18 minutes | Mar 16, 2021
Creating Safe, Productive and Flexible Spaces
How Organizations manage spaces in the new normal is more important than ever. This podcast explores how organizations are finding the balance between returning employees safely and managing spaces so that employees are productive and portfolios are optimized.
38 minutes | Sep 16, 2020
How Losing Codes of Conduct Affects Remote Workers
Think back to the small rewards that came from in-office work. Being able to comfortably settle into the more traditional, but often unofficial codes of office conduct. Codes that included regular start and end times, boundaries, body language, understanding how people were behaving that day. Then fast-forward again to March. Covid-19 appeared, and shutdowns happened virtually overnight. People who had no experience working remotely were thrust into makeshift offices or perched beside dining-room tables. MarketWatch reported that “…that nearly 70% of workers claimed that this is the most stressful time of their entire professional careers, even when compared to major events like the September 11 terror attacks, the 2008 Great Recession and others.” We all attempted to adapt and adjust to this new way of working, but eventually, reports of Zoom-meeting fatigue, complaints of burnout, workloads doubling, or increased anxiety and loosening of business etiquette norms came rolling in – no matter your businesses size or vertical. Why? It turns out, those aforementioned workplace “codes of conduct” are extremely important, as important as the codes of conduct one follows at a restaurant, on the subway, or at a social event. We spoke to Tony Vargas, Global Head of Workplace at customer experience management platform Sprinklr, about the Covid-19 phenomenon of missing social/business cues, and the impact it’s had on our workplace satisfaction. As he says, “The way our brains work is that we compress these combinations of sounds, signals, symbols or any additional information, and it creates codes to make it easier for itself to work and operate in any particular situation. That helps us make an instant analysis of that situation and decide what a safe, appropriate, and most successful manner to act and perform. Cultures, organizations, and groups have their own sets of codes of language, etiquette behaviors. And then came the pandemic and boom, everything that we knew in terms of how we worked in offices together completely changed for everybody.” He shares a particularly great analogy: think of it this way – you’re driving – and suddenly all the road signs and traffic lights vanish! Now try and get from point A to point B, calmly, quickly and safely. That's what happened to the way that we work - everything is harder, everything takes more time. And sometimes “accidents” happen. Cue increased stress, anxiety, and workload, as well as a breakdown in trust. This conversation is fascinating and will make you think about just how abruptly our work-worlds were turned upside down, and the impact that had on all of us. Have a listen.
27 minutes | Aug 26, 2020
How Uber’s New Campus Production Met Covid-19 Head On
As challenging as everything has been over the last five months with Covid-19, it has raised some really pertinent questions around the workplace, and really raised the bar on how committed an organization is to not only safety, but to maintaining culture. There has been a change for workplace teams, real estate teams, and management teams across all enterprises, to prepare employees, and plan for safety and peace of mind for employees when they do return to work. It’s forced us to ask hard – and unique – questions: How deeply is frictionless and voice-activated technology correlated to health and wellbeing? What specifically does culture mean to an organization when teams are not physically together as often – or anymore? How can we motivate our teams - whether it's IT, HR, workplace, real estate teams, even folks in the C-Suite - to get behind this new work world and figure out what’s needed moving forward to ensure people are happy, and have a choice in where and how they work? We spoke to Tracie Kelly, head of corporate real estate for the Bay Area Uber headquarters. Her focus on operations, facilities management, project management and employee experience, makes her uniquely qualified to expand on how Uber is handling all of the above. At the helm of Uber’s much-anticipated Mission Bay project, she faced a double whammy when Covid-19 hit - sudden shutdowns and shelter-in-place orders put the brakes on planning and production – but also allowed for return to work efforts and the new campus planning efforts to become one train on the same track. As Tracie talks about in this episode, much as it’s a strange time to open a new campus, “...in a lot of ways it's good, because you start fresh, you start with a clean, fresh building that nobody's ever worked in!”
23 minutes | Jul 8, 2020
The Delicate Dance of Workplace Re-Entry
Covid-19 has reshaped how we look at corporate real estate and workspace layout and facilities overall, and depending on where your company is located, the slow move to “back to work” is already in process or is set to start soon. And while workplace facilities, real estate or HR teams are feeling the pressure, it's now even down to employees themselves to be proactive about personal responsibility, and make sure they keep their colleagues’ safety in mind. While safety and social distancing guidelines are paramount, here at Future Offices, we’ve talked to a lot of leaders who are trying to bring back as many employees as possible. Some remote workers find themselves eager to return to the office or dipping in productivity with their new remote working strategies. With that in mind, many companies are trying to recreate the culture that they once had – while also protecting the health and wellbeing of staff, clients, and other visitors. It’s a delicate dance, indeed. How high do you push your on-site workforce margins? How can you ensure that employees agree to the workplace etiquette guidelines you’ve worked out? Who should handle the bulk of the planning – facilities management? The C-Suite? Human Resources? Or all of the above? And how do large enterprises juggle the myriad local, state, even country-wide and international safety rules and regulations put in place – many of which will be very different from each other. We spoke to Reno Decker, Hudson Yards Global Real Estate and Facilities, SAP America, New York City, about all of the above and more. This episode is full of actionable information and is sure to get you thinking about the many options on the table, when planning your re-entry strategies. Visit www.FutureOfficesSummer.com to register for our free upcoming online event on August 4 - 5 where everything corporate real estate and workplace-related will be broken down by experts from Dropbox, Twitter, Cisco, Aribnb, Atlassian, Instacart and more!
