The DNA of Work

Why is everyone talking about workplace experiences?

January 31, 2023 Season 1 Episode 42
The DNA of Work
Why is everyone talking about workplace experiences?
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

We all have "workplace experiences" every day - but whether they are left to chance or consciously thought about and curated can make a world of difference to how we absorb our organisation's vision, brand and values. 

Writing values on the walls and expecting that to do the job won't cut it. If the lived experience of the organisation (in the office, at home, and culturally) is filled with jarring disconnects from the story it tells about what it values, then the level of friction and lack of authenticity may drive people to disengage, and ultimately to leave. Which is why workplace experiences matter now, more than ever.

Here's a quick overview of the topics in this episode:

  • The brain is the starting point (01:21)
  • We can't leave workplace experiences to chance (07:12)
  • Reward Gateway's journey - part 1 (17:16)
  • Every element of the experience represents your brand (25:26)

AWA Host: Karen Plum


  • Andrew Mawson, Founder and Managing Director, AWA
  • Brad Taylor, Director of Consulting, AWA
  • Catrin Lewis, Head of Global Engagement and Internal Communications, Reward Gateway

 AWA Guest details: 

Reward Gateway additional materials:


AWA contact: Andrew Mawson 

AWA Institute contact: Natalia Savitcaia

Music: Licensed by Soundstripe – Lone Canyon

Want to know more about AWA?

Thanks for listening to the DNA of work podcast

00:00:00 Karen Plum

Hello there. Everybody seems to be talking about workplace experiences, so to start off 2023 we're going to get into this subject, with a two-part special. 

For some people, workplace experiences are about the physical experience that you have in the office, but for us at AWA, it's much bigger than that. These experiences have far reaching implications, particularly given the fiercely competitive world we live in, where the war for talent is a very real thing. So let's get into this first part of the journey. 

00:00:34 INTRO: Welcome to AWA’s Podcast, which is all about the changing world of work and trying to figure out what's right for each organization, because we know that every one is unique. 

We talk to people who have walked the walk, who've got the T-shirt, and who've learned lessons that they're happy to share with us. I'm your host Karen Plum, and this is the DNA of work. 

00:00:59 Karen Plum

So to explore the concept of workplace experiences and what they mean, not just for individuals and organizations, but the people responsible for delivering them, I talked to AWA's Founder and Managing Director, Andrew Mawson and Director of Consulting, Brad Taylor. I started off by asking Andrew what we mean by the term ‘workplace experience’. 

00:01:21 Andrew Mawson

It's quite difficult to describe a workplace experience without referring back to the word experience, I find. I've kind of come to describe a workplace experience as a second-by-second cognitive immersion that supports a functional need, creates an emotion and leaves an impression in the brain. 

It's a bit of a mouthful, but in fact I think an experience is doing all of those things. If you think about it, every fraction of a second your brain, through your various senses, is picking up a picture of the world. It's being provided with inputs from all your senses every fraction of a second and your brain is working out what the environment is, and it's drawing conclusions about those elements of the environment and it's banking those and it's leaving those in your brain so that in the future you can make judgments against other experiences. 

So there's an emotional and cognitive component to it, but of course there's also a functional one, because we want to create an experience that allows you to do the things you need to do and to be safe in doing them. So it's quite a complicated thing. 

00:02:30 Karen Plum

But this is going quite deep, isn't it? I mean, I suspect when a lot of people talk about workplace experiences, they're talking about something quite superficial, but your starting point is what's going on in our brains. 

00:02:42 Andrew Mawson

Yeah, I think that's right. Our determination as to whether we like an experience or we don't like an experience, or whether that experience is satisfying or not, it's going to have a material impact upon whether we remain engaged with the organization, it seems to me. And the workplace experience, if not properly designed and delivered in a consistent and effective way has a potential, without anybody thinking about it, to cause people to decide to take their brains somewhere else. 

