Monday, 10 September 2012

Workplace 3.0


Over the past few months I have been working with Mitel assisting them in the development of their recently published White Paper on Workplace 3.0. I initially got involved by accident however the more time I have spent researching the subject the more interesting it has become.

At _space we have recently developed our headquarters building Spaceworks into a business hub with flexible working space. This move has made us review how people work now and how they are likely to work in the future.

Today I have been at a Mitel conference where they set out their strategy to address Workplace 3.0 and how their technology will adapt. I have had a fascinating day not least because the event has been hosted in a very nice Mayfair Hotel.

Mitel are clearly focussing on solutions for communications and business which are flexible and will adapt to the changing workplace

As I have become more involved and interested in this process a few things have become apparent.  Businesses are currently looking at their workforces and how they are going to deliver services in the future.  There are a couple of issues driving change.

In the past there has been lots of discussion about flexible working and home-working.  I believe that Workplace 3.0 will be subtly different with flexible working being more than someone working in their study at home.  Flexible working will include people working on the move, in a coffee shop or taking desk space in offices on a membership basis.

Such changes are driven by the environment created by the recession.  In the good times businesses expanded and could not see any alternative to growth.  Companies committed to  long binding leases  which have subsequently turned out to be a noose around many companies necks.  Many organisations have ended up going out of business due to the commitments they have made in relation to office space.  In the future businesses will be less keen to sign long term leases and are far more likely to commit to flexible arrangements which will suit the changing nature of their organisation.

At Spaceworks we have responded to this and have developed a wide range of spaces on flexible terms to suit what business needs.  We have seen the need for desk only space through to more permanent offices.  The IT infrastructure which is imperative to allow businesses to grow and adapt quickly. 

As well as building related issues there are also cultural issues with business at present.  The baby boomers and generation X have a far more stringent approach to work.  Their approach is generally 9-5 with a  focussed work ethic. 

What we are seeing now with generation Y is a flexible workforce who are keen to have more options within their terms and conditions.  For example within our own organisation we are now seeing fathers wanting to work shorter weeks to share childcare with their partners. 

In the future we will see an increasing amount of flexibility required for the generation Y workforce and millennium generation who will require a less rigid approach to employment.

The cultural changes and financial constraints of property driven by leases will undoubtedly drive new ways of working. 

In the years ahead we will see the office environment providing a varied provision supported by a robust IT infrastructure.  I anticipate that the use of private and public clouds will continue to develop with data and applications driven by off site hosted servers.

The devices used on a day to day basis will be varied and personal.  Organisations will have to be flexible with the selection of devices used by their people.  Some may prefer smartphones others may like their Apple iPad whist others may still use the office based PC.

In the future these decisions will be personal rather than corporate.  The organisations responsibility will be to ensure safe and consistent access.

The developing culture within society along with the global economic climate will undoubtedly impact on how we conduct business in the future as we move towards Workplace 3.0 and the human cloud. 



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