Yasmin Desai, London-based entrepreneur and author of the blog The Startup Girl, shares her tips for entrepreneurs and business owners...
We’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about the implications of mobile workplace solutions on people, businesses, and the commercial real estate industry. We have met with many stakeholders- including enterprise companies, employees, freelancers and telecommuters, and commercial real estate firms- all offering their insights and experiences that related to trends in workplace mobility which helped us solidify our vision for the future of work. With ShareDesk Optix we aim to deliver an integrated approach to delivering workplace solutions to enterprise companies. In the previous blog we briefly talked about these high-level trends (excerpt below). In this post we’d like to define some of these stakeholders along with high-level implications- we’ll explore them in more detail in future posts.
“Over the last decade, technological advancements have minimized the need for employees to be as physically present in a traditional, fixed, office setting. At the heart of this change is the ubiquity of high-speed Internet access, mobile technologies and cloud-based collaboration tools. This is changing the nature of employee relationships and requires better technologies to create effective collaborations.”
Let’s take a look at how companies are managing their commercial offices today. Keep in mind that the typical workplace utilization rate of a corporate desk or workspace is less than 50%, and to this day many employees sit in an office surrounded by empty cubicles, and experience the limitations of a fixed workplace. We should ask a simple question; isn’t real estate supposed to be an asset, an enabler of the business? Why has commercial office space, typically the 2nd highest operational expense on most companies’ balance sheets, become such a liability? Adding to the dilemma of underutilized space is the growing contingent of mobile workers, more companies leveraging project-based talent, and the globalization of business. This means that employees spend less time in fixed office cubicles, and more time with clients, and business partners in the field. They are connecting and collaborating with their colleagues where it is most suitable.
Enterprise employees and mobile professionals have been tapping the benefits of mobile work most notably over the past decade- and today, almost 80% of US employees indicate a preference more flexible workplace options. Corporate executives have been measuring the implications of this shift and gained better understanding of the benefits of workplace mobility. What they’re seeing is that adopting a mobile workplace strategy benefits employees first, providing them with more control and flexibility and allowing them to be more productive with their time. They are seeing how employee satisfaction correlates with increased output and cost savings for the business.
Regardless of where an employee is located, the work they produce is what is most important not the office they work in; they are knowledge-based workers, not location-specific workers. So how are executives and managers thinking about facilitating environments that will enable their professionals to produce their best work? By providing the tools and resources required to allow the employees work where they need to, and where they are most productive. The best workplace is then one that revolves around the employee, and one that allows the employee to be agile and connected.
Approximately 62% of companies have already adopted workplace mobility solutions with the bulk of the investment to come in the next twelve to twenty four months. This provides more flexibility for employees, around their schedules- whether it is scheduling a meeting with colleagues in their own company’s office facility or booking a conference room for a client meeting at a meeting facility, business center, or a coworking space nearby. Having the ability to connect and collaborate with colleagues flexibly and work-life balance.
Corporate executives have seen that allowing employees the flexibility to work where they want does just that and allows businesses to realize significant savings as well. Companies like IBM, Best Buy, British Telecom, and Dow Chemical have seen teleworking and flexible workplace solutions leading to their employees being 35-40% more productive. Telus, a national Canadian telecommunications company is providing flexible workplace options to 30% of its 40,000 plus employees. IBM realized real estate costs of $50 million through implementing a mobile workplace strategy for over 100,000 employees.
With ShareDesk Optix, enterprise companies will now have an integrated approach to tapping into the benefits of flexible work solutions. They are able to design and implement flexible work solutions and access over 1,500 locations around the world, and also access the tools to manage a mobile workplace strategy. Meaning more flexibility and productivity, and more efficient utilization of companies’ commercial offices.