Category Archives: facilities strategy

Facilities Management: 10,000 hours – generalists need experts, not ‘outsourced generalists’

Facilities Management is still fairly young – only around three decades old, I would say. But, 30 years old is no longer feckless youth. It is a time when one should have learned from ones mistakes, at least a little. However, it seems that Facilities Management has not had some ‘home truths’ spelled out. It still has a few ‘elephants in the room’, and one of these is the recurring belief that in-house ‘Heads of’ property, facilities and procurement want to outsource to ‘generalists’. And it continues to make the same mistakes.

Let’s release this particular elephant…currently (of course, this may change) my research in the UK shows that, mostly, clients do NOT want outsourced generalist FM firms. Some do, particularly for very large, multi-national and complex portfolios, perhaps. But, most do not.

Facilities Management is, in my opinion at least, a general management discipline. It is an important management function, in all organisations that are not ‘virtual’ – i.e., if an organisation has people who routinely need to work together in workplace environments, then that organisation needs a manager responsible for the provision of that workplace environment, and all its associated services provision.

If you are the Head of Facilities Management (or property, or both) for an organisation, then you ARE the generalist! You don’t need another generalist to second guess your own strategies and programmes. What you need are experts, whom you know that you can rely on to deliver the ‘best’ of their specialist field.

Malcolm Gladwell asserted, in his book Outliers, that one needs to invest 10,000  hours in an activity in order to become an “expert”. There are people that I know, in our industry, who clearly fit this description. And the companies that employ them clearly already know, and value, this expertise.

Phil Johnson, a management coach and writer, started a discussion on Linkedin on 11th Sept, titled \”Are you an expert?\” He continued the line above:

What’s 10,000 hours? Its 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year for five years – non-stop…[Gladwell] asserts that you need 10,000 hours, or about 10 years of practice, to be a world-class expert in virtually anything…..Anything that is cognitively complex seems like it requires at least 10,000 hours. … Its deliberate practice, so it’s focused, determined, in environments where there’s feedback, where there’s a chance to really learn from mistakes.”

So, that is what an “expert” is….the question for buyers of Facilities Management services must be, are you buying in people with anywhere near this level of expertise? Where is the ‘expert’ when you really need him or her? When you have a problem with cooling at your Data Centre, or you need to turn around ‘average’ catering at your HQ?

Marc Emmer, author of Intended Consequences, wrote a recent blog post titled Expertise in a World of Hyper-Specialization, which included a section that could have been written (but was not) about Facilities Management:

Perhaps the most common strategic blunder I observe within  entrepreneurial companies is a penchant for addressing overly broad  targets. Marketers, seeking the largest audience cast too wide a net. In  their need to satisfy the largest number of prospects, they become de  facto generalists. That is, instead of addressing a niche market with  specific solutions, they try to satisfy a larger audience with a  multitude of products and services. At some point, the value they can  provide suffers from diminishing returns.

Spot the elephant? Too broad, diminishing value, diminishing returns – remind you of any companies that you know?

What can we do to address this issue? In the tender process, really test out the knowledge and expertise of the “key people” who are going to be involved in the facilities management for your portfolio. Make sure that you are not buying a ‘generalist’ who simply buys in expertise……is there a point in that? Its ‘margin on margin’, is it not?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Managing Director, Occupiers Journal Limited
Twitter: @occupiers
Hong Kong – London – San Francisco
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The OPN’s 31st workshop will be at PwC More London, on Tues 7 Feb 2012

By Paul Bartlett, Chairman, Office Productivity Network

The Office Productivity Network’s next event will be on Tuesday, 7 February 2012, at PwC’s More London new offices which display “understated excellence”. This will be the 31st OPN productivity best practice Workshop, all of which have shown exemplar workspaces which are delivering productive environments for occupants. Previous workshops have been at Unilever, KPMG, Southwark Council, AAT, GlaxoSmithKline, Herman Miller, Eversheds, Reuters, Johnson Controls, and MOD.

As part of PwC’s two centre location strategy and accommodating just over half of their 10,000 London workforce, 7 More London offered a unique opportunity for PwC to create a workplace that would reflect the values and ambitions of the firm. The objectives of the project included providing a flexible workplace to meet business needs now and for the long term. About 20% growth can be accommodated without physical change as working patterns evolve and people choose to use spaces differently. 7 More London provides:

• 460,000ft2 across 13 floors.

• Capacity for 6,000 heads in 4,000 workspaces at an overall sharing ratio of 1.5:1

• A further 690 workspaces in collaborative settings across the practice floors.

• 112 client facing meeting rooms with 22 dedicated videoconference facilities.

When arriving, visitors and staff can physically see how PwC does business. Exceptional occupier service is facilitated with spaces that work for individuals, groups, when working collaboratively in teams or with clients. There is 100% hotelling for everyone, with high standards of services (including quality refreshment hubs and floor concierges), a choice of workspaces, central secure client filing and, most importantly, continuous engagement with the various business units delivers maximum space utilisation. Sustainability was a key aim; despite its conventional corporate appearance, 7 More London is the first building in the capital to have been awarded a BREEAM Outstanding rating.