26 minutes | Jun 24, 2020
Keeping the Workplace Safe without Killing Culture
Traditionally, a business’s corporate culture served as a strategic business tool, a recruitment tool, and overall, as an identity for one's organization. If you were like many others, your employees were happy and engagement was high. And then came Covid-19. Your workplace will be changed due to the pandemic, and, after months of remote work and sheltering in place, your people will have changed also. Here at Future Offices we’re hearing from workplace executives from all company sectors talk about how their teams and employees are preparing for this next phase of re-entry. A lot of changes will need to be made to space, design, space occupancy, even the data behind that, and of course the number of people who can return full time. But does that mean you must forfeit your corporate culture by installing your workforce in “sterile, hospital like” (as we’ve heard one high profile executive call it) office spaces? Can you still have the same work culture post pandemic? How important is it for team morale to maintain a sense of normalcy at the office? And where should your focus lie as you plan for your workforce to renter places where many will feel decidedly uncomfortable? How do you make changes to how your teams occupy your space, for health and safety reasons – without killing the innovation and creativity that occurs when people collaborate or meet around the watercooler? We spoke to Larry Charlip, the Vice President of Facilities Management and Corporate Real Estate at Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc, one of the top voices in this field, for his thoughts on reopening workspaces while ensuring corporate culture doesn’t get killed in the process.
34 minutes | May 28, 2020
Using Real-Time Data to Optimize Your Workspace
In speaking with Alma Mancha, Property Operations and Senior Manager at Banner Health, and Akhil Viz, Workplace Sales Consultant at FM:Systems, we mapped out a case study that explored how monitoring and tracking every part of their building's life site cycle - including planning, design, maintenance and operations - allowed Banner Health, a large Arizona-based non-profit health organization, to optimize and maximize how they used their office space. Data is playing a larger and larger role in our lives in general, and in our work-lives in particular. It allows for more informed, less “emotions driven” decisions. And today, post-lockdown, as we bring employees back to work and strive to keep them safe, knowing your workspace utilization through monitoring and analyzing the resultant data is going to be more important than ever. It’s no surprise that more and more enterprises are embracing this methodology and technology. Join FM:Systems at Future Offices Summer 2020 Online on August 4 - 5 to further discuss data and technology as it relates to the workplace along side a slew of expert CRE presenters tackling your new workplace challenges. Register for free at www.FutureOfficesSummer.com
30 minutes | May 21, 2020
What’s Fueling Change in Workplace Design
No one can talk about the future of offices and workplaces without addressing the fact that the global pandemic of 2020 – Covid-19 - has flipped our world as we knew it upside down. Companies are struggling to determine how they will eventually reopen and rebuild, as well as readjust their thinking about work, and where and how it’s performed. We are beginning to see a slow loosening of regulations and attempts to open back up again - safely and effectively - which is good news. How will this new virus – and this new way of thinking about space optimization and safety – change how we design and function in offices? How will technology and collaboration come together to create a whole new way of thinking about workspace design in general? We went to one of the top voices in this field for answers. Bob Fox possesses more than 30 years of experience, is an active member of the design community, and speaks regularly at industry events focused on the future of the workplace. Covid-19 and the changes put in place because of it will drive future office design and layout. While it’s hard to predict exactly where we will be in one, five, or even ten years from now, these changes will definitely have left an interesting mark on the way that we think about the workplace. In response to Covid-19, Future Offices Summer 2020 will be held as an Online Event on August 4 - 5. The agenda is packed with experts and sessions you’ll love focusing on remote working, changes in space optimization, office sanitation/cleanliness, employee safety and health and more. Click here for more details.
