Transforming the workplace experience using hospitality

Apr 2, 2024

"Hotelification" enhances the employee experience by incorporating amenities and services often associated with high-end hotels. See how design, aesthetic, comfort, and customer service can all improve the workplace experience.

We spend almost a third of our life at work, so why shouldn’t that time be a delightful experience? That’s a question that both employers and employees have been asking, especially since the massive disruption caused by the pandemic, a tight labor market (for a while), and the ongoing fear that the economy can shift at any moment changing the balance of power between employees and employers.

In any economy, of course, employers don’t want their top talent to be at risk of leaving for greener pastures. A new trend designed to make that probability less likely — “hotelification.”

Hotelification is a concept that refers to repositioning and restyling the workplace to enhance the employee experience by incorporating elements typically associated with high-end hotel experiences. The focus is on design, aesthetic, comfort, and customer service — all concepts drawn from the hospitality industry, then combined with the functionality of an office space. It’s a concept made popular by Tim Oldman, founder and CEO of Leesman, a company that measures and analyzes workplace experiences.

COVID, and the pandemic experience, drove interest in the idea after many employees experienced the freedom, flexibility, and comfort of working out of their homes. Now, being asked back into the office in many cases, they’re loathe to give up that comfort — and companies are clamoring to provide it to them.

Hospitality in the Workplace

With 80% of employees saying that remote and hybrid work is their permanent working arrangement, but 90% of companies saying they’ll mandate return to the office by the end of 2024, there’s obviously a disconnect. How can employers effectively entice employees back to the office? By focusing on hospitality!

But, while many assume that most employees would far prefer the remote work experience than time in the office, that’s not necessarily the case. In fact, a survey by Indeed indicates that 45% of employees say they miss in-person meetings and 73% say they miss socializing in-person with colleagues.

For both employees, and employers, there are clearly benefits to bringing employees back into physical work environments:

  • Better collaboration. Despite the widespread availability of technology and tools like Zoom to foster communication from a distance, many acknowledge that digital interactions just aren’t quite the same — especially when it comes to the kind of collaboration that fuels innovation.
  • Building community. Communities are built through people who live (and work) in close proximity to each other. Community drives and supports corporate culture, something all organizations are concerned about.
  • Teamwork improves innovation. Many studies have been done focusing on the power of teamwork to drive innovation, especially when teams are comprised of people from diverse backgrounds and mindsets. Bringing those teams together, physically, leads to bright ideas and better solutions.
  • Better connections. All employees — whether in the office or working remotely — need to feel connected to the organization, and to each other. Making those connections is more convenient when people work in close proximity and have the opportunity to bump into each other throughout the day in impromptu ways that can spur conversation and collegiality.
  • Tech support. Face it, unless you’re an IT specialist, there’s probably nothing about taking care of your own tech issues at home that is appealing — or productive.

So, what additional things can employers do to capitalize on the concept of hotelification and make the in-office experience so appealing that employees are enticed to come back to the workplace?

There are a number of possibilities.

Investing in Workplace Comfort

It pays to invest in the kind of workplace comfort that drives employees to value the workplace experience — even crave it! In fact, our 1Q 2024 Trends Report found that 28% of employees ranked having a comfortable workplace in their top three reasons for visiting their office. Chances are that number is on the rise as examples of hotelification are becoming more widespread.

  • Hotel-like amenities. Workplaces can be transformed with hotel-like amenities for enhanced employee experiences, including a hospitality manager and a team of ambassadors to take care of employee needs — like helping them with technology, finding and arranging meeting rooms, taking care of personal tasks, etc.
  • Enhanced guest and visitor experiences through elevated service and amenities like friendly lobbies, switchboard services, welcome hubs with manned lobby desks, wayfinding, accepting packages, and other concierge-like services.
  • On-site amenities ranging from sundries and personal items to dry cleaning services, auto detailing, personal care, physical fitness classes and gyms, and wellness programs.
  • Strategic event and meeting planning for seamless, successful, and memorable experiences including travel management and transfer, supplier management, conference room management guest wayfinding, luggage handling, and more.

Circles, of course, has been providing these kinds of services for years as part of our work-life balance solutions. The goal: to make coming to work better than it’s ever been — the kind of experience that attracts top talent and fosters a sense of loyalty and pride.

Here’s an example of a hospitality success story: we worked with a leading hospitality company to extend their world-class services to employees and visitors in addition to guests. With more than 7000 properties and more than one million rooms in 124 countries they wanted to extend the same experience to make employees feel welcomed, energized, and productive. Circles collaborated with them to design and implement a world-class employee and visitor experience by reviewing space designs, employee demographic information, visitor volume trends, and local community activity to create a central hub at the entrance of headquarters to serve employee needs in an impactful way.

The outcome was highly successful — employees confirmed 100% satisfaction with the hospitality team, indicating that the program effectively met its goals in servicing their needs and the needs of their guests.

Want to give your employees the kind of experience that will make them look forward to coming to work and, better yet, prompt them to tell their friends, relatives, and others about how special you make them feel? We can help.


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