The event will include presentations on the property strategy for London, design, change management, POE and the occupier viewpoint. Delegates will have an extensive tour of the building. Places will be limited to 40, so if you wish to see at first hand how innovation can deliver cost efficient sustainable performance enhancement, contact Paul Bartlett, the OPN Chairman, for more details as soon as possible on paulbartlett@sbssol.co.uk or 01379 678899

Paul Bartlett, Chairman, Office Productivity Network

The Resilient Workplace

By Judith Heerwagen and Michael F. Bloom

In systems biology, resiliency is the capacity of a system and its inhabitants to bounce back from disruptive change, to cope with adversity without losing essential functionality and identity. The result is a more adaptive state with a greater capacity for effective re-organization. At the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), we have been implementing strategies to make the GSA’s vast number of workplaces more resilient and, thus, sustainable.

The GSA’s Office of Federal High-Performance Green Buildings is the GSA’s green building center of excellence. As the federal government’s high-performance building thought leader and catalyst, the office strategically facilitates the adoption of integrated sustainable practices, technologies, and behaviors to accelerate achievement of a zero environmental footprint. GSA oversees 37.02 million square feet of office space in 9,624 buildings owned or leased by the federal government; 12,536 federal employees work in these buildings. Thus, the lessons from GSA’s federal building stock can be applied to many workplaces, large and small, in many contexts.

The federal building “system” today is much like a biological system facing disruptive change. The need to achieve aggressive environmental, financial, and operational goals and to reduce the federal spatial footprint, while maintaining the health and productivity of the workforce, is creating strong pressures to change. Can the built environment—and specifically the workplace—respond to disturbances and stresses with resiliency? Can we intentionally develop the capacity to adapt and cope by drawing on lessons from the natural world?

It is possible, but it will take unprecedented integration across boundaries, drawing on the knowledge and skills from disciplines that do not normally work collaboratively. Designers, technologists, policy makers, building operators, organizational and behavioral scientists—all have parts of the knowledge required to build a new way of thinking about work and workplace.

Unlike other organisms, humans have the potential to anticipate, create, evaluate, and change based on feedback and evidence. A resilient workplace requires a shift in the way we think about, use, and value space and highlights the need to establish feedback loops in order to adapt to and replicate what works. It also requires a shift to a more science-based understanding of the nuances of human behavior.  Ultimately, the main source of resiliency is people. Thus, we need to shape the workplace and its support system to provide the experiences that promote the human capacity to be creative—both individual and organizational—in the face of challenges both external and internal.

We define the resilient workplace as a system of interlinking components, none of which alone will generate resiliency. But in combination, they create synergies and mutual reinforcements that will drive the co-evolution of behavior and place toward resiliency.

The components include:

• A new way of thinking: Consideration of the workplace as an integrated whole, attuned to the relationships among space, management, work behaviors, policy, furnishings, technology, operations and communication practices. Today, most of these capabilities are in boxes and organization charts, each with its own perspective, rules, and ways of thinking.  Removing the barriers created by boxed thinking may be the most difficult challenge to implementing the resilient workplace. But as people learn to work collaboratively, the desire to engage others in thinking and planning will occur readily if it is nurtured.

• An evolution away from individually owned space: If work is not where you are, but what you do, why continue to assign individuals permanent space that remains vacant 60 to 70 percent of the time? This is a prime example of a non-adaptive workplace:  people for more than a decade have been characterized by mobility at work—whether just moving from meeting to meeting, or more broadly in multiple cities. Exchanging static, individual assigned space for the appropriate blend of support spaces that fit how work is accomplished broadens access to space that supports agency mission and releases resources that are unnecessary or wasteful. Assigned workstations may soon be to workplaces, as the vestigial appendix is to the human anatomy—present and taking up space but without performing a useful function.

• An evolution toward dispersed functionality: To be truly effective, the physical workplace should be just one node in a multiplicity of spaces that support connection among people across time and space boundaries. Organizations in which dispersed work teams become routine and the norm will be more effective in carrying out their missions even when disruptive events occur. Having the right kit of tools and technologies to work effectively as a team from multiple sites is a critical component of dispersed functionality.

• An investment in social capital: the workplace exists to support the people who work there, an employer’s most valuable resource. To survive, the workplace should service a niche and provide value that isn’t fulfilled elsewhere.  We believe that real value is supporting the synergies that drive effective teams. Face-to-face interaction is important for enculturation, socialization, creative problem solving, negotiation, and setting strategic direction.  But maintaining relationships in between face-to-face meetings can be readily supported from multiple locations, as can quiet, focused work.

