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    How FMs Use Collaboration To Create Wider Mobility in the Workplace

    Elizabeth Dukes

    Gone are the days of the traditional workspace, where each individual had their own desk, computer and supplies. Advances in technology, coupled with the outpouring of Millennials entering our workforce, have forced organizations and their facility managers to re-think how they conduct business. And with the steady flow of information on the web, those who do not embrace these changes will be left behind, with both their talent and customers seeking out other opportunities.

    The new breed of workers entering the workforce today not only demands an attractive workspace, but also one that satisfies them and provides them incentive to stay and grow. With the knowledge that the shortfall of talent within the workforce has reached critical proportions, companies need to stand up and take action. They arethe new wide open workspace faced with the necessity to evaluate every aspect of their business, adjusting processes as necessary. Those that disregard these changes in work patterns, work environment, as well as the workforce will find themselves facing many stumbling blocks that they may never be able to recover from.

    “What confronts every company, large or small...is learning to thrive in a world where change is discontinuous, unrelenting and pitiless... companies are much better at optimization than they are at rule-breaking, game-changing…radical innovation – and yet, that is exactly what is required in turbulent times."--Gary Hamel

    Perhaps one of the most valuable of these changes, is mobility. Mobility offers employees the opportunity to do their job virtually anywhere, anytime. It allows them to seek guidance from their co-workers as well as run ideas by their department head or teammates. Working in teams is not only inspiring but is also a great avenue to learn. This collaborative, mobile and team-oriented atmosphere does not appear to be a fading trend--it is here to stay.

    Collaboration Leads to Community

    Those entering the workforce today have never known anything BUT a collaborative work style. In the age of cloud-based software systems and mobile apps, every tool at their disposal lends them both support and information. Whether through technological systems or round-table meetings, this collaborative style leads to inspiration and creativity. Collaboration leads not only to a more content workforce, it also equals a more educated one. Employees have the opportunity to learn from each other as well as their bosses. This closeness makes the team more like a family, with both trust and respect a valuable part of the equation.

    So, if your office is still holding onto the traditional ways, where employees still hide out in their cubicles, only seeing each other on their way to the bathroom or on their lunch break, just how can you set your office space up to support productivity and a team environment? With a little bit of innovation and creativity, you can transform your real estate into the workspace that inspires all that and more.

    Hotdesking

    Hotdesking is a trend that many organizations are adopting these days. Similar to hoteling, hotdesking allows employees to relocate from space to space at a moment's notice. Not only are cubicles a thing of the past, with this creative new way of working, so are desks and computers. The facilities manager has the ability to move their employees around wherever they are needed most. Hotdesking calls for an open floor plan, allowing everyone to interact and involve each other throughout the day. The new layout and process not only encourages collaboration, it commands it.

    Flexible Workspaces

    Similar to Hotdesking, many companies are now redesigning their spatial assets for a flex space environment. The concept behind the flex space model is workers have the ability to use the office as they see fit, depending on the task at hand. Sometimes, we are working on a project that requires no interruptions, while other times we want to convene in a meeting room to bounce ideas off of each other. And, of course, there is always the option of spending the day working at home or at the coffee shop.

    Many companies are moving away from the traditional workspace and more towards these flexible alternatives. Not only does it foster the team atmosphere, it also provides organizations with options to better utilize their spatial assets. So, you have effected the company's bottom line in a couple ways. You have a happy workforce, which means increased productivity, and you have better use of your space, saving you money long-term.

    Technology

    With this mobility trend that is so prevalent in the workspace environments of today, comes the need for up-to-date technology. Whether you are looking to allow your workers to flex, moving their workspace wherever they see fit, or whether you are seeking out other alternatives, one thing remains constant--they must have access to real-time information, regardless of where they are.

    A cloud-based FM software system such as an Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) affords you many modular options to meet all of your needs. Whether you need a room reservation system so your employees can reserve the space they need, or a maintenance management system in which they can track their maintenance orders, the information can be accessed from any computer or mobile device and features real-time information. No matter what your decision may be regarding how you will transform your workspace, technology will be, no doubt, at the heart of it.

    Over the past decade, many companies have been forced to reinvent themselves--sometimes more than once. To keep up with the declining number of employees, organizations have had to reduce their real estate portfolios. Now that we are facing a slow incline and revenue growth, companies are beginning to realize they now have much more to consider. They must do more with the less space, to make room for the employees re-entering the workforce. They are also realizing that there is a real competition for the top talent. Not only must they attract the talent, they must also RETAIN that talent. With that, comes the need to examine both the social and generational aspects of their workforce, creating the optimal environment to support happiness, growth and productivity.

    Download the first chapter of Wide Open Workspace

     

    Elizabeth Dukes

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Elizabeth Dukes

    Elizabeth Dukes' pieces highlight the valuable role of the real estate and facility managers play in their organizations. Prior to iOFFICE, Elizabeth was in sales for large facility and office service outsourcing firm.

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