Enabling a shift in workplace agility, flexibility and adaptability relies on how we immerse ourselves into our company culture, looking after our spaces, as well as our internal employees and visitors are key, according to Amanda Baber, Business Development Director, Portico, a specialist provider of high quality, tailored guest services.
*Image: Amanda Baber, Business Development Director, Portico | Workplace Innovation Forum, Dublin, 14 November 2019
We have come a long way in our office environments over the years in regions such as Dublin and other major cities, with expectations of our clients, customers, employees and workspaces all working together; in these three areas:
- The welcome
The welcome is the window into the business, and the role of the client host is an important one in making sure “first impressions” of your organization are a good one.
“It costs nothing to smile.” ~ Amanda Baber, Business Development Director, Portico
- Our environments
We need to look at how our space is being used and utilized, and what that holistic view looks like in order to determine the best approach to the technology and integration we adopt.
- Our technology
Technology is enabling us to work according to expectations for the work day, but there are still expectations and ROI that we need to be accountable for; and this is where looking at flexibility in our working environment comes into play…
Great workplace expectations
ROI and productivity are core business objectives, and enabling more collaborative, efficient, and ultimately productive but engaged employees is key to business success; while salary, flexible working hours, learning and upskilling opportunities, as well as a work/life balance all still coming out as priorities for workers in the Dublin area, in their job search and satisfaction.
One of the above mentioned priorities, flexible working; and in particular, the concept of a four-day work week is driving conversations at the moment with questions arising such as:
Is this sustainable? Can businesses still achieve maximum output and productivity in fewer days? And how will technology enable this adoption of this way of working?
Flexibility in working practices
In a recent study by Ricoh Europe, it was revealed that 57 percent of Irish office workers predict that an impeding 4-day work week is fast approaching, as technology advancements aid in more efficient working practices.
Technology advancements had 43 percent of those surveyed expecting that their roles will become more automated in the next 5 years.
Ricoh’s research also revealed that the majority of employees, regardless of their age group, are keen to make a greater commitment at work and increase their productivity through training and technology.
In fact, 63% of those researched stated that technology should play a central role in helping them work to the best of their abilities; that through the investment of digital technologies, employees are upskilled with the right tools and training that then results in both job satisfaction and productivity.
Flexibility in working spaces
Office take-up in Dublin, according to CRBE’s Law in EMEA Report,
“achieved a new record in 2018 of 364,050 sq m. 2018 was therefore the second consecutive year where Dublin office market achieved above-average performance…”;
while in the first three quarters of 2019 has seen a further 192,790 sq m leased – this from a multitude of sectors including consumer services & leisure, public sector, business sector, and technology companies.
So while flexible working is being noted, so too is the office market in Dublin. The need for office space is apparent, and accommodating a flexible workforce through technology advancements then becomes paramount; offering a choice in space that promotes collaboration and engagement.
But what is the correct approach for your business?
Suki Reily, Global COO, MovePlan , who have a portfolio of successfully delivered change and relocation projects that span six continents and a multitude of cultures, suggests the following:
- Define the vision and benefits for the change you would like to be making;
- assess the impact to your employees, productivity and output, as well as ROI on undertaking of this as a project; and
- determine the structure and strategy to implement this roll out.
*Image: Suki Reily, Global COO, MovePlan| Workplace Innovation Forum, Dublin, 14 November 2019
Bridging the generation gap
While the different generations have been quick to be put into different buckets, the trend is moving towards a more cohesive, more lateral thinking regardless of what generation you fall into, in terms of expectations.
“Employees are united by their desire to make an impact at work and achieve more”, says David Mills, CEO of Europe.
As bigger cities like Dublin see a boost in office space development and skilled worker influxes, older generations are reaping the benefits of a more flexible working model that even 10 years ago, wasn’t something that they were privy to. So while it may have been driven at first by the millennials and now Generation Z, there is a united front, it seems, in attitude towards giving employees autonomy of their working day.
Interestingly too, Dublin based law firms (50 percent) are only second behind London (60 percent) in their offering of some form of agile working – this according to CRBE’s Law in EMEA Report, offering benchmark analysis of the legal sector internationaly.
The traditional workplace has seen significant changes in recent years, and through technology development, deployment and adoption, what defines a traditional workplace will keep changing to current trends. For now though, the concept of more flexible working resulting in a more satisfied and engaged workforce is one that is imperative for businesses to note in terms of their performance and growth levels.
Workplace technology adoption
An area of workplace technology coming to the forefront more and more is mobile solutions; that even five years ago did not play as prominent a role in enabling flexible working, employee empowerment, organization and an enabler for booking meetings on the go.