00:03:15 Karen Plum

So when we're talking about a workplace experience, it's not just about us doing our work, or even whether there are the right environments there, it's about the messages that those experiences are giving us about the organization and how the organization views us and the experiences we're having. 

00:03:34 Andrew Mawson

If you look at different views of this, I mean in the past you talked to an interior designer, I think an interior designer would largely consider the experience which was derived through your visual senses through your eyes. Now, what we're talking about is almost looking at every frame that the human brain consumes, leaves a message, leaves a positive, and certainly not negative message. 

00:04:00 Karen Plum

In terms of the experiences we're talking about, I assume that we're also talking about not just the experiences that we have when we go into the organization’s physical premises, but wherever we're working. 

00:04:14 Andrew Mawson

Yeah, absolutely. The experience doesn't sort of suddenly light up as you walk in through the door of your organization’s office - it is from start to finish and particularly now as we know that people are working at home only sort of on average a day and a half in the office a week, we have to consider the experience from start to finish.

What is the human brain of your employees consuming during the time during which they are working for you and that's you know a good chunk of that is not even within your environment, so it makes it that bit more complicated. 

00:04:50 Karen Plum

Yes, and I think certainly during the COVID period you know everybody was working from home and there were no offices to go into. Lots of organisations started to worry about the impact this would have on their culture, so I guess this is part of what we have to be thinking about when we're talking about experiences. 

00:05:08 Brad Taylor

It is because that workplace experience, as Andrew said, it's the totality of everything. It's not just the physical, it's the behavioral and the cultural that makes up that entirety of workplace experience. 

And it only takes one little bit to be slightly wrong, and it can kind of ruin it for the whole experience. That was the challenge, you know when we had to send everyone to work from home, is can we replicate the experiences that people were having in the office, in a much more virtual environment. 

00:05:41 Karen Plum

So as Andrew said earlier, this is very far from being about design or being about just design. We talk about workplace experiences, we talk about lighting, we talk about mood, we talk about colors and settings and whatever, but surely there's a huge big component here which is about behavior?

00:05:59 Brad Taylor

Yes, massively. I've always said with culture as well, if you as the leader are not being visible and influencing the culture then who is, because someone will be in a virtual organization. And therefore again, it's that intentionality and being mindful of how we're projecting ourselves across the organization and what sort of forms we're using to deliver our messages and to stay connected with people. 

These things really matter because it sets the tone for how then the people within the organization replicate that behavior. So you know from the chief exec all the way through to the directors, the managers, the team leaders, you're setting an example for how we remain connected and effective and valued in the organization, and that's all a fundamental part of workplace experience as well. 

00:06:48 Karen Plum

So Andrew, from what you were talking about - how the brain consumes all of these sorts of messages and signals, and all the different elements of the experience - are we saying, therefore, that in order to ensure that people are having the very best experiences that we have to consciously curate the experiences? 

00:07:12 Andrew Mawson

I think we do because if we leave it to chance, who knows what the experience will end up looking like. There are really 3 stages I think, well probably 4 actually. I mean the first one is defining the experience, what do you want the experience to do? 

00:07:28 Karen Plum

So it's not what do you want the experience to be, it's what you want the experience to do - to actually achieve. I think that's a really important point. 

00:07:36 Andrew Mawson

Yeah, I think so because what is the outcome of the experienced thing that you're going to give people? You can design an experience, you can create an experience which is, horribly bad, if you want to, not that you would, but. 

00:07:52 Karen Plum

Because you don't know how it's going to be received and interpreted. 

00:07:55 Andrew Mawson

Exactly, exactly, so I think there's a piece of work at the beginning which is about defining. There are a myriad of things you might want to try and achieve through the workplace experience, it could be retention; it could be recruitment; it could be about productivity; it could be about portrayal of your organization’s real personality. 

The first job really is to sit down and try and work out the old ancient question, what are we trying to achieve here? And to really get clear about where your priorities lie in this variety of different drivers that kind of exist really. And then you have to say right OK, having understood what that definition looks like, how do we go about designing every moment and every sense wherever people are? 