An evidence based process: one that uses performance results as a basis for design, operations, technologies, furniture, and equipment purchases, as well as policy making over the life cycle of the workplace. By evidence, we mean not just objective data on factors such as space utilization, but also the tacit knowledge that develops through experience to become “know how.”

Elements of the resilient workplace

Taken alone, the elements that support the resilient workplace are not especially novel. Their transformative power comes through their combination. Here, we outline the key elements of the resilient workplace.
Space: Invest in space as social capital with focus on the different ways people work, focusing on collaboration, co-creating, and learning. Plan space by attending to best practices in indoor environmental quality, ergonomics, comfort, worker performance, operating performance, and technology supports. Space is no longer owned by individuals or linked to status; it may be shared with other organizations.
Furnishings: Furnishings are varied, flexible, and interchangeable—like a stage set that can be reconfigured easily. Ergonomics and comfort are critical, with an emphasis on work surfaces, including collaborative white boards. Increase reliance on consolidated storage of files and documents and ready access to shared electronic files.
Technology: Wireless, cloud-based, pervasive mobile tools (laptops, smart phones, tablets, etc.) are embedded into work practices with comprehensive technical support. Deploy technology to aid understanding, relationship development, information visualization, role playing, scenario development, and other practices that enable people to see in new ways. Technology supports both face-to-face and dispersed collaboration.
Management Strategy: Manage to performance rather than presence; create opportunities for cross group rather than stove-piped work and reward it when it occurs.
Work Behavior: Empower people to work wherever they work best; work is not where you are but what you do. Emphasize collaboration to achieve results and develop practices that work.
Policy: Co-create policy with workforce; policy becomes an accessible, living document that changes with new evidence to reflect
best practices.
Sustainability: The touchstone for all aspects of work, office design, renovation, and operations is sustainability, including life-cycle financial sustainability.
Operations: Building tenants are actively engaged in the impact of their behavior on how facilities function. Policies and programs to actively support behavioral change are common practices. Web-based discussions share how individual behavior affects building performance and how building performance impacts tenant health and productivity.
Communication: Communication is multi-modal and ubiquitous through asynchronous meetings, social media, chat, Webinars, and collaborative creation in the cloud.

A resilient workplace will succeed only where these characteristics intersect, and will thrive only when people are empowered and supported to work in new ways. Many of these elements are currently in place in public and private sector offices and telework experiments. But rarely have the elements been integrated in a systems perspective across the workplace life cycle.

Judith Heerwagen is an environmental psychologist specializing in the human factors of sustainability. She is a sustainability program expert at the GSA’s Office of Federal High-Performance Green Buildings, where she focuses on integrating research into policy making and on the relationship between building social and physical systems. She is co-editor of the book Biophilic Design: The Theory, Science and Practice of Bringing Buildings to Life (Wiley, 2008).
Michael F. Bloom is a sustainability and green program advisor with the GSA’s Office of Federal High-Performance Green Buildings. He is a workplace strategist and project lead for GSA’s new Sustainable Facilities Tool,
www.sftool.gov.

2011 IFMA Workplace Conference – Madrid

by Juan Luis de la Peña of 3G Office, Madrid (http://www.3g-office.com/inicio.html)

2011 IFMA Workplace Conference was held on 26-27th October kindly hosted by ENDESA in Madrid. All attendants (near 100 people) agree that it’s been an excellent conference with outstanding speakers and presentations as well as keynotes, moderators and round tables (plus a great catering!) where we all learned and shared real experiences, figures and trends regarding today’s ways of working and workplace solutions from several countries and business sectors.

Moderators:

Francisco Vázquez. President of 3G Office Group and Director of International Relations of IFMA Spain.

Leopoldo Alandete. Managing Director, LA & Asociados.

Xavier Llobera. General Manager, Microsoft Innovation Centre for Productivity Center.

All of them, Partners of the Workplace Innovation Group, played a great role in the conference, not only introducing the speakers but also questioning them and sharing their experiences and points of view regarding key matters in an open and frank way.

Conferences:

Introduction to Social Dynamics (by Francisco Vázquez)

Francisco made a clear introduction to how social dynamics are changing – dynamics that are mainly driven by technology, and new generations of people which are demanding new ways of working that suit their needs, and how companies are consequently adapting their workplaces to be flexible.

Agile Working in the UK (by Andrew Mawson, Managing Director, Advanced Workplace Associates Ltd)

Andrew introduced us to UK workplace trends, where there is some of the most expensive Real Estate in the world, and where most organizations are under pressure to reduce costs, but increase productivity. “Agile Working”, which is a dynamic way of working that frees people to work where and when it is appropriate for them and their organizations, pops up as solution. What is needed to support agile working are new layouts of office schemes with no owned spaces and overlapped areas with central or anchor points where groups gather around. He showed the today’s workplace situation by sector, from traditional (Legal, Retail) to mature (Telecoms, ITs). He pointed out that the change to agile working needs not only change management but “change maintenance” thereafter and that leadership from the directors of the business is the essential element.