19 minutes | Jan 14, 2020
Twitter on Creating Functional Spaces with Unique Culture
In this spectacular episode, our host Kevin Steinberger, has an informative conversation with Sameer Pangrekar, Director of Global Design & Construction and Strategic Projects, Real Estate and Workplace, at Twitter! Listen as they discuss the major focus Twitter has placed on their culture in their offices. How has Twitter effectively taken an understanding of both culture and real estate to better the functionality of their spaces? Is it easier to measure culture nowadays given the amount of industry services/solutions? What are Sameer's "must-haves" for his ultimate workspace of the future? Dive in now! Finally, it's not too late to book your pass to #FutureOffices Winter 2020 at Convene's brand new spaces at 225 Liberty Street, New York, NY and Convene at 530 5th Avenue, New York, NY from January 22 - 24 for even more discussions on the workplace as it relates to culture, sustainability, HR, leasing, coworking and more! Follow us on Twitter @OfficesOutlook for more real estate and workplace gems! #LoveWhereYouWork Full Transcript: INTRO: The Future Offices podcast, a series that brings you an all encompassing approach to the future of work. My name is Kevin Steinberger and as your host I will be speaking to the real estate leaders and workplace visionaries that are changing the way we think about where and how we work. KEVIN: Welcome back to another episode of the Future Offices podcast. You can find past episodes on our website at futureofficeswinter.com/podcast or you can search the future offices podcast on Apple podcasts, Spotify, or whatever your preferred platform i s for podcasts. We are everywhere. Subscribe, rate us, give us reviews, let us know. Let me know what you think of it. I've received an influx of LinkedIn messages concerning the podcast. Please feel free to reach out to myself via LinkedIn, but very excited for this episode because we had an all star guest here and it is my pleasure to introduce Sameer Pangrekar, the director of global design and construction and strategic projects with the REW, the real estate and workplace team at Twitter. Twitter is what's happening in the world and what people are talking about right now. As most of our listeners do know, if it's happening in sports news, TV, entertainment, it's happening on Twitter. KEVIN: The platform's purpose is to serve the public conversation and Twitter works to make sure their company reflects their services. And this means ensuring that their team makes Twitter as diverse as the people who use it. And I love that right there, but enough of me talking, Sameer, very excited to talk to catch up. I know it's been a while, it's been a couple of years, but welcome to the Future Offices podcast. SAMEER: Thanks for having me, Kevin. Super excited to be here. I'm going to talk a little bit about what Twitter's doing, both for our office space and how it impacts our culture and just, I personally actually have really gotten to a podcast lately. They're a really great way to, you know, if you're at the gym or commute to work or whatnot, throw one on and try to learn as much as you can throughout the day. So thanks for having me. KEVIN: Absolutely. And you kind of nailed it there. You man, you can take my job at this point. No, you're right. They're really short podcasts. They're micro podcasts. We've been pushing out only between 15 and 20 minutes. So again, just like you said, it's something you can catch at the gym, on your commute to work, whether you walk, drive, whatever it might be, maybe on your lunch break. It's definitely something you can just pop in and grab some really insightful and great information from some of the rock stars in that real estate and workplace space from some of the biggest tech brands, you know, and Twitter is one of them, some of the biggest brands in the world. So again, thanks for jumping on, but I would say the biggest reason I'm stoked about having you on this podcast and what we have learned from even past speaking engagements with yourself and your team at our conferences and even actually some of our past speakers on our podcasts is that culture has been a major, major focus when it comes to workplace strategies, real estate strategies, overall corporate real estate strategies and Twitter as I've seen firsthand within multiple offices of yours and what I've seen from even some of your thought leadership directly and some of the folks on your team, you guys are doing some really, really awesome things in your offices, especially aligning those types of strategies with the culture piece of the puzzle. KEVIN: Before we dive into that, please, first things first, tell our listeners maybe a little bit about yourself specifically in your role, do you have a very unique title and awesome title and sort of how you fit into the real estate and workplace part of the Twitter team? SAMEER: So my main focus is to head up all of our office projects around the world. So that's building out new space, modifying existing space and really providing workspaces that allow our employees and we call them tweaks here at Twitter to do their very best work possible. And I also focus on strategic projects that help our team real estate and workplace as a team and partner with other functions across Twitter or to help make our team more visible across the landscape of the tech environment and making sure that we do everything we can to support the business. As you mentioned, our our, our vision is to serve the public conversation and we want that to reflect in our company and in its diversity. Just like our service is super diverse, we try to make sure our employee base is like that. And I think when we talk about the culture piece, that's a big part of what drives our culture. And one of the things that I'm really focused on is how can we help our employee base continue to redefine how and where we work at Twitter and we partner both within our real estate and workplace team and with other key stakeholders across the business to further that goal. And company wide initiative that we're focused on this year. KEVIN: Amazing. And just right off of that. Another thing I wanted to to ask is, and this has been an ongoing trend within our podcast series from our first episode to even our last episode with with Don Watson from Merck and we dove into this with with Ruben Gots and Michelle Caldwell from Avanade as well in some earlier episodes. What other stakeholders does your team, the real estate and workplace team at Twitter work with