successful organizations are doing in other parts of the economy. Providing superior service, encouraging lifelong learning, and facilitating unforgettable experiences are all worthy goals – regardless of the industry you're in.