Measuring the Value of Virtual Working (by Philippe Jimenez, Managing Director, Regus)

Philippe talked about a Regus research study based in big companies regarding measurement the benefits of the agility@work, a mix of real estate, commute, sustainability, technology, people and culture. The survey was done from three points of view: Virtual, AdVantages and Value, and showed results such as 63 % people still go to the office at least 4 days a week, 59% people takes more than 41 minutes to reach the office and the same to return home but only 12% want to work from home, and that 55% of the workplaces are not used. He also introduced the BYOC (Buy your own computer) model and the trend towards BYOW (Buy your own workplace).

Microsoft Milan (by Fernando Carneros, Real Estate & Facility Manager Microsoft Spain)

Fernando presented how Microsoft has evolved from “Bill’s Office” to a mobile workplace, by means of continuous research and, of course, technology. Before, team and individual settings were segregated and undifferentiated (highly hierarchical), today, a variety of team and individual settings mixed in clusters, with technology driving a multidimensional approach. He also introduced us to Microsoft Milan Innovation Campus (see YouTube) where new ways of work are continuously implemented.

Best Practices in the Financial Sector in London (by William Poole-Wilson, Director Pringle Brandon LLP)

William introduced his company and experience in the financial sector. He pointed out several general questions: Is London going to survive? What will be the landscape now? What does this mean for refurbishing? Numbers don’t stack up? Where is the money? Where is the space? And others more specifics: How can current available space be utilized for trading floors now and in the future? He went through several great examples of financial offices to answer the questions (case studies: Barclays, Macquarie) and showed the results of a survey conducted in trading floors users (for example they need faster communications and prefer clusters configuration of the space).

Importance of Measuring Workplace Spaces (by Carmen Ramos, Managing Director, Fama Systems)

Carmen, fromSpain, focused on the importance that new technology has in managing workplace spaces and the value of Computer Aided Facility Management (CAFM) software as a tool of measuring spaces and knowing exactly what there is in a building and so making easier to book and change spaces as well as move people when needed.

Measuring the activities in the workplace (by Germain Verbeemen, CEO, Wicely)

Germain, fromBelgium, started showing the evolution from “old” offices, passing by shared offices, to Activity Based Offices. He questioned how to conceive and manage Activity Based Offices. The answer is to measure occupancy and activities in an detailed manner with the right methodology and technology get trustworthy results that can be translated in “Activity Blocks” spaces that fulfill the needs of the people which are tuning in a “Generic Office Concept”. He concluded that an office must support effectiveness, flexibility, efficiency and attractiveness.

Measuring Productivity and Performance (by Tim Oldman, Founder and Managing Director, Leesman)

Tim gave a detailed presentation of what they name the Leesman Index by which they measure workplace effectiveness, the capability of workplace to support the productive activities of those it accommodates. He showed very interesting results from a study based on 5274 respondents, 22 surveys, 19 clients, 51 properties, c. 85,000 sq m and with a 70% response rate. He finally recommended that every company should ask themselves the following questions: what makes a workplace productive? What makes it unproductive? Where is it failing the occupiers? What interventions are required? How can it be bettered?

The office Code Project (by Catherine Gall, Director WorkSpace Futures Research, Steelcase)

Catherine presented a Steelcase Workspace Futures Study to know what the relationship between national culture and workplace design is. The study was based in 5 dimensions of culture: Power distance, Individualism, Masculinity, Uncertainty avoidance and Long-term orientation. She showed how the result of the study gives different “Office Codes” for each country.

Understanding Cultural Issues (by Marie Puybaraud, Director of Global Workplace Innovation, Johnson Controls)

From the point of view of the “Multi-generations @ Work” Marie introduced which are the workplace characteristics by generation (Veterans, Baby boomers, Generation X, Generation Y) and showed the very interesting, and sometimes surprising, results of a survey to answer the question of how important the workplace is in attracting, recruiting and retaining multi generations of workers with 8,800 respondents in total. The conclusion was that people and space should work in synergy and that the space design must be for flexibility, collaboration, performance and social interaction.

Social Dynamics Affecting the Workplace (by Kate North, Vice President, e-work)

Kate based her presentation in what she calls the “Big Bold Shift”: a move towards mobility with unassigned work space plus activity-based work environments, focusing in how important is to overcome the resistance to change and, particularly, how to help to the change and preparing the workforce for the new workplaces, processes, behaviors and tools. She talked about the trends in learning and change management and the role of e-learning has on them as well as the differences between generations.

Vodafone Holland (by Tjeu Verheijen, Project manager “the changing workplace”, Vodafone Netherlands)

Tjeu showed the pilot project done by Vodafone in the Netherlands that led to the optimization of the workplace used together to the fulfillment of the ways of work the employees (i.e. people) demand today: flexibility, mobility, freedom of choice and work and private life balance.