at the company and has that changed over the years? Because we're starting to see folks, you know now working hand in hand with their HR team and now working hand in hand with their finance and their IT guys. Whereas in the past they may not have worked so often with these teams. Are there any other teams at the company that you have seen a growing relationship with? SAMEER: What I'd say first and foremost is that I think what we've done a really good job of is even within our real estate and workplace team working as one team, so we have five different functions within our real estate and workplace umbrella. We have planning and leasing, design and construction, workplace operations, food and beverage and internal events, and I think what we first did a few years ago when Tracy Hawkins took over the team and it was work that had started, but we continued to build on which really focused to ensure that within our own group, we're first working as one team and we don't have silos because I think it's important that all five of those functions work seamlessly together to deliver the workplace experience. And then we've since iterated on that and continue to evolve that into ensuring that we have strategic partnerships across the business. SAMEER: And it really is every business unit, it's not any one specific business unit because I think when we design and build office space, we have every type of function that sets in within that space. And so we need to understand what those different business units need. And I think why we've been so successful is it's not any one group that's responsible for that, but we tap into all the relationships across our global real estate team that they built. So if that's the office coordinator in Dublin or if it's the person that runs events in New York or San Francisco or Tokyo, you know, we leverage everything we can to understand how our employees use the space in order to help guide us, how we can continue to improve and what we design and build. And we also leverage those relationships to understand what the business units in those respective markets need to be successful in what they do. SAMEER: And also to understand the culture of that market. And I think one things that you know, you've seen when you visited a few of our Twitter offices is none of them are the same. And we really strive to make sure that they one feel like Twitter, but to represent the local culture. And one of the ways we've been able to do that is leveraging all of these relationships. And that takes time. There's not, you know, a one-stop thing you can do. You have to invest the time, you have to build the relationships and you have to continue to work on them as people, you know, maybe join Twitter, and leave Twitter, you know, you're constantly meeting new people and building those relationships. KEVIN: Absolutely and it was very noticeable and actually very refreshing being able to see the Twitter office in New York and then even being able to see the Twitter office in San Francisco and seeing the difference and the different style of the workplace strategy and design purely as it relates to the culture of those offices, which was something a lot of people who attend our conferences. A lot of people who I talk to have a very hard time understanding and look for a little bit more information because going back to that culture piece, it's something that has recently become a very impor
25 minutes | Dec 19, 2019
Why Real Estate and HR are Combining Forces to Create the Leading Workplaces of Tomorrow
Our host Kevin Steinberger welcomes Don Watson, Vice President Global Workplace and Enterprise Services at Merck, to discuss how his company is innovating the way it approaches new workspaces. Two traditionally, very separate departments, real estate and HR, are now working strategically in tandem. In fact, in some cases it’s HR leading the charge. There’s been some serious break down of silos at Merck all to ensure better talent acquisition and retention. Take 20 minutes and listen to this lively and information chat. For more information on the Future Offices Winter 2020 conference, visit www.FutureOfficesWinter.com.
25 minutes | Dec 13, 2019
Space Matters: Building a Sense of Community & Belonging
This week we talk to Dr. Michelle Samura, Associate Professor of Education and Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education at Chapman University about her groundbreaking research on building belonging. Listen and see how Michelle’s latest research, The Architecture of Belonging, is helping companies create better workplaces for our very diverse workforce. This podcast series engages industry-famous experts to join host Kevin Steinberger (@kevinjsteinberger) to talk about the stuff that’s changing the face of the way we work. #RealEstate, #Workplace, #Facilities, #HR, and #IT -- all of these traditionally siloed departments are combining forces to build a future office like you’ve never seen but need to hear about. Here’s an excerpt from the transcript: Kevin: That's fantastic and thank you. It is very refreshing now to see the combination of different tactics and different research that is actually shaping and molding the trends for offices. And I'm seeing it now where we're starting to see even speakers from even the retail and the hospitality sector that are putting a massive influence and working with their corporate real estate teams, outfits and renovations and how that sort of all comes down to creating better human experience within these spaces. I've mentioned this before, Michelle, you do bring something very special to this conversation and you are, I would say one of our, in my eyes, one of our out of the box titled speakers at the show. And with saying that as a dean and an academic who is sought after for speaking engagements, obviously elsewhere obviously from myself for this conference, how does your specific role and your title mesh with the corporate real estate workplace and HR sector? Michelle: Well, I'm glad you asked that because I could imagine as people are scrolling through speaker bios and seeing some incredible speakers and workshop leaders who are industry giants, VPs, and HR and workplace strategy of facilities and corporate real estate. And then all of a sudden they get to an associate professor and associate dean of education and I'm sure people are wondering what I'm doing in this space. And so I'm glad I have an opportunity to address that. So I'm drawn to the spaces in between, so in between disciplines, in between institutions, in between groups, and