And again that's a non-trivial activity because you think about the number of people who play a part in a workplace experience, it’s huge - from the moment you join the company you experience the website the organization’s you using to recruit you; you experience the way you're dealt with during the recruitment process, probably by somebody from HR; you go through induction; you meet your manager; you meet your colleagues; you experience the physical environment if you have a building; you experienced the technology; if something goes wrong, you experience it through somebody else. I mean it just goes on and so everybody plays a part in the creation of this experience. And at the moment, if you think about it, everybody's playing off a different hymn sheet, unless somebody has done something very deliberate to construct this.

The questions you have to ask yourself, you know what does our organization look like? What is our personality? What do we smell like? What do we sound like? What music represents us? And there's a whole pile of questions really that you have to get into and then you’ve got that design phase. 

And if that wasn't tough enough, we then have the activity of then translating that into something that can be delivered on a daily basis by a changing community of people. 

00:10:06 Brad Taylor

I think it's one of those things as well, isn't it, that organisations haven't thought about it holistically in the past. They've had teams, separate teams that are focusing perhaps on various aspects of it, but none of it's joined up. 

And sometimes the way I think about it, if you're speaking to someone for the first time in an organization so you know, think about when you're buying a car or something, it's from the moment you enter the showroom, how do you feel about the brand? When you look at the vehicle, how does it look from the outside? When you open it, that smell hits you of the new car. You sit in the seat. Are there any scratchy plastics? How easy is it to turn the heating up as you're driving along? What does the steering wheel feel like? What's the visibility like? It’s all those things that are impacting how you experience it.

And I think we've gotta think similarly along workplace design when we think about workplace experiences as Andrew's saying it's all of those things that are assaulting the senses from the very first moment we start interacting with the organization, to the point where we finish. How do we feel about it? Is there anything that's preventing us from doing that thing as effectively as possible? So just leaving it to chance or just relying on separate teams to come up with that level of complexity of design isn't going to work. 

00:11:16 Karen Plum

It's very interesting because listening to the two of you speak, the whole subject seems absolutely huge. And I'm thinking to myself, so organisations have managed for decades without doing what you're talking about, so why would they start doing that now? What's the step change? What's the driver for them to start doing it now when they feel like they've managed alright before, in the past? 

00:11:47 Andrew Mawson

I'd say the answer to that is in the market. We're now dealing with - a large population of knowledge workers whose brains contain all the value they bring to the organization. And they have the opportunity if they want to, to take those brains somewhere else. 

If we aren't actually constructing experiences that are positive for them, the market out there will lure them in somewhere else. So I think that's one of the things. I think the other one is productivity, I think we're only just beginning to understand really what productivity means and looks like in the world of knowledge work. 

This is about getting your ducks in a row and being clear and creating something that is universally deliverable across the whole chain of events that a human being goes through. We're not talking about spending millions and millions of pounds on a new piece of technology or something. The tools are in their hands - they just need to be orientated in a different way. 

00:12:49 Brad Taylor

People expect their organization to deliver the same experience for them as an employee as it is giving to their customers. 

00:12:55 Karen Plum

I sense that before people were productive in spite of the experiences that they were having and now it feels like moving somewhere else is just a whole lot easier than it felt before. 

00:13:11 Brad Taylor

And it goes back to engagement again, doesn't it? No one joins an organization, or very few join an organization disengaged. Everyone's excited when they start a new role. It's the things that get in the way that causes disengagement. 

So all of these organizations pulling their hair out thinking how do we drive up engagement? Well, it was probably there in the first place. Take a look at what you've been doing, or the environment you've been creating for people that's probably led to this and sort those things out. 

00:13:37 Karen Plum

It is a big topic and as you say Andrew, it doesn't need to cost you millions of pounds and you don't need to go into absolutely everything. For our audience, thinking about how they might make a start on this, what would you suggest? Where could they start in order to have a look what could be done to fine tune the experiences that people are having?

