The office of the future | Advice | Small Business Connect

Marie Puybaraud

A new generation of employees is entering the workforce and business owners need to ensure that their businesses are flexible and adaptable enough to handle the dynamics that come with such employees.

So says Phil Gregory, Middle East and Africa senior regional executive at Johnson Controls Global Workplace Solutions which specialises in providing facilities, corporate real estate and energy management.

“Over the last few decades we have seen a major shift in business and how we work. Together with a new generation of employee that is entering the workforce, with different work styles and expectations as well as technology that is advancing rapidly, it is crucial for companies in South Africa to ensure that their organisations are flexible and adaptable,” says Gregory.

The question, he points out, is no longer “if” transformation will take place, but rather “how”.

Gregory’s colleague and director of Johnson Controls Global Workplace Innovation, Marie Puybaraud, agrees. Below, she shares five principles that are key to the successful, re-engineering of the office of the future.

A collaborative culture 

Establish a culture of collaboration by giving employees, customers, suppliers and partners the tools and flexibility to achieve business objectives, make good decisions, resolve issues and share knowledge.

Evolve and adapt

Embrace innovation. In the workplace today, more time is spent in team spaces using collaborative technologies such as video conferencing and far less time is spent at desks. Empowering people to interact, inspires creativity and increases productivity.

Embrace technology

Technology allows a team to collaborate by exchanging knowledge and ideas across a city or the globe. Successful collaboration hinges on having access to the right technologies at the right time to support effective communication. Social media also plays a critical role in collaboration.

Studies show that social media has the potential to increase productivity of workers between 20 to 25%.

Use available data

Today, about 49% of available office space is being used. As mobile and collaborative work patterns evolve, there may be even less of a need to maintain existing real estate portfolios. Data collected from sophisticated building management systems is already helping facility teams make fast, accurate decisions on energy strategy. For example, real-time data gathered by occupancy sensors is used to help identify spare capacity.

Promote agility

Adopting an attitude of agility has a direct impact on productivity. When leaders support a flexible. Mobile, collaborative work environment, workers are inspired to work harder and smarter.

Puybaraud says workplace strategies that encourage innovation, unlock hidden potential. By creating a culture of collaboration, embracing advanced technologies and promoting agility, organisations become more efficient, productive and deliver smarter business outcomes.