Your workplace is set to transform in 2016

By: Michael McKiernan, VP, Business Technology Solutions, Citrix

2016 is the year to tear down the cubicle walls!!! Go ahead make Dilbert proud.  2016 will be a milestone year for progressive organizations that consciously add the workplace to their repertoire of strategic tools for business effectiveness.  This is similar to how a few organizations have gained advantage from employee enablement with other levers such as analytics and mobility. Digital lifestyles, real estate design and work models have evolved into consumer-like experiences that can be harnessed by organizations willing to embrace change and adopt new mindsets and behaviors that can transform the workplace as we know it and the associated business outcomes.

Workplace transformation is what occurs when real estate, technology and human behaviors are leveraged to create fun, flexible, collaborative environments that foster innovation and enable a variety of work styles.  This requires workforce engagement, workflow optimization and workplace redesign.  People become more productive, happier and space utilization increases resulting in win-win business and human outcomes.  At Citrix, departments that follow the work Anywhere 100% unassigned workspace model have employee engagement of 80% favorable as compared to the company average of 72%.

In 2016 more and more real estate designers will abandon the 1950s cube-farm factory approach which provides Orwellian scale with mind-numbing efficiency.  Workplace designers will become more prominent in creating university like workplaces with schools of expertise interacting cross-functionally in common collaborative spaces for groups (town square cafeteria like hubs), collaborative pods (labs) and individual focus (libraries).  The associated follow-me technologies have matured to provide excellent user experience at a cost that makes them ubiquitous (e.g. Starbucks wifi).  The alchemy that more and more IT departments will master in 2016 is leveraging existing network, virtualization and end user computing investments to provide reliable wireless connectivity, follow-me data, apps, telephony and printing with enterprise security and compliance.

Many organizations in 2016 will fail with workplace transformation not because of real estate or technology challenges but because of failures in changing individual behaviors.  This traditional thinking has been ingrained over decades from the notion of the corner office or command and control management by physical presence.  As newer members of the workforce (aka millennials) have not yet been indoctrinated in the same manner as their parents they are more open to concepts such as unassigned seating and variety of workplaces for different needs and preferences.  Similarly organizations with large numbers of subcontractors and third parties that may previously have been allocated lower quality workspace are likely to be profoundly successful in workplace transformation and improved engagement and better business outcomes.

The organizations that succeed with workplace transformation in 2016 will see a large shift in teleworking but it won’t be immediately apparent as a net increase because successful workplace transformation will cause as many people to stop teleworking as those that start.  When Citrix did its first workplace transformation in 2010 half the employees that had been telecommuting gave up the privilege because the new workplace was more fun and more productive.  These telecommuters were backfilled by an equal number of people that were no longer tethered to a paper Gantt chart or a server under their desk.

Many organizations will benefit from the triple win that Citrix has observed with multiple workplace transformations; 43% of employees reported increased productivity, 91% reported increased morale and with the ability to increase density up to 100% it also makes financial sense.

Organization that will be successful with workplace transformation will practice reciprocity and address WIFM (what’s in it for me). In the transformed workplace the organization gets greater engagement, the employee gets better social interactions and flexibility in exchange for giving up some privacy, a great trade for most!

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