We’re building the WorkSpace Connect brand on the fundamental belief that enterprises can help their employees work together more effectively by looking at the idea of “collaboration” holistically. Within enterprise organizations today, the view tends to be almost completely siloed, with three organizations having the bulk of the responsibility of outfitting the enterprise for collaboration, and those three groups rarely working in synch.
The first group, IT, provides employees with the technology tools that help them collaborate. Generally these are tools meant to conquer distance: Video conferencing brings people face-to-face virtually, while team collaboration tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams let them not only send each other messages, but give them a virtual workspace where they can spread out and share documents and other things that people work on together.
The second group, Facilities/Real Estate, secures and builds out the physical spaces where collaboration takes place in real life. The focus is on how best to design these spaces to make people both collaborative and productive.
Finally, HR is responsible for the policies that govern the collaboration experience at work, as well as understanding what works and what doesn’t when it comes to enabling workplace collaboration.
I’m going back to these core principles because I think they’re a natural lead-in to one of the sessions we’ll be presenting at our WorkSpace Connect Summit in Orlando on March 30, and to the workplace expert who will be presenting the session. Melissa Marsh of the consultancy PLASTARC will present a session on Flexible Working Practices: Empowering a Collaborative Workforce, and her topic really represents the fleshing-out of the core principles that these three organizations are responsible for fulfilling within the enterprise. And the key factor, as the session title suggests, is flexibility or adaptability to the needs of those working in the space.
Melissa authored a great post for PLASTARC’s website that spells out her approach in detail and offers a preview of what you’ll learn in her session. She starts the post by outlining the basics—those elements that every enterprise must have in place as the foundation for a flexible workplace:
- Mobile technology is essential
- People are creatures of habit
- Communication can make or break your efforts
- Agile working practices are complemented by ABW [activity-based working]
- Start moving sooner rather than later
These action items embrace most of the core principles I started with above, and they require a commitment from IT, Facilities/Real Estate, and HR if the key elements are to be in place. Mobile technology obviously falls primarily on IT, while designing activity-based working spaces is the job of Facilities/Real Estate, and understanding people’s work habits is HR’s specialty.
But the strategy has to work as a whole, so all three of the enterprise workplace pillars—IT, HR, and Facilities/Real Estate—have to come together to make the effort succeed.
Melissa’s session is just one in a daylong program of learning aimed at helping enterprise decision-makers from IT, HR, and Facilities/Real Estate develop a holistic workplace strategy. We’ve also got sessions focused on open office design, the use of workplace systems data, and much more. If workplace strategy is an important part of your enterprise role, I hope you’ll be able to join us for a day full of information and expertise.