I really enjoy making unconventional connections. In fact, recently I've been involved in some exciting work to bring together leaders from the education community and business community here in Orange County in order to develop and retain local talent across multiple sectors in order to continue to ensure a thriving economy in our region. But for my research, my interest in making these unconventional connections has meant drawing upon and combining insights and approaches from typically disparate fields such as education, geography, visual sociology. I use photography and image analysis as a method, urban planning, architecture and design in order to understand the development of belonging and community. My in-betweenness also has meant that my research insights can inform a number of contexts, certainly the traditional educational settings such as classrooms and campuses, but also as you stated workplace settings including the corporate real estate and HR world. And I know I bring a different perspective to the corporate world with insights that not only address the interplay between the physical environment and social interactions, but also give serious consideration to diversity. And so, while there's certainly a compelling body of research that clearly indicates the benefits of diversity and a range of settings including educational settings in workplace settings to name a few, organizations of all sorts still struggle how to develop inclusive environments. By using this spatial approach, my research offers both a way to understand and to address issues of diversity, belonging and inclusion. And to add one more thing about bridging work I'm doing between higher ed and workplace settings, I'm conducting another related study that's focused on the major disconnects between life stages and the spaces that people inhabit during those stages. So think about the transitions between even kindergarten to first grade, from kindergarten open play more opportunities for students to just explore to first grade where oftentimes you walk into classrooms where things are very set, in some cases, rows of desks that students are now having to sit in and then transitions from elementary to middle school or high school that those shifts, high school to college, college to workplace, even workplace to retirement. And if we zoom in on that high school to workplace or even college to workplace transition, there's still so much work to be done to inform both the college and workplace settings on expectations of students as they become employees and the support and training individuals would need during that transition. Kevin: Wow, thank you. And it's so refreshing to be able to bridge higher ed in this space. And we're starting to see even some new job titles and very different job titles coming into all of the workplace events, not even just Future Offices. And there's so many out there now and it's great to see sort of the innovation amongst sectors now, the different titles, the different titles that the companies working together now seeing a very large spike in the HR teams that are now working with facilities teams and these workplace visionaries at some of these major companies. Question for you, what are you seeing as the main obstacles to feeling a sense of belonging? And I'm very interested in this question because I think this is something everyone can relate to, everyone who is in the workforce, who is in the even the commercial sector. So again, what are you seeing as the main obstacles to feeling a sense of belonging? Michelle: So I actually think that one of the main obstacles is how people view the concept of belonging. There are some who suggest that belonging is about fitting in, so how individuals fit or don't fit. Others think of belonging as a feeling or a state of being. And in fact the way that a number of researchers capture data on belonging contributes to the view of belonging as a state of being. So if you ask a survey question, like on a scale of one to five, how much do you belong? It's a useful data point, but it's a static data point at a particular moment in time about a certain context. Michelle: I instead view belonging as a process more specifically an interactional process. And this means then that belonging requires effort. It requires work, maintenance on both the part of the individual as well as the group or organization. And I also think there are a lot of misconceptions about who belongs with whom or what. For example, person A looks like person B, therefore person A and B likely will have things in common or want to be around each other. And this isn't to say that that couldn't be the case. What I'm saying is that we need to check our assumptions about to whom or what we think people want to belong. Kevin: Amazing. And as soon as you said that, I started thinking about maybe what my even personal definition of belonging would be especially in the workplace. And in a very facetious way for me it might just be another redhead coming into the company and us just having that connection as redheads on the office floor. That would do it for me. Yeah. But in all seriousness, let's talk disconnects that you're seeing, especially with how space might hinder belonging. Michelle: Right. So this is an area that I'm investigating right now. And to kind of give an example on a certain aspect of this, existing research indicates that familiarity may have an effect on belonging. And I'll use an example from some of my research. So this will focus on college students to explain this further, but I think there are some concepts and insights that are applicable across different settings. So as part of the data I collect in student housing and residence halls, I asked students to draw maps of their own residence hall, and then we collectively analyze them. And there've been numerous times when students would draw a picture of double loaded corridors, long hallways with rooms on both sides and then drawing question marks at both ends of the hallway or whatever sides of the hallway. And more often than not, these are the students who then go on to indicate that they experienced less belonging than say the students who are able to write in the names of all their roommates or floor mates. And now the design of double loaded quarters actually is intended to facilitate interactions, which would then lead to greater familiarity. But we can't assume that the space alone we'll do what it was designed to do. In fact, it could sometimes do quite the opposite, such as creating greater isolation as in