00:14:01 Andrew Mawson

Well, I think the first place to start is to understand how the experience is for people today and you can do that through a whole variety of different tools, from surveys to focus groups to interviews, and so on. 

But I think trying to get a handle on how the experience is for people is really important. It might be appropriate, I think, to maybe preface that by getting a bunch of people together and saying well, in a perfect world, what would the experience look like for our kind of organization and for the organization we are, and maybe then use that as a benchmark in your research process to try and understand how you're doing against that. 

But I think that has to be a circular process, because in the process of doing this, I think you'll begin to learn more about who you want to be as well as who you are. I'd also look at other organizations in my field and I don't mean that necessarily in terms of direct competitors, I mean the organizations that you compete for labor for. 

And try and get a feel for what is the experience that they're providing their people, because this is a competitive game and it's not going to be a one off gig either so I think armed with these different inputs you then begin to get a sense for what the experience might need to be in the future and how far you are away from it and what new innovations you can bring into it that might set your experience apart from those organizations that you're competing with. 

00:15:42 Karen Plum

And when you compare yourselves with others, I guess it's important that you don't do that on the superficial level, just looking at what benefits you provide to people or how shiny your office is compared to another organization. 

00:15:57 Brad Taylor

You can actually think a bit strategically about this can’t you as well and think about what is the right space that we want to occupy for the sort of people that we want to attract and work for us and design the experience around that as well. So not every workplace experience has to be the same. 

Yours could lead to a more, perhaps it’s a more bureaucratic organization, or it's one that you're really trying to encourage innovation. Maybe it's fast-paced, or maybe you need one that goes at a slower, more steady but much more accurate sort of pace as well. 

And I think it's thinking about things like that again, that go back to saying right actually this will help these type of people that we need to be successful, want to work and stay with us. But what does it look like and what does it feel like? And what are all the things that go around that to make that possible? But I think it's a worthwhile investment. 

00:16:47 Karen Plum

It certainly seems that there's a lot of value to be had by taking a more in depth look at the experiences people are having at work, whether that's in the office or when they work at home. We'll come back to the discussion with Andrew and Brad in our next episode. 

And if you'd like to understand more about our approach, please do get in touch. Andrew and Brad's contact details are in our show notes or simply head to the website and get in touch with them there. 

Next I thought it would be fun to look at an organization that's really put a lot of thought into their own workplace experiences, and I was delighted to talk with Catrin Lewis, Head of Global Engagement and Internal Communications at Reward Gateway

To kick off, I asked Catrin to tell me a bit about Reward Gateway, which you'll also hear her refer to as RG. 

00:17:38 Catrin Lewis

Reward Gateway is the employee engagement company. We are there to maximize the people experience at work. We focus on supporting businesses in creating cultures that people absolutely thrive in, that they love, that they're really proud of and places where yeah, companies are able to retain their staff, have motivated employees and ones that really love their job. 

00:18:01 Karen Plum

So really the employee experience is really in the heartland of what you're delivering as an organization. 

00:18:06 Catrin Lewis

Yeah, it's really encapsulated well in our mission, so that's to make the world a better place to work and our technology is what drives that mission, and enables it for our clients globally. 

00:18:17 Karen Plum

So when you as an organisation, as Reward Gateway, when you thought about the experience that you wanted your people to have at work, what was your overall objective? What were you really trying to achieve? 

00:18:30 Catrin Lewis

So we went from having a very traditional office which wasn't really built for our purpose we just molded into that old office space. So when the opportunity arose to build our own space exactly as we wanted it, we had four things that we wanted to do that was to build culture, so make a workspace that people were really proud of, that would reflect our values and people should be able to love going to the office and have that experience of Reward Gateway as a brand when they're there. 

It was to showcase our culture as well to our clients, so when we'd have clients or prospects coming in, they would be able to feel Reward Gateway, they'd be able to experience exactly what our mission is about. So really understand what making the world a better place to work means. 

