In my previous post, I said that the “Future is Now”. Actually, I was wrong, it was really yesterday. However, there really is no such thing as yesterday. Because yesterday, was today, tomorrow. J
Realistically how do you plan for the future, if today is the future? It’s important to understand history when planning for the future, however, those lessons can’t be the only thing that is reviewed. As this pertains to your Workplace Strategy, you must understand your ability to withstand change. What is your threshold and willingness to make change – the one constant that you can predict? Can you truly make the Workplace Strategy replaceable by leveraging technology?
So what can’t be easily replaced as part of Workplace Strategy? The Workforce: your workforce, who change from generation to generation, requiring new technology innovations with workstyle changes. What was deployed just a few years ago may no longer be appropriate for today and will definitely not be what is needed for tomorrow.
Organizations must create a work experience for their employees that promotes success. While this new work experience may take several forms, it can be created and implemented through a Workplace Strategy project in conjunction with moves/relocations or even expansion projects. We see this often with our clients as they prepare for this unique shift from baby boomer to millennial and beyond within the workplace.
How can an organization create something today that will protect investments against obsolescence before that technology is even implemented? We noticed within our clients that many over-invest in technologies in some areas and under-invest in others. For example, many organizations over-invest in Audio Visual equipment, but do not spend the time to investigate how much to spend in Wireless, resulting in an under-investment.
Here are a few things to think about during the creation of a Workplace Strategy:
- Sense of Community – Cafes, shared training rooms, open and closed common areas, focus rooms, and shared conference areas and collaboration spaces; and yes, size matters when it comes
to these types of space. If the amenities are built that a community needs or desires, then people will want to stay in the community.
- Ubiquitous Network – Employees want to be connected no matter where they are inside or outside of the building. This includes pervasive Wi-Fi for all devices, both company-owned and personal use (BYOD), as well as quality cell network connectivity.
- Cool Technology (that works) – With Millennials liking everything at the touch of a finger, or at the click of a button, it only makes sense to have easy-to-use and accessible technology that not only helps an employee become more productive, but it’s also fun to have. This could include:
- Audio-Visual equipment that is controlled wirelessly so that when an employee is in a conference room or collaboration space, it just works. No cords, plugs, or calls to the local AV office are needed.
- Digital signage that informs employees about upcoming events, company information, etc. These should be placed somewhere in the building that is easily readable and centralized for maximum exposure.
- Reservation systems for conference rooms or even hoteling desks/cubicles. This makes it easier for employees to know what is open and when.
- Sensors or ID cards that actually identify not just an individual employee, but also work habits and has the ability to track how things get down and what is/isn’t used in order to configure future workspace.
- Controlled lighting and shading that provides preferences and options including advanced features to allow simulate sunlight effects inside the workplace.
- Soundmasking systems that control white noise and help promote privacy where required.
Remember to not get lost in vendor or brand names for any of the technology going into a Workplace Strategy. The solution’s functionality and ease-of-use is more important. Employees will not have an opinion of one brand of conference room reservation system versus the other; as long as it works, employees will remain happy, healthy, and wanting to stay employed with the company through the good times and the bad.
Technology has come a long way over the past (almost) six decades. Just imagine what is yet to come. If you haven’t started planning for the future, start today. If you already have a plan, start implementing. And if you’re already done, congratulations… you’re in the future! Or are you?
WRITTEN BY: DAN HECKMAN, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT – SOLUTIONS