August 6, 2021

Throughout the pandemic, essential workers have faced tremendous difficulty and uncertainty while performing their jobs—Host’s hospitality experts are no exception. Host’s workplace experience teams have been at the forefront of service delivery and continue to be the heart of the locations they serve.

We caught up with one of those Host team members to discuss their experience working in this harrowing time, what they’ve learned and how we can all understand their experience a bit better. This week, we’re featuring Ashley Yording, a Chicago-based workplace experience manager. Ashley has been with CBRE since 2013 and joined the Host team in April 2020, just as the COVID crisis was kicking off.

What’s your favorite part of what you do?

"I think the biggest thing is being able to help employees on the client side. I love working with our coordinators to provide clients with assistance or answers to any questions they may have. Also, just talking and getting to know them personally, especially given the difficulty of the pandemic. Most people haven’t been very social or around a lot of people for most of the past year obviously, so I consider it an important part of our job. Our team can provide truly unique experiences for people—events, happy hours, and overall building the workplace community; I’m just excited to be helping people every day."


Has the pandemic experience changed your approach to customer service or hospitality?

"One of my biggest takeaways is that everyone’s comfort levels are across the board; not everyone is as comfortable being in an office setting yet. We’ve largely worked through the pandemic—we reopened July of last year, although we had to shut down again in November, so we’ve had to be extra cautious and understanding that not everyone will feel the same way about the safety of the workspace. I’ve felt comfortable, but that’s because I have detailed knowledge of how thorough our cleaning and safety protocols are. But part of this role is putting yourself in other people’s shoes. Most employees who are just returning aren’t coming every day and, until recently, some hadn’t been here for over a year. It’s going to take some time to adjust to the new world we’re in—things just aren’t going to be the same as they were pre-pandemic, at least for the time being. We want people to know that we’re here to support and assist them through this difficult time, and we’re taking cleaning and other COVID protocols seriously because we want to keep everyone safe and healthy at work. We’ve also conducted surveys with employees to understand how we can better serve them. Overall, everyone’s comfort level is totally different, but that’s okay and understandable."


What’s been the most notable experience of your time at Host?

"Starting a new position during a pandemic was definitely a notable experience. It was huge for my team, the fact that we came to the office during a lot of this—to check the mail, make sure the property was taken care of—I give them a lot of credit for doing that. I know our client was so happy with the team, as well. And that’s what we’re here for. We had no idea when we’d be opening again in full, so we wanted to make sure we were on top of our game.

Reopening the workplace was also quite a challenge. Essentially, everything had been turned off and left for a lengthy amount of time. Freezers defrosted, coffee machines hadn’t been used in months, all food had to be removed from the space and replaced—there’s a lot to consider and tons of work to do in that instance. And then we had to shut down and reopen a second time after all that. I’m so grateful to my CBRE team and our client because they’ve been incredibly helpful as we navigate this."


What have you heard from the client employees you work with?

"Biggest thing was we wanted to hear everyone’s experience. Some employees are new hires, never been in the space, some haven’t been in a year. Lots of variety of experience. We surveyed employees who came into the space to get more information. Our number one questions were ‘how is the space?’ and ‘is it safe?’ We want to know what things are like from an employee perspective. Also excited to ultimately return to having in-office celebrations, happy hours, etc. People just want to get back to normal as much as possible.

It’s been nice to bring back a sense of comfort for those who are in the office. Just having their desk with all their things, their regular routines, their morning coffee the way they like it, a friendly face to greet them. It’s all important."


What does future of the workplace look like in your view?


"We are starting to see more people in space each day; we were at a lower capacity last summer. In particular, people are coming in to collaborate with their teams. They want to be in the same room with the person; people are tired of zoom and face-to-face interactions feel more impactful. For collaboration, it’s just more efficient and easier to understand people. With that said, I don’t know that people will fully return Monday through Friday, eight hours a day. I think most will come in a few times per week and use that time for a specific purpose, like meeting with teams or collaborative work. I imagine people will do a lot of their heads-down work at home. I don’t know if people will use the office exactly like they used to, but I’m interested to see what things look like a year from now."