Nokia Berlin (by José Luis Sanchez, Workplace solutions manager EMEA & India, Nokia, and Niklaus Arn, Managing Director, RBS)

A very interesting case and best practice was presented by both, José Luis and Niklaus. They showed us how business growth made the company also grow in locations and, very important, change its workplace strategy. In that new way of working “the team is becoming the critical unit” where “new work cultures are merging life and work, requiring Nokia to provide locations and spaces that support those blurred boundaries”. They show us the lay-outs of the Berlin office, the reason behind them as well the improvements achieved, both for people and business.

Coming next

During next year we’ll work to find new best practices and speakers to have the 5th IFMA Workplace Conference even better than this one (a difficult goal!). Some organizations have already changed the way of working, many others are already thinking of doing so and all of them are interested in, so 3g office will be, by different means, continuously promoting the benefits of the flexible working and helping them to implemented it since 3g office is a consultancy firm specialized in this matter.

Juan Luis de la Peña, Head of Facility Management Consulting at 3G Office

jldelapena@3g-office.com 

WorkTech’11 – West Coast (report by Dr. Jim Ware)

WorkTech11 West Coast was the first event hosted by Unwired Ventures Ltd in Silicon Valley. And it was a good day, time and money well spent. Great lineup of speakers, intriguing stories, and excellent opportunities for networking. I don’t know the numbers, but I’d guess there were about 150 people in attendance, from all over the U.S. and some further afield.

Randy Knox

The Conference Chair was Randy Knox, Senior Director of Workplace Solutions at Adobe. He introduced an impressive roster of speakers and panels, and wove the conversations together throughout the day.

Nokia Silicon Valley

The Conference venue was the new Nokia Silicon Valley headquarters (see NYT article), and the first speakers took us on a virtual tour of the building, including the story of how it came about. The innovative workplace design, primarily for software engineers, was led by Colin Burry of Gensler; he and Lisa Hsiao told us about how the design emerged from a focus on agile development and small teams. The facility is 100% open space, split between individual “I” workspaces (53%) and collaborative “We” spaces (47%), but it also includes substantial informal gathering areas for relaxation and recreation.

Hamid Shirvani, President California State University, Stanislaus

Dr. Shirvani then took us on a historical tour of urban design, drawing many intriguing parallels between cities and workplaces – the need for “neighborhoods, the variety of “single-family” dwellings, the clustering of factories, and the need for multi-use spaces over the course of a day or a year. He showed us many pictures of suburbs (including the infamous Levittown), suburban shopping centers and office parks. Where too next? Hard to say, but one theme that is emerging in “new urban design” is small, local villages where people can walk or bicycle to their workplaces.

Urban Design: Panel Debate

We were then treated to an open conversation that included Dr. Shirvani, Jim Arce of Cushman & Wakefield, Luigi Sciarabarassi of Symantec, and Tom Sullivan of Wilson Meany Sullivan. The major insight:  the blurring of cities and suburbs; work is coming out to the ‘burbs, but many people are also moving back into center cities. But the most important variable in location decisions (by both individuals and organizations) is the availability of mass transit. And both cities and companies must learn to build in flexibility and anticipate future change. One thing is certain, and that is that nothing is stable. Younger generations care more about technology access (ie, broadband and wireless access) than they do about the local space itself.

Kevin Kelly, author, “What Technology Wants”

Kevin Kellywas the keynote speaker for the day. His new book, “What Technology Wants” is a sweeping overview of the history of technology, with a focus on how technology has changed us as human beings—including but not limited to our health, weight, and other physical characteristics. We are who we are because of technology. And technology is an ecology; modern inventions are dependent on 100’s if not 1000’s of prior technologies, and could not exist on their own. Kelly described the complex ecosystem of technology as a “Technium” that has its own “needs” and “wants” as it continues to evolve over time. All things are interdependent, and there is a natural tendency towards more complexity and more diversity. Intriguingly, some technologies become obsolete, but not extinct; there are today more blacksmiths in the world than at any time in the past. Something to think about.

Nathan Waterhouse, Ideo

Nathan Waterhouse talked about OpenIDEO, a “crowdsourcing” approach to solving large, complex social problems. OpenIDEO is a global virtual community that has been enlisted to tackle very difficult challenges. The community is supported by collaborative technologies through a process of innovative problem-solving that includes four phases: brainstorming, evaluation, solution-finding, and implementation (my words, not Nathan’s). We were treated to a rich story of how this process produced an inexpensive and very sustainable solution to sanitation in one of the poorest of African cities.

Marie Puybaraud, Johnson Controls, and Sudhakar Lahade, Steelcase

Two separate presentations on GenY—really about workforce demographics, with an emphasis on the GenY “digital natives.” Marie Puybaraud shared an overview of her recent research for the “OxyGen” project sponsored by Johnson Controls, including an “up close and personal” look at a day in the life of “Niki,” a young woman who views technology not as an accessory but as an “extremity” or extension of herself. Niki and her peers are fully cloud-dependent and Internet-addicted; they are completely comfortable with multitasking and have been seen using three separate monitor screens at the same time.

