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Leveraging interactive design to maximize employee engagement

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Static workplaces are a thing of the past. Today’s workforce trends prioritize employee satisfaction and well-being — creating enjoyable, interactive work environments is at the forefront.

With more than 102 million Americans working in an office on a daily or part-time basis, the elements of the physical workspace cannot be ignored, as employee engagement and positive culture hang in the balance. With the right interactive design, organizations can better focus on their people and how they interact within the workspace for maximum collaboration and productivity.  

While there are many considerations to a physical workspace, technology-driven design that sparks engagement promotes success and impacts every industry at every level. Employers who want meaningful collaboration at work need meaningful office elements to inspire and empower this mission. From tangible to intangible components, here are a few essential interactive design strategies to meet today’s workforce needs while pushing full speed into the future of work.

According to a recent survey, 43% of workers are bored. Creating an activity-based workspace to cultivate engagement and innovation is an effective method to combat boredom and allow employees to have more flexibility and autonomy. Essentially, activity-based working allows employees to choose their setting based on the particular task at hand.

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For instance, an office with a designated “calm zone” offers a place for employees to recharge or quietly brainstorm. Shared office spaces have also been reimagined through the use of technology, such as with interactive digital jukeboxes that bring employees together through song. Ultimately, activity-based workplaces offer a variety of environmental elements, all within one office.

Interactive screens

In today’s digital landscape, most workers are surrounded by screens, from smartphones to conference room projectors, and this spans across all industries.

For instance, a restaurant worker uses point-of-sale screens to place orders; a banker relies on computers for customer transactions; and a warehouse manager may use an iPad to record and track inventory. Screens are now the norm, but what if employers leveraged them to enhance productivity and boost workplace culture?

For a collaborative workspace, smart rooms with interactive screens are essential. With dispersed teams and corporations that span the globe, conference rooms designed with interaction in mind are crucial.

Modern technology makes it possible to control screens from a simple mobile device, and the options to engage a team are endless. From real-time polls, attention-grabbing graphics, HD videos and virtual speakers who feel like they’re actually in the room, interactive screens are changing the way technology boosts engagement.

Additionally, screens as an employee perk have the power to unite, encourage and promote individual choice and diversity, which can improve workplace culture. Consider an interactive tool that plays shared music all from one in-office screen. The opportunities to dance, laugh and have conversations are endless.

Employee well-being and engagement have a clear link. According to Gallup, a high level of well-being enhances the benefits of an engaged employee, meaning that the two factors work in tandem, producing results that drive workplace success. In fact, employees with high engagement and low well-being are 61% more likely to feel burnout “often” or “always.” When employers focus on both engagement and well-being, they can better retain happy employees. Research shows that engaged employees with high well-being are 59% less likely to seek a new job in the next 12 months.

So, to obtain this desirable blend, workspaces must be designed with both outcomes in mind — engagement and well-being. An interactive design can promote well-being through calm zones where workers can refresh. Simply having the choice to select the best space to complete a certain task or recharge brings satisfaction and instills a sense of true value. Sitting at the same desk next to the same people every day will wear down even the most motivated employee. Options and variety are ideal to maximize employee engagement.

Technology to enhance connections

Human connection in the workplace is more important now than ever. In fact, 72% of workers said they experience loneliness on a monthly basis, and 55% report feeling loneliness weekly. The question is, has technology made the workforce a lonelier place?

While tech tools support collaboration and dispersed teams, it’s time to ensure that the digital age is not driving workers into isolation. With the right strategy, technology should enhance human connections rather than diminish them. Individuals are seeking greater meaning at work, and 70% of employees say that their sense of purpose is heavily dependent on their work, according to McKinsey’s analysis. To reach this level of purpose in the workplace, human bonds must be formed, and technology is the perfect tool to leverage.

To truly thrive in the digital landscape, whether in a hybrid or in-office setting, requires finding a perfect blend of technology and human touch. For instance, instead of supporting the use of isolating earbuds, encourage shared music and collaborative playlists at work, and rather than hosting a brainstorming session over Slack or email, gather in the conference room or at a local park. Technology must complement human interaction, and it takes intentionality to strike the right balance. 

When driving engagement in the workplace, it’s important to consider how to best leverage interactive design. With activity-based workspaces, interactive screens, well-being at the forefront and employee-driven devices, employee engagement will have a healthy environment to grow. It’s up to businesses to invest in these workplace elements to boost culture, productivity and engagement.

Ross Honey is president and CEO of TouchTunes.

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