Obviously, my boss was right. The building was in the outskirts of Munich. The location and surroundings were not much glorious. The furniture was not stylish. And, the whole atmosphere inside was definitely not inspiring. Somehow, the good coffee kept us going, and alive. And, whenever I was outside the office, I realized that the office as an institution is limiting the business by all means.
Attendance meant productivity.
Those days, we did not have any other options. Employees had to use a time clock. It was for the bosses to record attendance time of his/her team members. However, nobody was asking for those guys that went for a cigarette every 30 minutes, or played table soccer, or watched the football for 1,5 hours during the World Cup. Nobody was disturbed by the ladies chatting about their latest shopping experience in the coffee kitchen. Daring was sharing was caring – but only when you enjoyed the coffee in the office.
Office space meant connectivity.
Those days, we were missing the connection to our network, our colleagues and our customers if we did not have access to the office and/or the technology and databases inside. The company network and data was secured against external access – even for employees. VPN’s were not existing. No other option but coming to the office, or join events and meetings in order to be productive from. Well, that was the managers point of view. What drove me out of the office? Connecting and networking with people. Getting fresh point of views of clients and partners. The side-effect: Often, you got better coffee at a client meeting or at events. Still, the only think I missed was the Cloud.
Networks meant working & storing.
Those days, we did not have WiFi at home, in bars and in coffee shops. A new opportunity that gives people the option to work whenever, whereever and with whoever they want, from whichever place and whatever topic. Employees can decide and work at the perfect time when they feel productive. Still, it seems to be such a challenge for management teams to implement that culture of trust in employees’ self-regulation and self-responsibility capabilities. The World Wide Web is networking. The brain is the desktop. The Cloud is the starting point of a smarter workplace – all tools available to be productive.
Just like the 5 questions of journalism, we now have the 5 W’s which define quality mobile business in the future: Whenever, Wherever, Whoever, Whichever, Whatever. The smarter workforce will make use of the new options: Change coffee location for meetings. Change co-working space for projects. Change clouds for partners.
Starbucks, San Fancisco Coffee, or any lovely day bar out there where people come together and get free WiFi have understood that they are part of the new workforce. Many cities like Albuquerque, Denver or Tel Aviv offer free WiFi in town. They cut down commuting. They cut down air pollution. They improve work-life balance.
The outlook for the smarter workforce? Different touchpoints. Different people. Different focus. Different clothes. Different habits. Some listening to music while working. Some busy on their laptops and tablets. Some engaged in Facebook. Some just dreaming and watching people passing by. All giving themselves new input, ideas and inspiration.
Just imagine what a sign like “Free Coffee, next door!” or “Free WiFi, next exit!” or “Free desktop space @ Our Place” could do for your business. The 3Cs of the smarter workforce are changing the world we live in. Self-organzation and self-resonsibility are the only two things managers need to train their employees. And that can be taught in a connected webinar at a coffee place you like most…