We wanted to create a place that would connect people so it should be designed to break down any communication barriers, to enable friendships and trust and relationships all across the business and also enable success and flexibility for our employees. So designing a space that focuses on what modes of work are our employees actually doing, rather than just a rigid - here's your desk, here's where you're going to work for 8 hours a day and there's nowhere else for you to work in this space. 

As a product company as well, that's something that we really did think a lot about, like what do they need to do and what are the friction points that we can remove for them from their day at work. 

And in terms of flexibility of course we're a tech company, we work in an agile framework, so how can we embrace that in the way that we work as well, and again, provide those spaces where product teams and engineering teams can really thrive. 

00:20:11 Karen Plum

I'm really interested in the experience for your customers, so you're really modelling the thing that you're talking to them about, so they can actually see it in action and experience it for themselves. 

00:20:23 Catrin Lewis

Yes, exactly so our office should be a place where they can just walk in and really get an understanding of exactly what RG (Reward Gateway) is trying to achieve with our clients because they see it with our own employees as well so they can walk in and actually feel what an engaged workforce feels like and want to be part of that, like want to replicate it in their own space as well. 

00:20:47 Karen Plum

Yes, and to see that it is achievable and perhaps to start to map it to what they might want to achieve. 

00:20:53 Catrin Lewis

Yeah, exactly different considerations for how you can bring your culture to life in a very visual sense, and different ways that you could spread values through which aren't just painted on the wall, for instance. How can you make it so that employees can really live them and you can demonstrate that in the spaces that you're building? 

I'll give you an example like, ‘open and honest communication’ is really important to us and if you have seen the engagement bridge model you'll see that it's one of the core pillars, it's like central to how the model works and for us that's replicated in the fact that none of the meeting rooms for instance, have got solid walls. You can see what's happening in any of the meeting rooms. There's no spaces for senior leadership to have tucked away offices. It's very much an open dialogue space.

Nothing's hidden away, which would talk about that transparency and that's reflected in the material that we've used to build the meeting rooms. 

00:21:46 Karen Plum

Yes, so rather than writing ‘open communication’ on the wall, on a solid wall, you don't have a wall, you have something that you can see through and that demonstrates openness rather than just writing it. Because so many organisations do write that stuff on the wall, don't they and they do think that that's job done. 

00:22:05 Catrin Lewis

Yes, exactly. 

00:22:06 Karen Plum

I'm interested in how you changed - I think you transitioned your office a few years ago now – when was it? 

00:22:13 Catrin Lewis

Yeah, it was about six years ago that we moved into our new space at Tottenham Court Road. Prior to that we were in West London on Westbourne Grove, above a Sainsbury's and we were on different floors so we had I think it was about four floors in that building. Teams spread on different floors as well. 

With that already you've got a physical divide between the teams, because there's a literal floor between each of them, so you'd walk in and there's a different energy on each floor as well, and there would be certain teams that are put together and then when you have that you're already creating like four social groups because you've got this physical floor between each of them

And we wanted to design a space which would, as I say, build connection and stop those silos from happening, which the physical space was enabling. 

00:23:04 Karen Plum

Yes absolutely. And it is amazing how much of a barrier, even a staircase or a lift to another floor is. People just don't go there, do they? You say, well they’re only up the stairs - well, yes, but I can't, you know I'll ring them, I'll e-mail them. 

00:23:20 Catrin Lewis

Yeah, it really is so we had that in the London office. Our workspace transformation has gone across the globe now, so we've done this in London, Australia, Bulgaria, the US. Bulgaria was our biggest space that we transformed and that whole part of bringing the different floors just onto one level - it's like a circular route people can walk round and teams everywhere, it's amazing.