the case of some of the students in my study. So we need to consider how space can be activated. What programs, policies, even spatial cues that I mentioned earlier could be integrated to align with the spatial design and perhaps lead to fuller realization in the design intention? And this is when viewing belonging as an interactional process as something that requires effort and deliberate intentionality from both the individual and the institution comes into play. At Future Offices Winter 2020, January 22 - 24 at Convene 225 Liberty Street, Dr. Samura will have her own session expanding on what we talked about in this podcast. Join her session: Building Belonging: Designing Inclusive Workplace Experiences How can a spatial approach to understanding workplace experiences strengthen your company’s climate? How might your workplace more effectively facilitate belonging? And how can diverse voices and perspectives of key stakeholders inform these efforts? The purpose of the “Building Belonging” workshop is to engage participants
28 minutes | Dec 5, 2019
Every Workplace Has Its Own Fingerprint
Episode 2 of The #FutureOffices Podcast is ready for your listening pleasure. The topic? How every office has its own fingerprint. Our guest, Workplace Technology Strategist at Cisco, Mark Miller, works with global customers to find the #workplacestrategies that work best for them and their workforces. He and his team of Cisco engineers develop the winning technology innovations that suit customers needs. In this episode (which is a bit longer than the 20 minutes we promised when we started this podcast, but only because the discussion was too good), Mark and Kevin discuss: The 4 main trends when it comes to workplace and corporate real estate technology. A.I. and relationship intelligence The role of workplace analytics in shaping everything to do with offices For more information on the Future Offices Winter 2020 conference, visit www.FutureOfficesWinter.com. Here’s an excerpt from the transcript: Kevin: I do have to say I love a good sound bite. I love a good short, sweet quote that resonates with the research I'm doing, the conference, the speakers and the content that we see at these iterations. Last time we spoke you said every workplace has its own fingerprint and needs to be treated like it does. That was awesome and I think I had mentioned, I'm going to steal that at some point and put that into one of our sessions, or think-tank discussions, or something unless you trademark it after this podcast episode, but can you explain what this means in relation to the changing workspace? Mark: Yes, Kevin, if you think back just 10 years ago, the workplace was dominated by a monolithic, uninspiring and I’d say much maligned cubicle, and the cubicle has been around for years. It was actually conceived back in the mid-60s by a gentleman named Robert Propst, from Herman Miller, as a way to address what he saw at the time was a shift to a more information centric work that was happening in the 60s, and for a generation, the cubicle was the foundation of every workplace. It was truly a one-size-fits-all model. Something that facilities teams could quickly roll out very efficiently with very limited technology enablement. Then about 10 years ago, the winds began to shift. Organizations started to realize that changing nature of work, what I referenced before around that process oriented work evaporating, and realizing that cubicle bays, that traditional workplace environment, was not designed for the type of work that was really going on, and this led to a wave of workplace design called activity based working, or ABW, where organizations focused on the various activities that were going on within the workplace and they created spaces for people to collaborate, concentrate, learn, and largely socialize. Four big trends. And then balanced not only that workplace design, but also technology and policy to allow a lot more movement within the workplace, allow people to gravitate to the places they needed that were best suited for the type of work they were going on. And this is where this concept around every workplace has its own fingerprint came to be. Now the workplace was designed around the specific activities of your organization, of the functional group that was in that space, or even as discreet as the team that was occupying a neighborhood. This next wave of workplace transformation that's happening, it's ABW or activity based working, tends to be working its way out. A lot of people have gone through that wave already. What this next phase, what we're calling the cognitive workplace, we're really focused on the employee experiences and using data and cognitive tools, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, to increase productivity, to create a more personalized experience, and reduce friction in the workplace and that's going to drive even a stronger sense around very customized work environment, hence the analogies to a human fingerprint. Kevin: It's a phenomenal quote and it resonates a lot even with all of these podcast episodes, a lot of our upcoming content around that human experience touch point, and it's become very important and where I've mentioned in the past a lot of our content was around more so the physical design specifically only of the workplace has now transformed into understanding your culture and understanding the employees within your workspace first, before necessarily implementing anything, especially on the digital side, especially when it comes to digital transformation. So, phenomenal quote, kudos again. Now, you are a very demanded speaker when it comes to what we're talking about. You attend a lot of conferences, you hear a lot of these buzzwords and industry terms when you speak. I want to know if you have any pet peeves when it comes to the topic of the future of work, or digital workplace transformation, or technology in the workplace? Is there anything that maybe has become a trend or buzzword in this space that would be considered a pet peeve or not necessarily accurate at this point? Mark: I don't know if there's a pet peeve. I think this is a very broad topic and I sat one day at home looking at my home office and I saw on the bottom shelf, a bunch of books on business process re-engineering, and it was when I came out of college that was the big rave. Everybody was into business process re-engineering and then the next shelf was filled with a bunch of books on total quality management. What I realized was that was yet another wave. And then for years I used to