Entering the Tween Years of Smart Workspace

Entering the Tween Years of Smart Workspace

Host Digital
Drew DePriest,
Digital Solutions & Strategy Lead

January of every year seems to bring out the crystal ball gazers of every tech industry. A new year – and some would argue (incorrectly, but maybe that’s just me and Seinfeld) a new decade – gives rise to reflection as the last year closes and the annual cycle begins anew.
Host Digital
Education From Afar: Perspectives on Virtual Learning

Education From Afar: Perspectives on Virtual Learning

Employee Experience
Ryan Bryant,
Communications Lead

Host’s goals of providing increased digital and virtual learning options have been on the agenda for some time. However, with a global pandemic shuttering offices throughout the world, our learning and development professionals have had to expedite these options to ensure that new hires receive the same level of expert training, even if the training isn’t performed in person.
Employee Experience
Leading Virtual Teams

Leading Virtual Teams

Employee Experience
Patrick Cheeseman,
Global Hospitality

Leading virtual teams can become untenable if you expect the virtual world to correlate perfectly with a traditional office environment. According to a recent study by the Harvard Business Review, 82 percent of virtual teams fell short of their goals. With that said, everything that makes for a strong leader in an office is twice as important in the virtual landscape.
Employee Experience
Bringing a New Member onto Your Remote Team

Bringing a New Member onto Your Remote Team

Employee Experience
Tyson Jacques,
Director, Global Hospitality Operations

New employees join organizations every day, including during this unprecedented time where many are working remotely during the COVID outbreak. While it's a best practice to spend face-to-face time when onboarding, right now that's just not an option most of the time. Employee onboarding lays the foundation for the success of new hires at your company and provides a baseline to make connections going forward.
Employee Experience
The Leader's Role in Fostering New Social Norms as Workplaces Reopen

The Leader's Role in Fostering New Social Norms as Workplaces Reopen

Workplace Strategy
Alex Andel and Karen Ellzey
By now, almost all organizations around the world are somewhere on their re-opening journey, whether starting to plan, bringing employees back to the workplace, or assessing “what’s next” for the future of their work environments. Companies and organizations are appropriately focused on a range of activities such as resetting the physical work environment to achieve social distancing, installing signage, adjusting building systems, securing sustainable quantities of supplies, and adapting service levels in areas such as cleaning and food service.
Workplace Strategy

The Double Shift Juggling Parenting and Working During the Coronavirus

Employee Experience
Lauren Schwalb
Director, Deployment and Operations

Working parents are facing a particularly challenging time, as the boundaries between work and home have completely broken down, resulting in the need for parents to juggle between parent mode to work mode and back again each day. The “double shift” is now the “double double shift.” Between putting three meals on the table, homeschooling, hosting Zoom meetings and conference calls, doing laundry, cleaning the house and trying to be present as both an employee and a parent, working parents are struggling and facing burnout.
Employee Experience
Patrick Goes to Work

Patrick Goes to Work

Hospitality
Patrick Cheeseman,
Global Hospitality Lead

When I’m focused on exciting new projects and things are going well, it’s always a surprise when they go awry unexpectedly. However, surprise doesn’t adequately cover our collective reaction to the rise of a global pandemic.
Hospitality
Customer Service Keeps Us Connected, Safe and Well – Let’s Celebrate It!

Customer Service Keeps Us Connected, Safe and Well – Let’s Celebrate It!

