It’s the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Monkey. This seems the perfect time to launch The Smart Workplace blog because, according to the ancient Chinese zodiac, 2016 is destined to be a year infused with exuberance, unconventional problem-solving, and increased communication. This blog is all about that! I’m exuberant about the 2nd edition of Working Virtually, in final edits before publication this fall, exuberant and delighted to share what I learned while writing it. I found some surprises and exciting, unconventional ways teams work today. I’m continuing many conversations and want to invite you into the conversation. So… I’m starting a blog on The SMART Workplace!
What is The SMART Workplace (TSW)?
- TSW is an organization that is driven by its mission and vision
- TSW builds flexible, mobile and dynamic teams – and supports them
- TSW develops leaders, not task managers
- TSW is agile and knows when to adopt new ways of working
- TSW understands technology and builds systems for collaborative communication around a network of teams.
Being SMART saves companies money. The General Service Administration (GSA) has gotten really workplace smart in how they manage office space. They tackled a cost-saving challenge with smart, unconventional problem-solving that saved the Feds – and U.S. taxpayers – millions of dollars, just in real estate savings.
Not to mention how being SMART collaboratively transformed the way they work.
How easily could you go from 6 leases to 1 office space, saving almost 50% in real estate – without crowding anyone?
The U.S. Government’s GSA did, and they did it without forcing anyone to work where they didn’t want or couldn’t work productively. This gorgeous and functional office building is the result of a highly collaborative process involving everyone who would be impacted by the building’s transformation. The building is Smart, state of the art, spacious and beautiful. Watch the quick video to see for yourself! It is technically fully integrated. Collaborative technology is everywhere with team members participating digitally and around a conference table. Workspaces reflect the way people really work.
Does your organization ensure its people have access to work spaces that meet the needs of the task at hand, with collaborative tools and resources?
A Smart workplace facilitates effective communication. Work gets done through people communicating and cooperating, no matter how networked, distributed, and flexible we become. In all my years working with people from the shop floor to the executive board room, everyone usually agrees communication is a top organizational improvement area. Especially in a perennially changing work world, communication across levels and boundaries is a critical success factor, so in this Year of the Monkey, I’ll be communicating through this blog and, hopefully, in a good conversation with you about effective communication.
Returning to the big changes impacting staff of the GSA, effective communication began before the first real estate lease was released. To build a smart workspace that worked for everyone, the GSA championed a strategic and operational collaboration among IT, Facilities, HR and staff. These champions engaged managers and team members impacted by their workspace changes. “There is a lot of underlying technology,” said Torrance Houlihan of AgilQuest, overseer of the technology install for the GSA. “But it wasn’t implemented for technology’s sake. It was implemented to let people choose how and when they’re going to interact with the building, and then to give them feedback from the building when they do that.” [emphasis mine]
How did Houlihan and his team build a workplace they could be confident people would choose to interact with, using the technology, leveraging the building, and connecting with each other?
They had iterative communication among all employees whose workspace was going to dramatically change. The way the GSA team led this hugely disruptive change process is the real story. The collaboratively built an unconventional building that works for everyone. Deep employee and stakeholder engagement ensured the good design behind the building itself. The feedback and continuous engagement enabled a powerful solution to a financially driven cost-savings need.
Is your organization Workplace Smart? How do you know?
There are many simple ways to monkey around and leverage mobile work, the digital network and office space to be a SMART workplace. We’ve been doing it for decades now. In this Year of the Monkey, I’m excited to bring together success stories, experts, current best practices, tips and resources, so please subscribe to The Smart Workplace blog. Very important: Please watch for my next blog post that will come from www.TheSmartWorkplace.com and my new email, thoefling@TheSmartWorkplace.com!
Join me and the SMART Workplace team in an exciting, ongoing weekly conversation.
Sign up today to be sure not to miss next Wednesday’s post, which will include a free QuickCheck SMART Workplace Readiness assessment, too, so you can get a sense of how SMART your workplace is.