do a lot of work designing customer relationship management strategies, some contact center technology in real life. That was a wave, and then globalization hit. I think this is just the next big wave of corporate innovation around the workplace itself and I think it's going to happen for a very long time. It's going to be a lot of solution providers are going to enter this space and everybody's going to try to hook onto it. You leave it up to the clients to help at least understand where you fit and know that we're not going to do this individually. There's no one company that's going to have the magic pill to redesign, or reinvent work, or create the future workplace environment. It's going to take clients and customers to sit down and understand which parts are relevant and how to stitch all those together, and I think as the solution providers in that space, it's our job to be able to work well with others in the ecosystem and be very clear about the areas that we play and the strengths that we have, and the areas that we can help them. Kevin: No, exactly. I'm thinking back to what you just said about finding the books on business process re-engineering. So, nowadays it's pretty much business process re-engineering on steroids, especially when it comes down to obviously the analysis of not only the workflows now, or design, it's of the people as well. Mark: So I had this conversation with a client a couple of months back and they said, "Look, Mark, is this really going to take off? Is this really going to be a sustainable trend?" And I said to them, "Hey, remember back 10 or 15 years? All the talk was around E-business." E-business, it was all the talk about Amazon and everything was going on in that space with eBay and everybody else. I said, "You know what we call E-business now? Business." It's a mature trend, and the workplace is going to be a lot like that too. We're going to look back at the time of cubicle-based work, and just think that's when the dinosaurs roamed the earth. Everybody's going to move in this direction where technology and space design and policy are seamlessly integrated together, and we're going to really quickly forget about the worlds that we came from. Kevin: No, exactly. People are already telling me, "Hey, that concept of the open office, man, that's ancient at this point," and I'm thinking this is some of the hottest news about the workplace and office design only a year and a half ago, so things are moving so quickly. Mark: I think there’s an opportunity here, too. As I said in my intro, everything revolves around an unintended consequence. When people went and built these open office environments, they thought they were solving for the right problem. The great thing about a workplace design effort is, if you get it right, you know right away and if you get it wrong, you know right away. So people are not bashful about telling you how they feel about their new work environments, but largely when we moved from traditional to that activity based model, it was really good for the balance sheet. Companies were allowed to consolidate and optimize a lot of their real estate portfolio. In fact, at Cisco, we optimized almost 25 percent of our real estate portfolio, moving to this new way of working. People just needed less space and you've got better efficiencies, but what was necessarily good for the balance sheet, wasn't always good for the employee. As people started moving within the workplace, there was a lot of friction that happened. There was a loss of sense of community. I think this next wave around the cognitive workplace is going to fix a lot of that. When you start dealing with the individual experiences, this idea of journey mapping an employee's movement around the workplace, you're really going to understand how you can create much better workplace experiences. About Mark Miller: Mark's passion and expertise centers around understanding the relationships between workspace design, workplace policies, technology and culture, and helping companies balance these elements in the creation of their next generation workplaces. His focus is not just on the physical workplace, but rather the intersection of the physical and digital work environments. He regularly engages with corporate executives, assisting them in the development and implementation of workplace strategies that drive new levels of innovation, productivity and employee engagement. Increasingly,
22 minutes | Nov 27, 2019
An Emotionally Intelligent Digital Transformation of the Office
The premier episode of “The Future Offices Podcast” just dropped today. Be the first to listen! As we gear up for our Future Offices Summit in NYC in Jan 2020, we thought we’d invite some of our industry-famous speakers to join host Kevin Steinberger to talk about the stuff that’s changing the face of the way we work. Real Estate, Workplace, Facilities, HR, and IT -- all of these traditionally siloed departments are combining forces to map out a future office like you’ve never seen before. To kick things off in episode #1, Michelle Caldwell and Ruven Gotz from Avande share insights on why the digital transformation of the office needs to start from an emotionally intelligent perspective. For more information on the Future Offices Winter 2020 conference, visit www.FutureOfficesWinter.com Here’s an excerpt from the episode transcript: Ruven: So I guess I'll jump in and start with my point of view on that. One of the things that's been really great about attending your conferences over the past couple of years is that normally, both Michelle and I are pretty used to attending technical conferences around the tools that we use. Your Future Offices conference is very much focused on the space that people work in. Michelle and I have found your conferences being a great way to think about this type of thing more holistically. You talk about human centered, the human is doing work in a space using tools and we've been excited by the idea of how these two things go together and how they compliment each other and how sometimes even they can get in the way of each other. When you think about a lot of people working in virtual collaboration spaces and yet, sitting in a physical environment at work or on the road or at home, and how these things compliment each other is part of the future of work from our point of view. Seeing how these things interact with each other is what drives us to your conference and frankly, teaches us as much as we teach back to the team. Michelle: Yeah. I would agree with everything Ruven just said. I would