A new survey polling 1,000 U.S. adults found that 39% would consider quitting if their boss required them to return to the office. Why? Remote workers have spent over a year designing their ideal workspace tailored to their individual needs. Some work at their dining room table with family members or roommates to mimic an informal, collaborative space. Others may have transformed their guest room into a secluded oasis where they can focus on tasks without interruption. It’s not surprising they’d rather find a way to keep their dream workspace instead of return to an outdated office that no longer meets their standards.
KGO’s Director of Innovation and Change, Mathew Xavier, believes that understanding the various work personas within your team is key to ensuring flexibility for your hybrid work program and creating workspaces that promote employee retention, engagement, and productivity.
“Personas have been used for years by product companies to better define their customer journeys. Companies can utilize personas to understand what is going to be the most valuable for employees while providing flexibility for their hybrid work planning. Personas provide insight into what employees need, what employees will get out of the workplace, and their experience in hybrid working while providing flexibility.”
To achieve the ideal working environment, KGO uses this concept of personas to map the spectrum of work habits, helping to understand the space requirements for every type of employee. Some of the regularly discovered personas within the office include: Fox, Bee, Bear, Beaver, Goose and Hummingbird.
The Fox persona is typically a member that would prefer a workspace that offers private, quiet areas where they can focus on tasks without interruption. They are well-versed in digital communication like email, phone calls, direct messaging, and Zoom or Teams meetings rather than face-to-face collaboration. If your current office layout is an open-concept floor plan where team members work in noisy, shared spaces, you might benefit from creating workspaces with protocols and settings conducive to support the quiet environment that the Fox on your team thrives in. Professionals in research and development align with this persona.
The Bee most likely spends the majority of their time at their desk or connecting in-person. This persona benefits from having a designated workspace where they can focus on tasks. Collaborating in person is key. These professionals utilize formal and informal drop-in areas like conference rooms and cafés where they can collaborate and socialize with coworkers. Professionals in a designer or creative role align with this persona.
The Bear undertakes tasks requiring focus and formality, often conducting these tasks at home to achieve optimal focus. When in the office, they are there with the purpose of meeting and collaborating to advance the work. You would typically find this person in conference rooms and collaborative workspaces to connect with their colleagues when necessary. Professionals in an analyst role align with this persona.
Your Beaver is a professional who works various hours to best suit the focus and concentration required for their role. Their core workings run the gamut from early morning to mid-day, mid-day to late in the evening, or evening to early morning. This persona developed out of the need to work at various hours to meet various deadlines or crises. In exchange, these professionals get to have flexibility for the rest of their work arrangement. Typically, this type of professional would work from home in a dedicated home work space to best suit their style of work. When in the office, they are there to brainstorm and ideate with colleagues or to get key training and professional development related to their field of expertise. Professionals in an engineering, web development, or IT align with this persona.
The Goose is in flight or on the road for sales calls, or attending conferences. With their busy schedules taking them out of the office for most of the workweek, they rely on digital communication to collaborate with team members. Your workspace should offer conference rooms equipped with screen casting and collaboration technology so you can effectively communicate with and support the Geese on your team, no matter where they are. Professionals in sales or executive teams align with this persona.
The Hummingbird needs the ability to collaborate in informal workspaces, so they might require informal drop-in areas like cafés to allow them to complete tasks. Hummingbirds prefer to float from one workspace to the next, never staying in one spot for long. They require a constant change in environment to boost their creativity and keep them on task. Offices that offer a variety of aesthetic work settings like cafés, conference rooms, lounge areas, and outdoor spaces are ideal for the Hummingbird persona. Professionals in marketing or human resources align with this persona.
Personas in the Workplace
Using personas to understand how employees utlize the office and use their workspace is crucial for the creation of a balanced environment that provides choices for all employees, no matter their work style.
“Personas can articulate an employees’ journey in the new hybrid environment – therefore making it easier for companies to ensure fairness and equity for employees based on their workstyle,” Mathew Xavier adds.
Company leaders who’d like to retain their employees after making the transition back into the office should take a closer look at these personas and consider a redesign of their workspace to support the different needs of their team members.
KGO’s Change Strategy aligns your employee experience and work environment through periods of transition that prepare your workplace and talent for the future. We create a road map to an innovative and collaborative workplace, resulting in engaged employees and management who know how to effectively support them.
Stay tuned! In the next post in this series, we will explore using personas to inform your real estate decisions and develop a new activity-based concept for your office.