Organizations today face many challenges when it comes to providing an optimum work environment. How can you turn your office space into a next-generation workplace? The answer is collaboration technology. Collaboration technology enables you to create workspaces that meet the changing needs and preferences of your employees. You can connect the unconnected, improve employee engagement, and address the realities of an increasingly virtual work environment. In my experience, keeping pace with rapidly changing employee preferences and aligning technology requires organizations to update network infrastructure design. They need to expand employee capability and flexibility while strengthening overall network security. As more devices come online through the Internet of Everything (IoE), the workplace must evolve. And evolve in a way that meets employee needs and encourages collaboration, especially across global teams. Business Challenges Our organizations face many challenges when it comes to providing optimal work environments, including: Enhancing employee collaboration within geographically dispersed teams Encouraging more efficient work Minimizing the cost and disruption of deploying new IT hardware and applications Retaining the best employees As I covered in a previous post, I think it’s important for corporate real estate leaders to work closely with IT. We need to create new work environments that enable people to work in the best way possible – for themselves and their organizations. We need to provide ubiquitous wireless connectivity, pervasive video endpoints, and flexible work policies. By implementing Cisco-enabled Smart+Connected Spaces, organizations can improve employee productivity and enable a collaborative work environment while personalizing employee workspaces and safeguarding data and information. Connecting Mobile Employees A connected mobile experience gives employees access to your network and resources while offering personalization and location-based services. Recently, I gave a presentation about an application called Cisco Maps and how Cisco is powering the connected mobile experience and providing value for employees and business organizations. These mobile experience capabilities support excellence in employee collaboration: Navigation: Supports indoor navigation enabled by real-time WiFi Proximity: Provides users with a dynamic view of floor plans and available conference rooms/workspaces Personalization: Defines user favorites, preferences, and space assignment Global View: Makes employee information, time zones, and map views accessible Context Aware: Provides room controls, initiates WebEx and video calls, and supports ISE integration Incident Reporting: Supports remedy integration Benefits of the New Work Environment In this new environment, employees could choose any workspace for as long as they needed it, whether less than an hour or all day. Here’s how: Encouraging Collaboration: Technologies like Cisco WebEx and desktop video endpoints encourage collaboration over distance. When it’s as easy to meet and share content over distance as it is in the same room, the barriers between people become smaller. Instant messaging brings the asynchronous back and forth of e-mail to real-time exchanges and faster decision making. Reducing Real Estate Costs: By designing spaces without assigned seating, two-thirds of which is vacant at any given time, organizations can comfortably assign more people to a building, reducing real estate costs by up to 37 percent. Reducing Infrastructure Costs: Wireless environments require less cabling (one of the most expensive infrastructure components) and fewer wall jacks, which cost $200 each. In addition, reducing the number of switch ports frees space for other switch resources, such as blades for security, content serving, or additional infrastructure applications. Accommodating Different Work Styles: You can design work spaces with a variety of seating options instead standard desks for each employee. This allows employees to select an appropriate environment to accomplish the task at hand, whether meeting in a group, participating in a conference call, or working independently. The future workplace will create new hubs for collaboration and innovation. By providing a wide variety of spaces for people to use as they wish, you create environments where people are more comfortable, allowing them to be more creative, productive, and innovative – which benefits everyone.
... View more
I’m a huge advocate for flexible work practices including the ability to work from wherever and whenever you want, and think those who attempt to run businesses the ‘old fashioned’ way will fall behind if they fail to recognize the effects of mobility in both their workforce and their bottom lines. The impact of mobility became clear to us when we discovered that space utilization of our own 22.5Mft2 global property was just at 50 percent. And it’s not just happening at Cisco. According to a CoreNet study, nearly 60 percent of a company’s desks are vacant at any given time and the growing mobility trend is a major reason why. Taking all of this into consideration, I think the question that corporate real estate and facilities leaders need to focus on is, “why aren’t we working with IT leaders to build the workplace of the future?” Mobility and the Changing Landscape Most employees can now work from anywhere on any device and have access to most content. We’re seeing this “wherever you are is your office” trend actually increases productivity and I would even argue that employees who don’t commute actually work more hours on company business. With mobility and bring your own device (BYOD) taking such a strong hold within the workplace, data collection has been accelerating at an exponential rate – so much so that by 2018, global mobile data traffic will increase nearly 11-fold, reaching 15.9 exabytes per month. Simplification of access to “Big Data” is where IT can bring the most value and productivity to the work force, and will play a vital role in shaping what the workplace of the future looks like. With fewer people working in physical offices, companies must find a way to better utilize unused space. As my colleague Carl Wiese pointed out last month, partnering with IT can make a huge difference in cost savings, as workplace-related costs are usually among a company’s top three expense items. IT executives can help influence lower cost structures by: Simplifying employee connectivity through corporate social collaboration tools Allowing employees to bring their own devices to work (BYOD) Taking advantage of cloud data center capabilities A shared-workspace is one approach where IT can help companies reduce the space needed per employee by more than 30 percent, while simultaneously reducing energy by 44 percent, as Carl also points out in his blog. Businesses can also benefit from corporate real estate and HR executives engaging their IT peers in a conversation about re-envisioning existing work places. These “new” workplace environments will rely on: A solution set of different space types to meet the needs of different work styles A substantial and ever-evolving technology integration set that combines enterprise platforms A variety of user access devices as well as voice, video and social media collaboration platforms With the help of IT, companies can improve the workforce by providing the tools and technologies necessary as they become more mobile. At the same time, IT executives must also maintain a strong vision of what emerging technologies can mean to a business’ future. Corporate real estate executives should look to IT leaders to provide thought leadership around new technologies and collaboration tools that may positively impact the work environment. The future workplace will become a beehive of collaboration and face-to-face communication, supported by a new definition of what the workspace looks like. Corporate real estate, human resources and IT can build a stronger workforce through strong partnerships and flexible work policies that inspire employees to be their most productive selves. So, how will your organization prepare the workplace of the future? For more information on how your business can get ready for the future workplace, visit Cisco’s collaboration page.
... View more