add to that that I observed this even now as we're doing this podcast, that my workplace or workspace experience is in many places. Yes, it's in the office, but from a digital and human centered perspective, it's also in a rental car on my way to Napa, it's on a train, it's in a plane, it's sitting at home. So how can we take the point of view of our colleagues in facilities, real estate operations and say, "How do I create an experience at work where even I can be effective as an employee and have a great attachment to brand and my company no matter where my workplace or space happens to be happening at the time?" I find that a lot of the younger generations are used to working in kind of multimodality, right? Multiple device, multiple environment. I think the other thing that we feel strongly about this at Avanade is when you're looking to redesign a workplace experience, that you also need to look at what are the patterns and behaviors in the culture at your company that you're trying to either enhance your change with those folks work together everyday. They don't always work in teams that have a natural physical flow in the spaces in which they're working in now, so it creates these unique opportunities to change work in ways that both impact the physical space and the digital space. Kevin: Right. Now quick question off of that, and I feel that a lot of folks who even come to these shows or experts or executives within the workplace or corporate real estate side of things, don't necessarily understand what is the difference between, let's say digital transformation and then human centered digital transformation. Ruven: I think that it requires an examination of who your workers are and what their working styles are and what's happening in the workplace. A worker who comes to that office from 8:00 in the morning until 5:00 in the afternoon every single day has a different need for space to be comfortable. I recall at one point, we moved into a new office and the rule was absolute clean desk. Now, if you're someone who comes to the same spot every single day, five days a week through the year, I think that's a little inhumane to say you cannot have a picture of your child or your spouse on your desk or something that makes it feel like you're home. On the other hand, if you're someone who only comes into the office once a week or even less than that for specific meetings, getting things done, trying to find a spot to sit in because there's junk on every desk making that difficult is also a bad experience. So really understanding the worker, their work modality, what their expectations are, is an important part. When you think about human centered, you're not thinking generically, you're thinking about your audiences or the personas of the people that use your space and designing that space to be appropriate for them. One of the great things about coming to the office is interacting with your peers, but at the same time, if you have to have a very important call, you want a quiet space, a space without interruption to be able to take that call. Finding the right balance to support that becomes very important in part of the space design. Kevin: Right. And I'm thinking there's probably even a financial perspective to this too, because if you obviously don't take into consideration the human centered piece of digital transformation, you're going to spend money or allocate a budget to digital transformation and then probably have to do it over again. Ruven: Yeah. Or you don't get the ROI because if the day that you come into the office for your meetings, there's no quiet place to take a call, you'll think, "You know what? It's more hassle than it's worth. I'm not coming to that office." Michelle: Yeah. I often say, what I see happen a lot of times and sort of recently on part of a campus refresh, we walked into the room and they were super proud of the new space and they said, "We have the best and greatest of all conferencing technology. We've just redone our buildings, all this wonderful open-air space, great natural light," and yet, because they chose to go with best of breed from a technology conferencing room perspective, it didn't all work together. They weren't focused on best experience in that conference space, but by buying all the upper right quadrant technologies, they don't all interplay well together, which created this incredibly high technical debt, high friction and just trying to get a meeting started for the employees in this new space. So often we just stress the best experience is what we should be after regardless of the quadrant in which perhaps that experience from a technology perspective is ranked because the employee doesn't care if it was a magic quadrant piece of technology they care about, "Does it actually helped me get my work done? Does it work frictionlessly to me as a person that's trying to use this space?" I think there's a great opportunity for people in these executive real estate roles, partner with their technology leadership and even their operational leadership within their companies to really kind of create this cross functional workplace experience or employee experience kind of SWAT team to go solve those problems holistically together. **** Join Michelle Caldwell and Ruvin Gotz at the Future Offices Summit in NYC January 22 - 24, 2020 as they run a workshop entitled: “Increasing Technology-Enabled Collaboration Through Workplace Strategy” Collaboration is the workplace and corporate real estate buzzword that most have yet to master through technology implementation. It is necessary in today’s competitive environment to leverage the right technology in order to deliver a more personalized work environment. Implementing a digital workplace strategy to promote increased revenue. New digital workplace approaches to drive innovation. Speeding up business cycles and increasing productivity to drive competitive advantage. The agenda for the conference is packed with 40+ experts and many other experiences you’ll love. Visit www.FutureOfficesWinter.com for more details. *** About our guests Michelle Caldwell and Ruven Gotz both work at Avanade, a global professional services company providing IT consulting and services focused on the Microsoft platform with artificial intelligence, business analytics, cloud, application services, digital transformation, modern workplace, security services, technology and managed services offerings. Michelle is the North America Modern Workplace Experience Lead and Ruven leads the Workplace Value Realization Offering in the West.