Encouraging Participation and Engagement Through Workplace Experience

by Mike Petrusky on August 17, 2018

The facilities manager is no longer a supporting role in the workplace. As the FM profession continues to become more than maintaining a company’s largest asset, the building, what does this mean for our industry? How should we adjust to succeed in this new role as leaders in the space management world, where we are part of the discussion on how to bring happy employees to our workspaces? Both John Parsons and Peter Ankerstjerne agree it has to be about serving the workforce, and giving them what they crave in an environment that makes them want to work in your space. 

Workplace Experience & Start Up Culture in Silicon Valley

John Parsons | CFM, Director of Workplace Experience, 23andMe

“I consider what we’re doing now…our team is trying to deliver concierge services. It’s not just trying to get the best value for the dollar but we need to create an experience within the workplace that will enable them [the workforce] to do their best work.”

Silicon Valley is bursting with innovative workplaces. A recent guest on our podcast, John Parsons, happens to work in one of them as the Director of Workplace Experience at 23andMe. At their headquarters in San Francisco, they have found the best workspace for their employees includes assigned seating, but also break-out sections plus private rooms which help to facilitate the work their employees do each day.
John discussed how as humans are generally territorial, we crave a sense of place. Our job as facilities leaders should be to provide that place. Whether it’s through an assigned desk or an office cubby, you want to give your workforce identity when they step into their working environment. Even though the organizational structure of each company is different, some prefer traditional offices while others embrace activity-based working, you can always make room for the workplace experience by ensuring your teams feel at home and like they belong by asking for their input. 
During our podcast, John also covers how organizations can help their workforce maintain focus by eliminating the small issues that can often be distracting throughout the day – like lights being out or assets missing. Even with the shift in focus towards the workplace experience, it’s important to remember that still includes the basics of your building operation running smoothly in the background. 

A Roadmap to How FMs Can Deliver ROI Through Workplace Experience


Peter AnkerstjerneMBA, COP, FRICS, 2nd Vice Chair IFMA Board of Directors

“I think there is no doubt, and I think everybody in facilities management knows that it is the personal interface that counts. It is the human contact that creates the excitement, the loyalty, the connections, the engagement – and we can facilitate that.”

Hailing all the way from Copenhagen, Denmark, Peter Ankerstjerne is the newly appointed Second Vice Chair on IFMA’s Board of Directors. A familiar face in the FM world, Peter understands facilities management on a global scale, and has some interesting perspectives on the importance of the workplace experience that he shared during our live webinar hosted last month at IFMA’s Houston headquarters. 

During our webinar, Peter brings up how the typical business professional perceives “work” and where it is done in a much different way than he did just a few years ago. As technology progresses employees are able to choose from a multitude of options for where they get their work done, including working from home, to coworking spaces and the traditional office – employees now have the luxury of selecting the best environment for them. However, the importance of intermediate face-to-face interaction has never been more apparent. Peter goes on to explain how as facilities leaders it is our job to provide workspaces that people want to come to, so once in an office employees will have those personal interactions, plus they’ll have the tools they need to work from home when they choose. 

Peter also brought up another question during our webinar, “who is the workplace’s customer?” Considering the facilities management focus is on the workforce and the space, it’s quite accurate to say the employee is the customer in this instance. During this 20-minute snippet of the webinar, we cover how FMs can serve the needs of the workforce while maintaining the ROI data expected of them from their organization. 


Mike Petrusky

Mike Petrusky is host of the “Workplace Innovator Podcast” and Director of Events and Growth Marketing at iOFFICE. He joined iOFFICE in March of 2018 with a mission to energize the company’s live events. He is a dynamic speaker, podcaster, and seasoned marketer who has a passion for sharing iOFFICE’s unique brand of thought leadership to CRE & FM leaders in the digital workplace.

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