Reimagining the employee workplace experience With Paul Chapman, CIO of Box

Before any of us were paid professionals, men who looked a lot like Don Draper got up, donned their flannel gray, and went to work from 9 to 5. Then, they returned home. Home was home; work was work.


"Work used to be a place you went to. Now, it's much more a state of mind."

— Paul Chapman


Since work no longer occupies a specific part of someone's day, ways to create a frictionless workplace is on every CXO's mind. Changing workforce expectations commonly include:


  • Better commutes and accessible housing
  • Access to local services and cafes. Who doesn't want to pick up their dry cleaning and a warm bagel on the way to work?
  • Personalized options for desks and seating
  • Space for impromptu meetings, and conference rooms that aren't hard to find
  • The coolest tech that makes work faster and easier


I'll share how Box has thought about designing our digital-first and employee-centric workplace.  



Spark innovation with urban location, location, location

When Box moved out of its Los Altos campus, we leased two towers in downtown Redwood City, one of which is directly on the Caltrain station. Our team naturally starts the day happier, ready to apply energy to their work instead of tackling the road. They also refresh themselves throughout the day with walks outside to local shops, museums and restaurants. We celebrate birthdays and new deals at a wine bar around the corner and host the company all-hands meeting at a theatre that's just as close by. 

Reimagining the employee workplace experience

Pioneering the future requires reinventing the workplace. When corporate campuses encourage flow and inspire employees to invest in relationships, creativity shows up in their work.

"The new style of employee is driving a new style of workplace."

— Paul Chapman

Enable productivity and collaboration with hybrid workspaces 

Box's office gives our team different workspace options. Does somebody want several double screens, or strongly prefer a Mac or PC? No problem. The employee experience starts at the desk. 

Reimagining the employee workplace experience

"No one wants to hear, "here's your choice of one." 

— Paul Chapman


What's around desks is just as influential, so every Box floor has a different theme of decor and variable layouts to inspire creativity. Some people sit in open-seating style desks all day; others are more creative on couches and like to use scooters scattered around the office. We even design workspaces for specific activities. While the Quiet Cave is good for focused programming, teams use areas like the Collaboration Station for presentations and marketing brainstorms. Casual discussions often happen at our coffee bar and the kitchen tables on each floor. And some people use soundproof telephone booths to work undisturbed. 

One of Box's four core values is to bring your [fill in the blank] self to work(1). Are you wacky? Are you super serious? Our team fills in their own [blanks] and owns who they are. To support that, we accommodate a variety of working styles.

"When workspaces create social connections and build professional chemistry, companies are more productive."

— Paul Chapman


Reimagining the employee workplace experience

Institutionalize the coolest tech

In a world accustomed to the on-demand personalization of consumer experiences, enterprise workforces expect the same exceptional UX. Yet how common is it for employees to ask each other, "Do you know where this meeting room is?” 


At Box, employees use technology from Teem to locate and reserve available rooms. In addition to floor plans, beacons in the building also give them turn-by turn directions. Once inside conference rooms, the team can tell Alexa to start, extend and end meetings, all with simple voice commands. Soon, these smart devices will also power up audio-visual capabilities.


While Alexa is undoubtedly completing tasks that people can easily do for themselves, the whole idea is remove friction from employees' days so they can focus on interacting with each other. Dialogue interaction is a key trend.

Reimagining the employee workplace experience

It's been interesting to monitor this particular proof of concept. Responses to the idea of artificial intelligence vary widely, and this application is no exception. What does it mean to have a listening device nearby? Can the devices be trusted? As part of Box's ongoing initiative to test new tools and technology, we're continuing to find out. 

"As we move to a touch, text and talk interaction, the user experience shifts towards [voice]." 

   — Paul Chapman


One benefit we've already seen is an improvement in room utilization, thanks to Teem's workplace analytics. They share additional data-driven insights about meeting size and duration. Since it's fairly common for hosts not to show up for reserved conferences, we implemented a rule that releases rooms after 10 minutes if someone doesn't check in. Our 17% reclaim rate shows other parties quickly book available spaces. 


"Seamless digital workplace technology helps employees bring their best selves to work." 

   — Paul Chapman


It is exciting that today’s corporate campus can reflect the principles that the modern workforce values: Diversity, intuitive UX, options for personalization, and integration of life and work. 

Reimagining the employee workplace experience

The blueprint for exceptional employee experiences

  1. The best talent wants short commutes to urban campuses, so employees can arrive and leave as they please.
  2. Hybrid workspaces unlock employee productivity and collaboration — and are good business investments when they have long-term growth potential. 
  3. Workers are consumers first. Provide frictionless professional experiences — from finding meeting rooms, to the tech they use.



About Paul Chapman

Paul Chapman is the CIO of Box. He leads the global IT strategy and drives the development and delivery of key initiatives to support Box's growing workforce and customer base. Prior to Box, Paul was the CIO of HP Software and an IT leader at other technology companies, including VMware.




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