Posts

Smart Leaders Don’t Just Tolerate Distributed Work; They Embrace It

Working RemotelyOne of my earliest studies of work patterns indicated that on average knowledge workers were spending only about 35 percent of their work time inside their assigned corporate facility. They were spending almost as much time working out of home offices, and the remainder in “Third Places” like coffee shops, libraries, public parks, hotels, airports, and planes, trains, and automobiles.

Today, according to Forrester Research, more than thirty-four million U.S. workers are spending one or more days a week in nontraditional work locations. That’s over 24 percent of a nonfarm workforce that currently totals approximately 140 million. Forrester predicts that by the end of 2016 the distributed workforce could reach 63 million, or over 40% of the total nonfarm workforce. And it’s worth pointing out that many agricultural workers are also highly dependent on mobile technologies, even if we don’t normally think of them as part of the “remote” workforce.

Why is workforce mobility growing so rapidly and becoming the accepted way of working in so many industries? Read more

How Can I Manage Them When I Can’t See Them?

Happy entrepreneur working with a phone and laptop in a coffee shop in the streetAs early as 2002 one of my earliest studies of work patterns indicated that on average knowledge workers were spending only about 35% of their work time inside their assigned corporate facility. They were spending another 30% of their time working out of home offices, and the remainder in “Third Places” like coffee shops, libraries, public parks, hotels, and airports.

Think about that: a full two-thirds of knowledge work now takes place outside of corporate facilities. That sounds like a strikingly large number, but I and many others have conducted numerous studies clearly demonstrating that organizational work today is widely dispersed across many different kinds of locations. Most of us today act as if it doesn’t matter whether the people we are in conversation with are across a desk, across the room, across town, or on another continent.

Yet one of the most common complaints I hear about letting local employees work remotely even just a day or two a week is “How can I manage them if I can’t see them?” Read more

You Make It, You Own It

English_Bay_Vancouver_BCLast week I participated in IFMA’s Facility Fusion 2015 Canada conference in Vancouver. I enjoyed seeing many old friends and making new ones. But more importantly I enjoyed having my brain cells stimulated by so many interesting stories of new workplace designs and workforce programs.

If there was one underlying idea that linked many of those stories together for me, it was the power of choice. Almost every story we heard about workplace innovation mentioned increased variety within the workplace, and/or between alternative workplaces. And more variety clearly means more choice for the people using those workplaces. Read more

Space Planning: That Was Then, This is Now

Several years ago at one of our private client network gatherings Ed Nolan, then a senior real estate executive with Hewlett Packard, commented on how different (and difficult) space planning had become since he started his career many years ago.

His point was simple, but profound: when everyone had an assigned workplace, and was there everyday, space planning was a really simple exercise in arithmetic: the number of people in the building times the square feet per person plus conference rooms and other common space. [continue reading...]

The Future of the Workplace

IFMA Spain held a Facilities/Workplace Summit in Madrid on the 3rd of October. The principal organizer of the conferece, Francisco Vazquez Medem, asked me to submit some advance commentary on the future of the workplace (I could not attend in person, as I was participating actively in World Workplace 2013 in Philadelphia).

I sent Francisco and the Madrid attendees this brief video comment, now available on YouTube:

I would love to hear your reactions and further comments. [continue reading...]

Six Strategies for Enhancing Your Workplace

Note: I am just back from a very full week at IFMA’s World Workplace 2013, in Philadelphia., where I reconnected with lots of long-time friends and made many new ones. Look for a series of reports and reflections over the next several days/weeks.

We were particularly pleased to spend time at World Workplace with Steven Sonsino, the co-author (with Jacqueline Moore) of Leadership FM, a new book calling for completely rethinking the role of facilities and facilities management (FM) in organizations (by the way, Steven’s view is very similar to my own, as reported in 2012 in the RICS white paper, “Raising the Bar: Enhancing the Strategic Role of FM” – free registration required to download the report). [continue reading...]

Stay Home – and Save the Planet

My good friend and colleague Joan Blades has just posted another thoughtful article about the virtues sand values of teleworking (“Telework: Help Solve Climate Change by Staying Home“). She starts with this:

Would you believe me if I told you that we could take a big step to combating climate change simply by staying home from work? Rather, I should say, staying home and working.

[continue reading...]

Managing a Remote Workforce

We just posted a note on the workshifting.com blog about our latest research white paper, “Managing a Remote Workforce:  Proven Practices from Succesful Leaders.” The post is a highly condensed version of the full 20-page paper, which you can download for free from the workshifting site. Check it out. You won’t regret it. [continue reading...]

The President Recognizes the Value of FlexWork

As you may know, the White House recently hosted a summit on flexible work. Thanks to Twitter I just found an online video conversation about flexible work. Click on the link below to watch a 7-minute video of Tory Johnson of ABC News interviewing Wharton Professor Stuart Friedman.

It’s well worth the seven minutes:

http://abcnews.go.com/Business/video/flex-time-white-house-10314120 [continue reading...]

The Facilities Frontier

Last night I participated on a panel discussion at the February IFMA Silicon Valley Chapter meeting – along with Glenn Dirks of Teletrips, Barbara Sprenger of Satellite Telework Centers, and our good friend Diane Coles of SCAN Health Plan.

Our topic, “Evolving Telework:  The Facilities Frontier,” focused primarily on the rising significance of “Third Places” as workplaces (in addition, of course, to corporate facilities – First Places – and home offices – Second Places). [continue reading...]