Shaping Workspaces That Will Enable The Workforce Wherever It May Roam

by Elizabeth Dukes on April 1, 2014

iOffice is excited to announce the release of the first chapter of Wide Open Workspace: Trailblazing Solutions for Tomorrow’s Workforce, chronicling the dramatic changes that have occurred in the workforce over the last decade. Today we would like to share a little bit about the vision and inspiration behind the book’s creation.qMVD8z3v7jZ3Pm7T340yU88Mtpzpfk5an797DZT_fWU,8he3i9_eSUKSLHJ1ofUCZLvo8YFOj7USjGIuccc96jE,Xx6XNO1PHtUsjdTpvQvS19HnxV03M-LFJtd8FNKmq4w

Over the past ten years, we have observed significant changes in the workspace environment. Not only have the employees and their needs changed, but so have customer demands. Employers, facility managers and HR have been forced to recreate and restructure their priorities to meet these growing needs.

Today’s workspace can easily be compared to the open frontier of the 19th century.  The opportunities are endless, but it takes both free-range thinking and ten-gallon courage to adapt to these changes. Much like the Cowboys of the Old West, who had to overcome many obstacles moving cattle from Texas to the marketplace, today’s Facilities Managers face a wide-open range of challenges.  With that open range, however, comes a wealth of opportunity. By adapting a philosophy similar to the “cowboy code”, Facilities Managers are able to blaze the trails to new opportunities and even greater success than ever before.

Today’s technology-driven environment, both professionally and socially, has called for a dramatic shift in the facility manager’s role. Aside from the day-to-day functions typically performed by the FM, they now have the ever-evolving task of keeping their “customers” (the employees) engaged and productive at work. Processes that serve today’s mobile workforce must be established, collaboration must be not only supported, but encouraged, and facilities must be transformed to adapt to these changes. And, since facilities costs rank second only to payroll, FMs are expected to accomplish all of this on a tighter budget.

Each facility manager’s “chores” and skill requirements are unique to their organization, forcing them to have a clear understanding of the business and it’s objective. Much like the cowboys’ campfire talks, collaboration with the C-Suite, as well as HR and IT, is a critical component to the overall success. The FM is looked to as a leader, possessing not only the vision, but also the courage to adapt, change and grow daily. Resourcefulness and the drive to create an inviting workspace are what set the leaders apart from the rest.

The research, decision-making, and implementation of activities that fit the needs of your workspace require creativity and use of the right technology. By embracing these tools, as well as the “code” of the Workspace Cowboy, you create new opportunities and growth for your entire organization. Through this transformation, you set a new standard for your company, as well as care for your herd, all the while adding value to your role within the organization.

While the workspace concept is universal, we reference our Texas heritage throughout our book for it’s unique history of blazing the trails. From the beginning of American History, Texans have adopted the spirit and culture that fostered both the individual and business to thrive. It is the pro-business philosophy and embracing of independent culture that has allowed businesses to bring new, unique ideas to the table.

Take Whole Foods for example–with concerns regarding the safety of GMOs growing daily, Whole Foods made a promise to label all genetically modified foods sold in their stores by 2018. While more than 60 other countries have already adopted GMO labeling (some going so far as to ban GMOs altogether), the GMO safety debate remains heated in the United States. By essentially taking on the FDA as well as “big” food corporations, Whole Foods became mentors to other grocery stores across the globe. By looking at the market and it’s growing needs from a different perspective, they gained loyalty and trust from their customers, allowing them to make informed choices for themselves. It is these bold choices, fueled by a clear understanding of their customer’s needs that sets today’s facilities manager apart from the rest.

Learn more about the eight Cowboy Codes and how the 21st century facilities manager can adapt these to their frontier by visiting our Wide Open Workspace website. Use your unique position as a FM to care for your herd and deliver only the best knowledge and tools to your organization.


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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