Sudhakar Lahade then reported on his research on GenY-ers in the U.S., China, and Russia. He stressed the way that GenY-ers all over the world think of life before work, and view job-changing as career-building, not disloyalty. They network with peers all the time, they collaborate spontaneously, and they think of the workplace as wherever they are. Most striking statistic:  there are 72 million GenY’s in the United States, 426 million in India, and over 800 million in China.

Vwork: Michael Leone, Regus, and Philip Ross, CEO Unwired and the Cordless Group

“Vwork” (see YouTube from WorkTech’11 New York) captures three “V’s” about work in 2011:  Virtual, Value, and advantage. This dual presentation reported on recent research that Unwired and Regus have conducted. While people today view “work” as a verb and not a noun, almost 2/3’s of people still commute to an office most of the time. What’s important however is that people want a 10 minute commute, rather than working at home all the time. This desire to be with others, and to have professional office facilities, is leading to an explosion in local work centers—what many now call “co-working” operations, and others (like me) have called “Third Places.” Think of a corporate headquarters now as the hub of a network, not as a singular destination.

As Leone and Ross pointed out, however, the new challenge is “getting the right people at the right place at the same time.” Thus, scheduling and having good places for collaboration is at the heart of the future of work. How can we make office costs more variable? Citrix gave its employees a budget and let them buy their own PC’s. Why not do the same for offices? Clearly, people want to commute less; the challenge is to create those local work centers, and then help people use them productively.

Rational Mobility:  Kevin Kelly, GSA (The “Other” Kevin Kelly)

We were then treated to our second Kevin Kelly of the day—this one a senior Architect with the Public Buildings Service of the General Services Administration (the “landlord” of the U.S. federal government). This Kevin Kelly reported on life “back at the ranch”—all those buildings that are being used so very differently today than they were designed for. As Kevin put it, the GSA challenge is to provide a “superior workplace at superior value.” Too often workplace strategists do not do an adequate job of analyzing the activity patterns of the workforce. The GSA looks at two dimensions of work:  interactivity and mobility. That produces four distinctive work patterns, with very different needs for “I” and “We” space. Kevin also stressed that noise remains a problem in open offices; he likened the typical open office to Houston, a very large U.S. city with essentially no zoning. He sees “zoning” as the major solution to acoustical issues; set aside spaces where quiet—like a library—is expected and required.

Going Mobile: Dawn Birkett, Salesforce.com and Bryant Rice, DEGW

This brief presentation (the schedule was running late) by Dawn and Bryant focused on the transition that Salesforce.com made to enable employees to work out of the office on a regular basis. The key was that the program was developed centrally for the company, but then implemented on an “opt-in” basis for individual employees who had to obtain manager approval. Thus, the program was available to everyone but applied only to those who chose to do it. The program policies were shaped carefully by a core cross-functional team that included not only HR, IT, and facilities, but also representatives from the legal department to deal with compliance, risk, and equity issues.

Mobility and Virtual Work:  Panel Debate

This panel, comprised of the previous four speakers, responded to questions from  the audience regarding the Unwired/Regus research and the GSA and Salesforce.com stories. The major themes of the debate focused on “opt-in” versus mandatory mobility programs. But in all cases the clear message was that mobility is now a way of life and organizations must find ways to leverage it, reduce real estate costs, and attract/retain talent—because the talent today expects mobility almost as a basic working condition.

Real Time Working:  James Calder, Woods Bagot and Ray Mays, Macquarie Group Americas

This final case study of the day, by James and Ray, focused on the Sydney offices of Macquarie Bank, where no one has an assigned workplace. The presentation included several stunning pictures of the newly redesigned facility, which is very open and filled with light. And the entire facility is open to Macquarie’s customers; none of it is off-limits. Most impressively, 93% of the staff would not go back to “owned” or assigned workdesks. And employee engagement scores are up 30% and sick days are down 42%. How did they do it? As Ray Mays put it, change management was key; the CEO was actively involved, and took many opportunities to express his support. Now he is even more enthusiastic, because he can walk around the building and see staff working “in real time.” And he other bank executives spend much of their time meeting with staff in the small café’s that are sprinkled around the building.

Future of the Workplace Panel Debate

This closing panel of the day was moderated by yours truly, so my notes are sketchy at best as I was “on stage” throughout the session. Other panelist included Mindy Glover of Rio Tinto (U.S.), Jeremy Neuner of NextSpace (a co-working operation with facilities in Santa Cruz, San Francisco, and Los Angeles), and Chris Henderson, Cisco Systems.

We did our best as a group to pull together all the threads from the day. Workforce mobility is clearly a way of life in 2011; the corporate office is now “competing” in a free market, in contrast the “regulated monopoly” back in the days when no one had a choice about where to work; and “third places” like NextSpace offer low-cost alternatives to expensive, underutilized corporate facilities.

