So Young Hyun, the new Workplace Lead at Sodexo-owned workplace design consultancy Wx, explains how data-driven workplace design solutions can support people, organisations and the environment.

“By pairing human perception with new sensor-based data inputs, and machine learning algorithms, organisations can reach new levels of building design and operational performance”. This is what So Young Hyun sees as the future for workplace experience, and it is an area in which she will support Sodexo’s clients in her new role as Workplace Experience Leader at Wx design studio, its first hire in the UK and Ireland. 

So Young joins the team at Wx, a fully owned subsidiary of Sodexo that improves its clients’ workplace experience through ethnography, IoT and data science. 

She is passionate about helping leaders to deliver workplace design solutions that support people, organisations and the environment. 

“Workplace design unlocks new possibilities. Companies can complement sustainable building practices with science-based insights, and leverage emerging technologies to enhance human experience and business performance.”

So Young will be working closely with Wx Co-Founder, Yannick Villar, who explains the value of this shift towards a human-focused workplace, powered by technology

“The features of a specific workspace have to meet the behavioral demands of the people using it or it loses purpose,” he says. “We have to look at things differently in order to put employees at the heart of our solutions and create positive change.” 

The workplace isn’t one-dimensional

Where the traditional workplace focused on assets and relied on top-down assumptions, today’s exceptional experiences start with people. Intelligent workplace design is fundamental to this transformation, and business growth, for that matter. Environments attuned to employee perceptions, that meet their needs and adapt to different tasks and working styles, can drive productivity, employee retention and a sense of belonging throughout an organisation.

This modern view of the workplace isn’t one-dimensional, it’s firmly rooted in practices and strategies that bring together both logical and emotional drivers. Data collection, through Internet of Things technologies such as Infrared and AI-powered optical sensors, fuels objective decisions, based on employees’ interactions with their environment. 

“Data gives us insight into the existing employee experience, and the knowledge needed to select and design solutions that help create the best workplace experience possible,” says Yannick. Behavioural observation, or ethnography, supplements this empirical approach, considering every aspect of individual experiences to extract human points and satisfaction points that may not be immediately obvious in the data.

This exacting combination of measurement and real-world observation provides designers with the deep insight necessary to not only focus the workplace around its people, but to adapt and evolve it based on behavioural trends and changing employee demands.

“If your organisation has created an innovation space to spark agile working—you must continuously assess whether it’s being used, for what, and by whom,” Yannick continues. “And if it’s not being used, why is that? These are the typical questions data can help you answer. With these insights, you'll be better equipped to make the right decisions, anticipate or address mistakes, and adapt your workplace accordingly over the long-term.”   

The re-designed experience 

For So Young Hyun, the power and potential for modern workplace design lies in its ability to map employee journeys and contribute to the human stories that drive the working day. 

 “Emerging technologies are providing us with access to a completely new realm of information about how the workplace is being used,” she explains. “When we interpret that information, we learn how environments can be optimised to support the people that use them. This is where we can make a real difference, this is where organisational excellence stems from.”

The re-designed employee experience is built from the ground up. 

Companies ready to lead this pragmatic step change, can combine insight with individual sentiment to remove the guesswork, provide answers to experimental working methods such as activity based working, and deliver value where it’s needed most. 

To find out more about how Sodexo can improve work and transform workplace experience for your business, click here to contact us.

September 17, 2019

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