WeWork is Revolutionizing the Way Businesses Think About Their Corporate Workplace
When we consider an office, we traditionally think of it as a physical space: a building or floor and the tables, chairs, filing cabinets, and other furniture that fill it; an office is an entirely physical entity rather than an interactive space. But with the rising popularity of space-management businesses like WeWork, the idea of the traditional corporate office is shifting away from real estate and facilities toward agility and experience.
So too, has the department responsible for workspace management changed. In the past, a facilities manager focused on the tangible items; now IT and human resource departments are involved in how space is serving a company and its workforce. Facilities managers will continue to manage the physical aspects in an office, while IT team members will build systems that keep all the company’s office-related data in one place and the human resource team monitors the data to better understand employee satisfaction.
When we talk about an office being agile and experiential, what we’re really talking about is the needs of your workforce. No two employees are the same, nor is one person the same on Monday as they are on Tuesday. Each day and each person pose new challenges for which a business must be equipped. This might include the option to work remotely or in a satellite office; it may also include a choice between a standing or sitting desk, couch or quiet room.
Be a Little Needy
Catering to every employee’s individual needs can seem exceedingly difficult and cost prohibitive—unless you have the data and technology to make it happen. The reason WeWork is such a popular place for individuals to work is their effective use of data and technology to create a fun, compelling experience. Every aspect of a person’s experience in their facilities is managed through an app; it begins when the individual enters, signaling that their membership is active that day. It continues on to track which desks and conference areas are popular among particular people or businesses; their frequency of use in both number of days and times of day; and how frequently they move between the different locations around the world.
It may feel invasive, knowing when and where an individual is sitting and how often, but this data allows companies using similar Space-as-a-Service models to improve users’ daily lives. But first, users need to feel empowered to make their own decisions.
The User as Master
It’s sometimes an awkward process for an employee to express their workspace needs—most people do not want to be perceived as the difficult employee. But not having what you need to work effectively and, perhaps worse, not knowing how to get what you need can sow dissatisfaction. This is why apps like the one used by WeWork is important to help a person curate their own work experience. The success of these platforms is driving many enterprises to prioritize delivering the same central but agile experience in their own corporate offices.
Whether you work in a co-working site or in your company’s office, employees have a strong desire to move around, find a conference room, or just huddle with fellow employees. However, the ability to find an open desk or conference room does not easily exist. Companies like Teem, SpaceIQ, and Robin are providing software and employee apps that put these capabilities into employees’ hands. You can reserve a spot for yourself in the moment or in advance, searching your screen for that day’s prime real estate, or to identify a free huddle room. This not only helps you have the best experience, but it lets your coworkers know where to contact you for assistance on a project. It also provides a central place for feedback and functional requests, such as replacing a lightbulb.
Data is Priority
How your users navigate your technology is important, but you need to do something with this data. The back end of these systems is crucial for facilities, human resources, and IT departments. It not only tells you how individuals are doing, but the company and space as a whole.
Because real estate and office sites are looked at as expense heavy, unavoidable resources, the data gathered from a Space-as-a-Service managed workplace platform allows you to get more from your investment—or determine what must change. The data users are providing gives you a picture of how frequently (or not) office areas are being used, and when. Whereas in the past, businesses may rent out (or let sit vacant) unused space—now they can transform it.
If the data shows that members of the marketing team prefer to work at communal tables or hold a lunchtime meeting every day, you can create more communal space to guarantee their daily satisfaction. Data might tell you about an overlooked design flaw, like putting a reading nook near the office’s entrance—leading to a distracting and, therefore under-utilized area. It also gives you a sense of how many of your employees like to work in a particular location (within the office or within a city). This will drive your future real estate decisions if you analyze the data.
The human resources team may see a pattern in employees that needs to be addressed or encouraged. Performance issues may arise based on where and how an employee is working; even the smallest details, like using a standing desk regularly, can help managers understand their teams better.