From there we all retired to the Nokia lobby where Unwired generously provided wine and nibbles, and a good time was had by all.

It was a powerful day, with almost too much information and too many ideas to sort through; but there is no doubt that the future of work is already here.

Dr Jim Ware, Research Director, Occupiers Journal & Exec Director, The Future of Work…unlimited

jim.ware@occupiersjournal.com

http://www.linkedin.com/in/thefutureofwork

Marcus Bowen reports from WORKTECH’11 Asia, Singapore, 29th Sept

Overview

This one-day event, now in its 2nd year, is certainly good value for money – a lot less $$$ than some other events, and good speakers. Some attendees also thought that the focus on “workplace” was more ‘for them’. About 300 people attended.

These are my notes, in bullets, which I hope keep it concise but useful….

Gordon Falconer

Gordon possibly has the best job in real estate, as Director, Urban Innovation Practice, Internet Business Solutions Group at Cisco; paid for by Cisco to
go around the world explaining and consulting with governments, mayors et al on Smart Cities. You can read his Cisco bio also. He also previously worked on Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City. Gordon gave a polished presentation, with the key takeaways being:

  • The transition to a proper work-life balance is slow, and technology can help.
  • Globally, cities are now home to more people than the countryside (see ‘urbanization‘ by the UN FPA)
  • Cities are growing at a pace that normal planning can’t cope with – something needs to change.
  • Concepts to deal with this challenge have to come out of their own local factors BUT Smart Cities have 15% less greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Singapore has a planning system that can cope and make Smart City benefits happen.
  • Cultural diversity and knowledge sharing are at the heart of the process – there is a lot of Sino-US exchange… may be more
    Chinese looking at US cities?
  • Smart Work = Independent of time and space
  • Amsterdam 100 – Work hubs – Smart Networks – Cisco as enabler
  • Looked at ‘Space Zuideas ; see sort of personal ‘Regus Goldcard’ Apparently going to be very popular in S Korea.

There is more about \”the way we\’ll live next\” and smart cities in Paul’s blog from the CoreNet Chicago summit earlier this year.

Daniel (Dan) B. Johnson

Dan is Accenture’s Global Director of Real Estate Workplace. In addition to his primary role, Dan recently completed a six-month assignment as the Greater China Facilities & Services lead, responsible for aligning Accenture’s Greater China growth strategy (which is forecasting 40 percent compound growth through 2010) with real estate and workplace strategies for Greater China.

He talked through the 15-year journey of Accenture’s innovation in the
workplace.

  • Started with real estate equating to 1/3rd of the total G&A , now down to about 8%.
  • A business with 62% Gen Y and 35% Gen X!
  • Business makes per annum 40 million minutes of calls; 10 m minutes are now on video.
  • Encouraging BYPC – Bring Your Own Computer (BYOC)…possibly also BYOW (Bring your own workplace)!
  • Priorities are: Collaboration, Client-Centric, Flexible, Innovative
  • Locally defined objectives still dominate the realities of how this works.
  • Employees like the greater ‘visibility and approachability’ of leadership this creates.
  • Claims productivity improves 10%.
  • Lesson learnt: spend more time at the design and development front end to the process.
  • Need to really understand ALL the ways workplace can improve the business.

Tony Wong 

Tony Wong is now Director, Workplace Resources, Asia Pacific and Japan at Cisco Systems (and was formerly Exec Director at Morgan Stanley), based in Hong Kong.

  • Focused on the tools to enhance telepresence and
    how this s becoming ‘commonware’.

Ken Heth

Ken Heth has spent the past three years as SAP’s Group Head Global Facilities Management for Asia pacific and Japan

  • Making people mobile is all about the technology.
  • Take the real estate savings to fund the accommodation improvements.
  • Don’t talk JUST about cost cutting, but think ‘no churn costs’.
  • SAP used the reduced travel budget to improve
    technologies in workplace.
  • Don’t try to ‘push’ out of the office, people with either performance issues, or who have only been with you less than a year.

Jason Heredia : vice president of Marketing for Steelcase Asia Pacific

  • Why have offices at all?  Collaboration, Social/cultural, resources.
  • Access to information is the top priority.
  • What happens when everyone has a video camera on their PC?
  • Looked at the ‘Active Collaboration Spaces’ concept. To have same room but in different places (see Steelcase white paper on ‘how the workplace can improve collaboration‘)
  • Video Bench– a workplace with a window into another place (may have other names also…)

Some panel points around this:

  • Lower the seats to the floor the more informal it becomes
  • Steelcase are looking at 8x8x8 concepts of making work travel around the globe for accelerated outputs.
  • 25% of all workers of the future will be ‘temporary’ or ‘contingent workers’ i.e. freelance?
  • It’s really all about ‘planned collaboration’. And much more about a ‘home for people to collaborate’.