But just hearing their feedback after that space, because their floors before was like eight different floors in different parts of this huge building and when they joined they were talking about how it just felt like a new company to them, how many new friends they've made, how now they would know everyone’s face in the business and you could see the teams that you would normally be talking to perhaps on - we use Slack as our instant messenger - but just making work so much easier and communication so much better, because they can actually just go and grab a pod and talk to each other, rather than miscommunications happening in written text. 

00:24:21 Karen Plum

Talk about eight floors - I mean you're creating at least eight tribes there aren't you, and never the two, never two of those eight are going to communicate well with each other. And by creating a single space for everybody, you've got much more opportunity to create one tribe. 

00:24:38 Catrin Lewis

One tribe, and I think you create the opportunity for more empathy between teams and understanding. If we have our engineering team for instance, they're now on the same floor as our employee support team, so that's bringing them closer to the customer and they can pick things up, they can learn things, they can go and immerse themselves in the actual team that is serving the customer and hear the interactions as they're happening so they can better understand how to build our product to support the end user. 

00:25:06 Karen Plum

And I believe that your founder, Glenn Elliott, had a very strong vision for the workplace experience that you were going to create for Reward Gateway. Our Managing Director Andrew Mawson remembers hearing him say that you asked yourselves, what should we smell like? Did you really do that? 

00:25:26 Catrin Lewis

Yeah we did. So everything in the office was about our brand representation. As we say, people need to experience it. So if we look at every part of the brand, the color, the look, the feel, the textures, how does that all come together? And then for the bathrooms for instance, we put gender neutral toilets into the office spaces before that was even like a headline thing that was just common sense really. 

And putting in there, we introduced our own RG (Reward Gateway) radio, so there's a playlist that's there. The scent of the hand soap was for discussion, very much saying we're not a lavender brand, something much more zesty, something that's fresh, something that represents how vibrant we are as a company rather than a chamomile or a lavender. 

So yeah, everything down to that detail, but it's those small details that do make the difference I think, if you can take the time to go into those then it just brings it all together so nicely.

There's other little touches that we had. There's these beautiful animal sculptures that are around the office, which you can see. They're very playful, but they were something that Glenn brought in. He wanted them as a reflection of the diversity that we have in the office as well of characters, and all of these different playful things, they're very nice touches. 

There's books everywhere. There's an actual bookshelf, but then we have a library and that was to encourage the sense of learning and self learning and led us on to create our own book benefit, which is like unlimited books for our employees. 

As I say then it's visually there in the office people can see it and know that it's encouraged and just know that we have a love of learning and reading, especially at RG (Reward Gateway). 

00:27:11 Karen Plum

So not to be too trivial about it, but what do you smell like? 

00:27:14 Catrin Lewis

What do we smell like? It's a citrus scent - bergamot I think. Yeah yeah. 

00:27:20 Karen Plum

Right, and that's quite a calming fragrance as well I think isn't it, bergamot? 

00:27:25 Catrin Lewis

It's like a yeah, it's a lemony and citrusy. It's very nice. It's very nice, yeah. 

00:27:33 Karen Plum

And actually just going back to your bathrooms for a minute, I believe a lot of thought went into the bathroom design and how you kitted them out. 

00:27:42 Catrin Lewis

So other things that we would consider when we were putting the bathrooms together were like the end-to-end experience that somebody has at work. So our office is based on Tottenham Court Road, lots of people might like to go out in the evening after work, or they've got meetings to go to, or they've got just every day things that they need to get on with. 

So making sure we provide the things that they might need for those - we've got, hairdryers, hair straighteners, we had like hair accessories and things if people needed that, like Brylcreem and stuff for the chaps to use if they want to. 

I think there were tights available and things like this, toothbrush, mouthwash, all the different things that you would normally find these kind of things in hotel bathrooms. They actually do it very, very well, but bringing that into the workplace, everyone then has got what they need, they don't need to be carrying a big bag around with them to come into work because they know it's in the office space for them to then use. And they can go from work to dinner with friends or off to a meeting feeling their best and looking their best as well. 