Evolution Never Ends
The modern workplace will never stagnate, nor do we suspect it’ll return to cubicles and corner offices. As much as individuals enjoy variety in their careers, moving between jobs faster than any other generation, they also enjoy variety in their work day. It is up to employers to make these options available for their teams—and learn from each user’s experience.
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UPCOMING REALCOMM WEBINARS
CORPORATE REAL ESTATE & Technology – The Importance of Developing a STRATEGY - 10/24/2019
The Corporate Real Estate industry has quickly gone from constantly resizing the corporate real estate portfolio based on the everchanging business needs of the corporation, to having to understand and deal with a myriad of issues relating to technology, automation and innovation. Not only do CRE professionals need to understand things such as IWMS, intelligent buildings, the smart workplace, AI, VR/AR and other emerging technologies, they also need to understand the fundamental shift on how we use space. Technology which is enabling mobility has shifted the landscape. This webinar will feature some of the most innovative professionals discussing the importance of developing a comprehensive Corporate Real Estate portfolio strategy around the concept of Digital Transformation.
Founder of Realcomm Conference Group, an education organization that produces Realcomm, IBcon and CoRE Tech, the world's leading conferences on technology, automated business solutions, intelligent buildings and energy efficiency for the commercial and corporate real estate industry. As CEO, Jim interacts with some of the largest companies globally pertaining to some of the most advanced and progressive next generation real estate projects under development.
Chuck Niswonger has over 30 years of successful leadership experience in technology-related roles that range from operating his own consulting company (www.nicenets.com) to directing the IT strategy of a real estate investment management firm to manufacturing and technology-enabled education. Chuck has also been the chair of the Realcomm Investment Management (IM) Advisory Council for the last ten years, managing content selection for the conference educational sessions, IM forums, workshops and webinars.
Emmanuel Daniel is responsible for building and delivering the Digital Transformation strategy for campuses across Microsoft and leads a global multidisciplinary team of architects and experience designers. He builds experiences that merge technology with the built environment, leading to the formation of spaces that respond to the needs of its users. He is also accountable for identifying, building and implementing the next generation of products that will make smarter and sustainable buildings.
Paul Maximuk is the Product Owner as well as a technical SME at Ford Land, leading all BMS and controls integrations globally. He has over 30 years of experience in the industry managing multiple types of energy systems and specializing in strategic smart building implementation and management. Paul’s expertise in the built environment spans real estate assets from large industrial facilities to Class A office buildings.
Ronna Davis has been in the networking and telecommunication industry for 23 years. She has been with CommScope for over 13 years and has held positions in sales, channel and product line management. She is currently on CommScope’s Strategy and Technology Team for Buildings and Campuses. Previous to CommScope she worked in the design and construction of telecommunications networks for eight years and in wholesale distribution for two years. She studied marketing and is a LEED Green Associate.
Ron Victor is a Silicon Valley based technology entrepreneur with 20 years of experience and expertise launching new ventures at start-ups and fortune 1000 technology companies. To-date he has enabled raising more than $30Million in start-up capital for multiple start-ups in silicon-valley. Ron has founded and led three companies to-date with successful exits. His latest venture is IoTium Inc. – a Silicon Valley start-up that provides a secure, cloud-managed, easy-to-deploy software defined network infrastructure for all IoT verticals.
Marc is a pioneer in leading the Intelligent/Smart Buildings and M2M movements pushing the industry forward and has contributed to transforming and changing the Intelligent Buildings and M2M (now IoT) industries. As Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for Lynxspring Marc leads corporate and product marketing, strategy, brand management, public relations and communications that support the company’s strategic and growth initiatives.
Brent Boekestein is the CEO of Vintra, Inc., a leading video analytics company from Silicon Valley that uses artificial intelligence to transform any video surveillance into actionable and tailored intelligence. Forward-thinking enterprises and public safety organizations like Sacramento City, NYC DOI, Sacramento County, and more use Vintra’s solutions to organize, analyze, and derive critical insights from overwhelming amounts of stored and live video.