We currently live in a most amazing time in history. The concepts that just 40 years ago were only the stock and trade of science fiction are becoming reality.

While time travel, parallel universes, and extraterrestrial life are all still out of reach, flying cars, moving walkways, smart buildings, smart homes, smart watches, talking robots, video conferencing – all far-off visions of a Jetsons future are a reality.

And while the marvels of today’s technology may delight us and hopefully, eventually be the great social equalizer, we are still bound by basic natural laws and the sometimes-unpleasant truths lurking beneath.

It is not the survival of the fittest/strongest/smartest/

Charles Darwin’s often mis-quoted statement in his Origin of Species, reads “It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.”

No truer words written, especially in the context of business in this challenging time of crisis and upheaval.

Reframing for resilience

At the first sign of crisis, many don’t act because they don’t know what’s happening, and then later, they panic for precisely the same reason – they don’t know what’s happening. As we have seen over the last year, whether focused hope for the future or stuck in the past, many businesses are frozen in place, struggling just to keep their operations running.

Those who will adapt most effectively in these difficult times will be those who realized that “business as usual” is not an option. As noted in the recent 2021 Global Networking Trends Report Business Resilience Special Edition, successfully navigating this and future disruptions will require a shift in mindset to one that focuses on new, more flexible approaches to work and business with a renewed emphasis on the flexibility and agility required to achieve business resilience, rather than the more prescriptive and reactive approach that has been the foundation of traditional business continuity planning. Business resilience positions organizations to prepare for “what’s next” – even the unexpected.

Business continuity vs. Business resilience.

No industry is more aware of this than those who own or manage commercial real estate. While some workers may never return to an office as we know it, most see the value of the office as a place where people gather to collaborate and innovate. For many organizations, in-person collaboration has been considered the keystone of their culture. And so, it is not a matter of “if” but “when” and “how” they will return to their in-person facilities.

Readiness, Resilience and Responsibility

Scott Panzer, Vice Chairman at Jones Lang LaSalle.

Recently, I was fortunate to sit-in on a conversation with Scott Panzer, Vice Chairman at Jones Lang LaSalle. Managing over 5 billion square feet of office space assets world-wide, the folks at JLL have a unique insight to the challenges and the opportunities that lay ahead. With a focus on corporate social responsibility and green initiatives, JLL and their clients have benefitted from new technologies that not only reduce environmental impact but also dramatically reduce operation expense through greater control and energy efficiency improvements.  But Scott was clear that workplaces and workspaces will have to evolve in the wake of the current pandemic. Fortunately, the same technologies that JLL has deployed around the world can also be used to enable the safe return to on-premises collaboration. Monitoring and improving ventilation and air flow, physical distance monitoring, proximity reporting, increased workplace automation, and even robots that support productivity and communication can all be leveraged to turn an idle asset back into production and to help the return to in-person collaborative environments that have long been the heartbeat of innovation.

To listen in to our full conversation with Scott Panzer and to learn more about Cisco Smart Building solutions, join our podcast.

Readiness, Resilience and Responsibility
– A conversation with Scott Panzer, JLL

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Jeff Meek

Product Marketing Manager

Enterprise Networking and Mobility