According to MarketsandMarkets, the “Bring your own device” or BOYD for short, and the enterprise mobility market will be worth $73.3 billion by 2021; with mobile device management software having the largest market share, and expected to rise with the increase of devices used for work purposes like gaining access to secured doors, gates, networks, services and more.
In a mobile-first world, mobile access is enabling organizations to move with the times. However, security is a concern around this, and companies need to mitigate this security risk. Case in point, through the use of secure card and mobile access technology. From the 1960s unencrypted magnetic strip to the encrypted smart card of the 2000s, to the next generation credential technology we now have, with microprocessor, SIO, chip agnostics and software based technology.
Companies like Convergint Technologies, a global service-based systems integrator have also introduced Intelligent Video Analytics and Artificial Intelligence in the world of security; and in spaces like access control, public transport, parking management, traffic engineering, retail analytics, critical infrastructure, logistics and public safety, these sectors, through the use of video will see an increase in operational efficiency and safety using video and analytics systems, which have now made deployment more practical.
*Image: John Rafter, Account Manager, Convergint Technologies | Workplace Innovation Forum, Dublin, 14 November 2019
Meetings, and the frustration around booking them, organizing vendor integration and the cost of meeting no-shows is another area where advancements in workplace technology can benefit.
Globally, statistics show that 40 percent of employees waste up to 30 minutes a day looking for meeting spaces.
If you took all this inefficiency and passed this on to one employee, companies are effectively hiring one member of staff to spend 365 days a year do nothing else but looking for meeting space.
This is where mobile technology again comes into the mix, to aid flexi working and eliminate collaboration frustrations.
Vodafone used Condeco solutions to make better use of scarce office space and give employees more autonomy with mobile meeting room booking globally, find out more here.
The challenge of workplace change
Change in the workplace and enabling agile working is a process; it takes planning, consideration, preparation, understanding what pitfalls might arise, as well as challenges and outcomes to expect.
Some of these pitfalls to be aware of:
- Communication vs engagement
- Figuratively speaking different languages
- Not understanding your audience
- Disengaged leadership
- Siloed workstreams
- Ignoring resistance
The conversation around workspaces in Dublin will continue to prove an interesting one in the next year, as we see more stats released on the uptake of flexible working, technology advancements, business growth and development in the area, impacts from Brexit and environmental issues all playing a part; but with any workplace change and the challenges that we may face, “keep it super simple” says Suki Reily. The journey may change course, but with a plan in place, the end result will prove positive to enabling an engaged and productive employee pool.
*Credit to John Rafter, Account Manager, Convergint Technologies; Karen Spiller, Business Development Manager, Condeco; Jack Hulme, Partner Development Manager, Condeco; Amanda Baber, Business Development Director, Portico;Suki Reily, Global COO, MovePlan; Siobhan Byrnes, Regional Director, MovePlan; and Craig Seager, Sales Director UKMEA, Condeco for their participation in the Workplace Innovation Forum, Dublin, 14 November 2019, where directive for this article were taken from.
- Condeco,. 2019. The Modern Workplace Report: People, Places & Technology 2019 [online]. Condeco. [Viewed 05 October 2019]. Available from: https://www.condecosoftware.com/resources-hub/resource/modern-workplace-research-2019-20/
- Ricoh Europe., (2019) Workers look forward to four-day week as technology helps their productivity rise [online]. Ricoh Europe. [Viewed 10 November 2019]. Available from: https://www.ricoh-europe.com/news-events/news/workers-look-forward-to-four-day-week-as-technology-helps-their-productivity-rise.html
- RTÉ., (2019) 57% of Irish office workers believe 4-day working week is on the way [online]. RTÉ. [Viewed 10 November 2019]. Available from: https://www.rte.ie/news/business/2019/0529/1052333-4-day-working-week/
- CBRE., (2019). Law in EMEA: Space Usage and Workplace Strategies in the Legal Sector [online]. CBRE. Available from: http://cbre.vo.llnwd.net/grgservices/secure/Law%20in%20EMEA_2019_final_compressed.pdf?e=1574423403&h=8ee88f21c14391ff37500ed14198cc35>
- CBRE., (2019). Strong Q4 in Prospect for Dublin’s Office Market [online]. CBRE. Available from: https://news.cbre.ie/strong-q4-in-prospect-for-dublins-office-market/
- MarketsAndMarkets., 2019. BYOD & Enterprise Mobility Market worth 73.3 Billion USD by 2021 [online]. MarketsAndMarkets. Available from: https://www.marketsandmarkets.com/PressReleases/byod.asp