Regus, which set out ambitious expansion plans recently in the FT, gave case studies on the following:

This was based on UNWIRED research VWork: Measuring the benefits of agility at work, and other reports by Unwired

James Calder Director, and leader of Woods Bagot’s global consulting team

  • Activity based Working is their ‘focus point’.
  • Trying to also introduce the concepts of micro-climates.

Anthony Smith, Senior Vice President, Corporate Real Estate and Administration at HSBC

  • Banks have not yet grasped the agile working as senses of entitlement are so ingrained.
  • Message should be “Do enjoy coming to work”
  • Workplace projects start with business transformation projects; its driven by changing the business not a fitting out need.
  • RFPs don’t allow the ideas to come out.
  • It took Sun Microsystems (Smiths former employer) 10 years to build up a core competency to undertake Change Management
    within the biz.

Gerry Taylor, founder of Gerard Taylor Design and the Creative Director of Orangebox

Michelle Pattison Global Agile Working Programme Director at Unilever

  • Delayering is making remaining jobs have much more responsible
  • Workplace is a part of the ‘War for talent’.
  • What is important is a ‘Performance Culture’
    i.e. a shift to actually achieving outputs as opposed to ‘doing work’.
  • Unilever is limited by its old tech.
  • Still get issues with getting people to use space ‘in a certain way’.
  • Have a 70% utilisation of tele-presence rooms!

All-in-all, another good event from the UNWIRED events team!

Marcus Bowen, Director, Occupiers Journal Limited & Founder/Director at CASP-R: Independent Real Estate Advisers (www.casp-r.com), based in Hong Kong and covering SE Asia.

marcus.bowen@casp-r.com ; marcus.bowen@occupiersjournal.com

mobile/cell: +85 2936 9007

Mobile freedom, or enslavement?

Those of us that seek to promote the benefits of agile working or flexible working see the exploitation of mobile technologies as the main enabler of change. Most of us possess a smart phone or laptop and use them regularly, throughout each working day and beyond.

Sales of the iPad, and similar competitive tablet devices, are rocketing. Corporate organisations are considering their mobile IT support strategies. There can be little doubt that we are becoming entranced by the immediate access to information and communication. It all looks great as a means of freeing us from the shackles of working at specific places and at specific times. But, is their a downside?

MIT psychologist, Professor Sherry Turkle (http://www.linkedin.com/pub/sherry-turkle/14/522/982) drew a different side to the potential impact of these technologies. In her book “Alone Together –Why we expect more from Technology and less from each other” – she draws upon the research she has done over the 40 years of the computer age. She speaks of many of her subjects who have withdrawn into using technology as their main means of communicating with “family and friends”. Throughout that period, technologies have replaced what were rich, direct, face to face conversations with a blitz of superficial messages delivered in a way which avoid people from confronting another person directly. Many young people today live their lives around social network sites and would rather text their friends than speak to them on the phone or directly face to face.

Whilst reading her book on my iPad (!) on a commute into London the other day, I glanced up to look at my other travellers and found a good 80% in my carriage were doing something with their BlackBerries/iPhones.   Again, this week we saw in an Ofcom (UK) report, “A Nation Addicted to Smartphones“, a real concern over addiction to the smart phone. Apparently, over a quarter of adults and nearly half of teenagers in the UK own a smart phone, and 81 per cent use it to make calls every day. Not to say that this is bad in itself, but Ofcom estimates that 37 per cent of adults and 60 per cent of teenagers in theUK say that they are ‘highly addicted’. The mind boggles with the  statistic – 22 per cent of adults use their smart phone in the bathroom.

In China, where there are estimated to be over 400m users connected to the internet, the authorities were so concerned over addiction to the internet that in 2005 a residential unit was set up in Beijing – now there are 200 organisations in China offering a variety of therapies from bootcamps to electro-shock treatments. ‘Wired’ covered this last year, in an article “Obsessed with the Internet: a tale from China“.

Internet Addiction Disorder, recognised in the mid-1990s, is being considered by psychologists as being now sufficiently serious to add to the official list of mental disorders, as covered in this academic journal.

Another symptom of our addiction that we all experience is the email overload problem of which we all suffer and complain, but only add to by our own behaviour.

So how do we manage our addictive behaviours, that enslave us in technologies that offer the opportunity for so much freedom?

Do we ban their use when in meetings and during meals? Do we have smart phone free zones such as in cinemas? Do we treat excessive use as a mental disorder? Do we, perhaps, put health warning messages on phones?

Whatever the solution, we need to be mindful of the risks that our own behaviour towards these technologies presents, and we need to moderate our dependency. Consideration of others, and “doing to others what you would wish to be done by” wouldn’t be a bad way of thinking.

Author: Graham Jervis, PhD, is a Director of Advanced Workplace Associates Ltd, London, UK

http://www.linkedin.com/in/grahamjervis