00:28:44 Karen Plum

But what's so wonderful about that is it's nothing to do with getting the work done. 

00:28:48 Catrin Lewis

Yeah, and to just remove any friction points for them in their day, so there's so many people you could see that - they've got their double bags that they take - they've got their work bag and then they've got one for going out later in the evening, and nobody wants to be going to dinner with a bag of filled with hair straighteners!

And there's other things about it as well. So something we would do with the products we used in the bathroom areas, is use our brands of our clients as well, so that's another way that we replicate what we're doing and show you our support for our clients that we have in their products too. And back to the hand soap actually, we did start with one brand and then we changed on to another brand which was much more supportive of our social value strategy. 

So we changed our toilet roll brand that we had to one that was basically doing far better for the planet than other brands that we have and the same with the hand soap we went on to get another brand. Just looking at like how can we use those little opportunities to expand how we're supporting our community and charitable brands that are based around our local areas. 

00:29:53 Karen Plum

And presumably living a value of sustainability. 

00:29:56 Catrin Lewis

Yes, yes. Important because you'll get through a lot of toilet roll in an office as well. So make sure you are using one that's sustainable. 

00:30:06 Karen Plum

So just to finish up, you've talked extensively about the different aspects of Reward Gateway’s experience for people that work for them, is there one, perhaps one or two that you think most epitomize who you are as an organization? 

00:30:21 Catrin Lewis

The interesting thing for me around our office is that we did this six years ago and the office was designed based on a model of work modes. So we created eight work modes that our employees helped us generate by working with us. We held a series of workshops to let us know how they work, what modes of work they do and then we created as I say, these eight work modes - so Retreat, Pugged In, One to One. Little Meeting, Large Meeting, Buzzin’, Briefing and RGFun

And the office space was completely designed around that, so at that time that was quite unique and for me really encapsulated our ‘Push the boundaries’ value. What I then realized is when we went into lockdown, we were flexible before, but now very much hybrid, people really embracing that, is those work modes have stood us true through this whole time because we've been able to just make one small tweak to them which is understanding which of those work modes work well at home, and which ones are actually optimized in the office space. 

So having that model and really understanding the people experience at work, and how they work and looking at that. As I say, back then for me, that was really in line with our ‘push the boundaries’ moment because that was six years ago before this whole pandemic happened and people were forced into that. But the models was extremely helpful for us in that time as well because we were able to test them in the home environment and then just expand it to be the best environment for people to work in when we came back to the space. 

So for me the office space would always epitomize our ‘push the boundaries’ value and just because of the timing of when we did it and how well that stood the test of time through the extremities of the last few years. 

00:32:16 Karen Plum

Yeah, I guess it was well embedded, wasn't it before the pandemic struck, so the pandemic gave it a good old workout, a good old test? 

00:32:23 Catrin Lewis

Yeah, it was well embedded and it just shows that if you really understand the roles of your people rather than just designing for the sake of designing, so you need to do it with a human design at its core and build it with your people, rather than just designing a space because it looked cool or like the architects say it's going to be amazing. 

Make your people the thing that leads the design and it will be functional and it will stand you as I say, six years on, it's operating perfectly well for us. 

00:32:55 Karen Plum

I think Reward Gateway’s story is really interesting. It really brings the subject of workplace experiences to life. If you'd like to know more, head to their website  or check out the links in our show notes

I'd like to say a big thank you to Catrin as well as to Andrew and Brad for joining me on this episode. The good news is that this is only half the story. In our next episode, we'll look at how to design and maintain workplace experiences and we'll hear more from Catrin, including the impact of the pandemic and what's happened over the six years since Reward Gateway moved to their central London location in Tottenham Court Rd. It's particularly interesting to see how the work they did six years ago has stood the test of time. 

00:33:40 CLOSE: If you'd like to hear future episodes of the DNA of work, just follow or like the show. You can contact us on our website, Thank you so much for listening. See you next time. Goodbye!

Reward Gateway part 1