As I visit customers and partners around the world, I see that many of you are excited about the idea of “workplace transformation.” The reason is clear: workplace-related costs are usually among a company’s top three expense items. Optimizing these assets and ensuring that they support the needs of the business is – or should be – a top priority.
Where we work is becoming more mobile, more flexible, and more collaborative than ever. This has made the traditional cubicle-based workplace – with its overbooked meeting rooms and rows of assigned cubicles sitting empty—obsolete. According to CoreNet Global, around 60% of a company’s desks are vacant at one time because workers are either on the road or in meetings.1 Creating what we call an “activity-based workplace” will help you keep up with evolving work practices, improve employee engagement, and build for the workforce of the future. It will also help you use your physical space more efficiently.
An activity-based workplace unshackles your employees from their desks and gives them a variety of work spaces to use based on the activities they need perform at a given time. This could be a typical workstation, an individual quiet room, a small team huddle space, an audio privacy room, a Telepresence room, or an open project area. Whatever the choice, they’ll have seamless access to the tools they need to get their jobs done. Any desk phone becomes “their” phone, and pervasive and secure wireless enables access to the corporate internet, email, calendars, and collaboration solutions such as IM and presence, web, and video conferencing.
Technology has created this opportunity, and technology is a central part of the solution – which is why IT leaders should engage their HR and corporate real estate peers in a serious conversation about re-envisioning the workplace. Now. Today.
Why? Because you can’t afford not to. In the areas where we’ve implemented this new shared-workspace approach at Cisco2, we’ve:
- Reduced the space needed per employee by more than 30%
- Lowered our CAPEX for furniture by 55%
- Brought energy costs down by 44%
- Saved 50% on our CAPEX for cable and IT infrastructure
We recently discussed this approach with the head of corporate real estate at one of the top financial institutions in the world. His response was that they could create a Cisco Connected Workplace that would pay for itself from their cost savings on furniture alone. He was excited about the prospect of reducing their footprint, lowering costs, raising productivity and increasing associate satisfaction.
In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you: How much time do your employees spend away from their desks in other offices, buildings, or work areas? What initiatives have you implemented to increase building usage and reduce real estate costs?
This is the first of a four-part series on Workplace Transformation in which Carl Wiese explores how creating a more flexible, agile, and collaboration-centric work environment benefits your business, your customers, and your employees.