Supporting Today’s New Work Patterns

Walk through any office today and the first question you might ask is: where is everyone? The changing nature of work aided by mobile technology make it easy to work anywhere, anytime. Unfortunately, even though people are mobile, the office is designed, furnished and conditioned as if everyone were present. The confluence of changing work patterns and low space utilization created an urgent need to design spaces that simultaneously integrate new work patterns, cultural change and sustainability goals. Drivers for companies considering a move to a more mobile and flexible environment centered around the emerging work patterns of their work force which include: • Shifting workplace demographics of their employees • Rapid evolution of collaboration and virtual teams with tools like (WEBex) • Under utilization of existing space • Need to reduce operating cost • Desire to improve sustainability For many there is a convergence of SPACE, TECHNOLOGY & POLICY. By implementing a “Group Assigned Environment” instead of the existing “Individual Assigned Environment” companies can to provide their workforce a variety of shared, open and closed workspaces. These spaces provided teams and individuals choices to support their work. Space provided seated privacy, collaborative areas and group managed areas. Technology Enablers: Extension Mobility allows users to personalize workspace. Borderless Networking keeps users connected with moving between different work areas and WEBex, removes connectivity limitations between spaces in other locations, building, cities, counties… WEBex is a Cisco’s product which is intended to support real time video and audio interaction at a global level. It is interesting to note that on an average all Cisco employees work at least (2) days at home and the company recently moved one of their divisions into a more mobile and flexible environment. On the financial side of their move, Cisco saw a 30% reduction in their space requirements; Cabling/IT cost allotted for 50% of the cost and Furniture the other 50%. Their ROI is expected to be less than 3 Years. Sustainable impacts calculated energy efficiency gains at 33%. The design accommodated 2200 employees and provided 8 workspace choices in addition to e-cafes, neighborhoods, open project areas. If you think your organization should consider a more mobile and flexible work environment here are some things to think about……… • Know your demographic; • Do preliminary research to understand the likelihood of usage verses vacancies; • Engage future occupants in the discussion; • Consider pilots or small group projects to test the ideas in advance; • Stress the importance of providing other types of rewards (other than office size/location); • Consider new technology tools to support the rapid evolution of collaboration and virtual teams; • Know the value of underutilized existing space; • Benchmark and measure operating cost; • Consider the value of improved sustainability; • Most importantly be flexible and have an exit strategy; and/or call us!! Posted by Jill Mendoza

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