Six Secrets to Groundbreaking Workspace Experience: Lessons from UnWork’s Workshop 
Author Alex Burdett  | 

In the Summer of 2023, UnWork launched a new approach to designing a new Workspace Experience with a client— a three-day collaborative workshop to transform their future workspace.  

When designing a truly exceptional innovative workspace, we recognized the importance of understanding the users to elevate their overall experience. Our vision was to blend a sense of familiarity coupled with newness to the iconic New York City skyline.  

Traditional offices have lost their appeal in cities worldwide, and are struggling to attract talent back to urban centres1. The transition to busy, sustainable, and, healthy workspaces requires a human-centred approach.  

Over three days, UnWork brought together 30 key organizational stakeholders – senior operations managers across different teams – to define a vision for a next-generation, world-leading workplace.  

The workshop set out to establish a unified vision and strategy for clear and practical solutions. This involved defining constraints in three crucial areas for the new workspace: desirability (meeting or exceeding user expectations and addressing fundamental human needs), viability (establishing a functional business model and value proposition), and feasibility (assessing the technology’s capability and determining the best ways to delivery it). 

As senior managers delved into the facts and data, the focus extended to visualizing current user experiences in the office with Journey Maps, enabling teams to understand what is actually going on in terms of workspace users’ behaviours and needs.  

Working together, we broke these down into journeys across Arrival, Conferencing, Working At a? Desk, Untethered Working, and Wayfinding as well as the core experiences for each user segment: Executives, Relationship Managers, Building Operators, Sales, trading and Business Managers.  

These journey maps, produced using research, supported teams to determine major problem areas that needed to be solved. We used these insights to discover core opportunity areas for innovation, laying the groundwork for understanding employees’ future needs and requirements. 

Next, team prototyping sessions empowered participants to translate these insights into tangible ideas, exploring the next required functions of the workspace, co-designing future scenarios, and testing new use cases. 

The workshop was an ignition point for the organization to create a model for the future of work. It supported teams to determine major problem areas that need to be solved as well as the emerging opportunities for innovation. Giving this focus both created business value and reduced risk at the same time: paving the way for premium workspaces that attract the best talent2