Coffee, Connection & Cloud: The 3Cs of the Smarter Workplace

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When I think back on the days I started working, I remember my boss saying: “Go to events or get a coffee. These are the best ways to do some networking and get your business done with or without this wonderful office space.” These words came alongside some smile in his face, winking…

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…

Happy Working!

Study: Brains can work from home

In our Lancalot Manifesto we stated the first paragraph as “The brain is the new desktop”. What we sincerely believe is that the next generation of knowledge workers won’t require a desk. Why? We think that creativity, business development, innovation and business decision will speed up when people do things and topics they like, they believe in and where they are passionate about but from places where they feel comfortable to work.

And there are more benefits for both parties in it.

When people don’t have to commute to work, they are less stressed out from daily travels, can work remotely in a quiet in a relaxed space, and don’t have the challenge to find someone to take care of the kids. Companies can scale down from expensive office space to much smaller places and create flexible working space atmosphere. Just think of the reduction of costs in furniture, technology and running expenses like electricity, and imagine that time is money when people don’t commute to work.

This new trend is reflected by a study Citrix Systems published this week which surveyed 1.900 “senior IT decision-makers” from 19 countries. The study was focussing on future trends in workspaces as well as telecommuting.

Let’s have a look at the findings…

- In 2020 almost 29% of people will work remotely: the majority from home, project sites, and customer/partner premises.
- Coffee shops, airports, and hotels will become an increasingly important working space while people travel.
- With the rise of telecommuting, the responds believe that by 2020 we will have ten office workers for 7 desks.
- In telecommuting-friendly countries like the U.S., the U.K., Singapore, or the Netherlands, it will have 10 workers for six desks. Countries that have a high value on face-time, like Germany, South Korea, and Japan will face a higher ratio. However, the trend will be changing here as well.
- By mid 2014 the percentage of companies that adopt the mobile work style will jump to 83% compared to 24% today.
- 96% of organizations that implement mobile work styles redesig their workplaces to be more collaborative and flexible.
- BYOD on the rise: 83% of companies plan to allow employees to bring their own digital devices to and from work instead of relying on desktops, and the companies cover all costs.

Obviously, there are differences from generation to generation. Growing up with wireless access and laptops, the GenY don’t see a challenge working from everywhere. The challenge would be to get them coming to the office. And for the older generation and companies? The Fukushima disaster showed companies “that they could empower their employees to work from home. They began to learn that work can be done anywhere”. Kim DeCarlis, VP Corporate Marketing, Citrix.

Telecommuting is the future, whether your company likes it or not. And in my eyes, Marissa Meyer, CEO of Yahoo, is right in her attitude that the work-life balance will play an important role in the future: “The key to sustaining loyalty in employees is making sure they get to do the things that are most important to them outside of work.” The less people have to commute to offices, the better we can organize our personal lives around our jobs. And the cloud gives us all opportunities to working remotely – from a coffee shop or from home.