Hospitality
Patrick Cheeseman
Global Hospitality Lead

I think it’s worth our time to reflect on what customer service has meant to us in the past, what it means right now as our social lives are stunted by pandemic concerns, and what it will look like once we finally navigate our way through this challenging era of our lives.
Hospitality
The Employee Experience Formula That Inspires Innovation

The Employee Experience Formula That Inspires Innovation

Employee Experience
Ashley Lippitt,
Host Labs Lead

It will likely come as no surprise that our evolving workspaces, enabled by technology, outfitted with the most coveted amenities and served by hospitality experts, are designed to make employees feel valued, signaling to them that the work they do is important and impactful. But what about when the workspace provided by an employer is removed (even temporarily) and placemaking becomes a virtual endeavor?
Employee Experience
Delight in the Workplace: An Opportunity for Limitless Value

Delight in the Workplace: An Opportunity for Limitless Value

Employee Experience
Ashley Lippitt,
Host Labs Lead

As surprising as it may seem coming from a commercial real estate company, the Host team obsesses over enriching lives and creating delight for people who work in the buildings we manage. We consider the daily journey of our customers and map both their current and best experiences in the workplace.
Employee Experience
Why Workplace Experience Platforms Need the Human Element

Why Workplace Experience Platforms Need the Human Element

Employee Experience
Shobhit Choubey,
APAC Lead
Employee Experience
Thoughtful Reads: The Importance of In-Between Moments

Thoughtful Reads: The Importance of In-Between Moments

Hospitality
At Host, we’re all about providing people with the resources they need to have a better workplace experience. While delivering amazing people services and innovative technology to clients is a huge part of what we do, we also like to share information that keeps people informed and engaged broadly beyond the immediate day-to-day aspects of their jobs. That’s why we’re making Host’s Thoughtful Reads a regular part of our blog
Hospitality
The Value of Authenticity

The Value of Authenticity

Employee Experience

Wellness
Ryan Bryant
Host Communications
Wellness
Thoughtful Reads: Guide to the Hybrid Workplace

Thoughtful Reads: Guide to the Hybrid Workplace

Employee Experience, Workplace Strategy
Although people are beginning to return to workplaces around the globe, remote work isn’t going anywhere. Hybrid workplaces—workplaces that offer employees the ability to work either in office or remotely—are becoming the norm, especially at larger organizations.
Employee Experience, Workplace Strategy
What We've Learned: Host Conversations #1

What We've Learned: Host Conversations #1

Employee Experience, Hospitality
Throughout the pandemic, essential workers have faced tremendous difficulty and uncertainty while performing their jobs—Host’s hospitality experts are no exception. Host’s workplace experience teams have been at the forefront of service delivery and continue to be the heart of the locations they serve.
Employee Experience, Hospitality
What Is the Workplace Experience Anyway?

What Is the Workplace Experience Anyway?

Employee Experience

Tenant Experience
Ryan Bryant
Host Communications
Tenant Experience
Five Hospitality Skills That Prepare You for the Corporate World

Five Hospitality Skills That Prepare You for the Corporate World

Hospitality
If you’ve got experience working in hospitality or customer service, you know exactly how challenging and rewarding the work can be. The wide-ranging skills you develop in the hospitality industry transfer easily to other roles and careers, which means you’ve got a variety of options for your future growth.
Hospitality
Thoughtful Reads: Tech Tools for Hybrid Work

Thoughtful Reads: Tech Tools for Hybrid Work

Employee Experience, Digital
How can we be more intentional about the technology we’re using? How can we stay focused and engaged? Which tools work best for our needs? This helpful guide touches on how to get the most out of workplace tech and do good work while respecting the time and personal boundaries of others.
Employee Experience, Digital
Small Things: Host Team Recipes #1

Small Things: Host Team Recipes #1

Hospitality

Wellness
Small Things highlights our team’s favorite stuff—from food to travel recommendations to entertainment options and everything in between—to share with readers a bit about who we are, what we’re obsessed with and how we’re always looking for new ways to live life to the fullest.
Wellness
Employee Experience Can Make or Break Your Business

Employee Experience Can Make or Break Your Business

Employee Experience

Although the employee experience is only one aspect of a larger workplace strategy, ensuring your people have a positive experience remains crucial for long-term growth, worker retention and overall profitability.