From there, I went to look at the Accor Brands page to see some of the examples mentioned in the articles I have read.
My POV on this is that after several years of feeling trapped in our locations, we want to splash out for an over-sensory experience versus a feeling of scarcity.
However I have noted most of my colleagues have taken the last two weeks of holiday break in natural settings (oceans, mountains, long walks in nature) vs. rushing for over stimulus.
If we require both stimulus and excitement, as well as calm and peace, what then does this tell us about our daily work environment? Why can’t workplaces be destination locations with different characteristics that reflects that location? Or even different themes in different parts of the location that suit different generations?
In our annual quest to find and resonate on the topics that mean the most in the new year going forward, I want to talk about my two research areas for this Spring.
Organizational resilience for me is top of mind. This combines a number of factors — cyber resilience, employee motivation and commitment, resource allocation and supplier relationships, core competencies and agility to go to market. In a time when economic factors, levels of demand uncertainty and regulatory risk all put the organization on edge, how resources are allocated, supported and made agile will allow organizations to pivot more flexibly.
Technologically, we have been focusing on productivity and collaborative work this last year. My concerns are echoed by a recent paper in the MIT Sloan Management Review. The authors, Jonathan Trevor and Matthias Holweg, both at Oxford, stated that collaborative technologies do help bond hybrid and remote workplaces, but these tools and platforms still haven’t made the grade as far as replicating in-person settings. This is where I am putting my own efforts this Spring in looking at work as an experience (WaaE) and the worlplace as an experiential location.
In their paper, they claim that organizations and the technology they employ have done a good job of keeping everyone connected and in tune with what’s going on, but still can’t fully replicate the innovation seen in face-to-face workplaces. Perhaps their most significant observations are how organizations face challenges getting people together in one place at the right time, and the fact that employees in the survey “complained that work had become more transactional and operational in the hybrid environment. They missed feeling engaged and noticed a decline in the infusion of new ideas.
Being resilient as an organization is about harnessing the resources in a timely and effective manner. The ability to be innovative will hinge on how agile and supple an organization can be.
Having the right place to work to be agile and innovative will be critical. A part of this MIT survey looked at real estate usage. According to their study, ” The top planned changes cited by our sample are additional social areas (80%), creativity spaces (75%), meeting rooms (74%), shared offices (74%), and hot-desking (71%). Corner offices are on their way out.”
Which leads me to the second critical area I am examining this Spring.
Workplace analytics combines occupancy analytics, visitor management systems and more traditional facilities management tools in examining usage. This is normally used by facilities managers, corporate real estate teams and the C suite to understand spending and costs.
But what we really want to examine is utility, in other words, how the workplace served its function in supporting work.
Key question I will be asking: How does the infrastructure support the work activity? Can we take a pulse on a regular basis to see what contribution technology in the workplace makes in making work happen productively and with purpose?
This report suggests that the last six months or so have been relatively static regarding those coming in and those remaining remote. But what is interesting is the shift between individual offices and the collaboration spaces that were once connected to them, both of which declined, whereas general meeting spaces and casual social spaces doubled and quadrupled.
People are looking to engage with other people if they make the commute into the office. Where does technology play a role here and can we make the workplace a destination and an experience?
Assuming you are not commuting during the holiday period, I wish you a wonderful season and a happy new year. May 2023 be productive, full of good health and wonderful innovation!
Innovation in space usage is driven not only by use case demands, but availability. And we can see that availability is increasing. The general increase in space offered for sublease amid the pandemic is to be expected as companies needed less room with workers being home-based. So we are talking about the reuse of existing built spaces.
Reuse of vacant office space could also give a new lease on life to the neighourhood while supporting the local economy, and enable people to stay close to their choice of living space—all the while helping preserve the social and cultural heritage of a region. We are seeing a mix of health, education, entertainment, leisure, arts and crafts and green spaces. Some old shops could become housing in a mixed use environment.
One of the more interesting leisure examples I have seen recently is an active entertainment area, including an indoor go karting centre, in a former South West London shopping centre in Wandsworth.
Startups that repurpose unused space have seen a surge in usership. Innovative startup companies look to make use of empty offices while employees continue to work elsewhere, including working from home during the ongoing pandemic. The pandemic-oriented trend, driven by businesses downsizing and relocating, is expected to push vacancy rates up in cities, and with incentives also on the rise, this will ultimately put pressure on values.
Some high street retailers are trying to divest some of the retail space as online shopping causes less footfall. Up to 45 percent of of John Lewis’s flagship store on London’s Oxford Street had gotten permisssion in October 2020 from the local council for reuse as office space as the company tries to stem its coronavirus losses and return to profit. Timing on that might not have been so terrific…. But according to a recent BBC article, the UK has lost 83% of its main department stores in the five years since the collapse of the BHS chain. The figure highlights the extent of the upheaval in the High Street as the Covid pandemic sped up changes in shopping habits.
So how can this value be realized in an alternative way? After all, The Refinery, a luxury hotel in NYC, used to be a Garment District millinery and the Tate Modern in London was once the Bankside Power Station… This is not a new concept, but new use cases.
So let’s focus on new use cases. Some new innovation examples come out of our need to exercise and to store, all limitations of our home spaces:
Silofit was stared two years ago to repurpose small office spaces by turning them into “micro-gyms” that can be rented by the hour.
US peer-to-peer storage marketplace Neighbor lets individuals and businesses rent out their unused space for storage purposes—something like the “Airbnb for storage.”
Pandemic oriented use cases come from a need to get closer to the customer for fulfillment. Ghost kitchens and other food companies using unused commercial space as distribution centers, so produce can be closer to its final destination.
We are also seeing folks creating communities and cohorts to get closer to each other (within social distancing and reason) when larger resources are not available. For example, New York-based edtech startup SchoolHouse uses commercial space for some of its “microschools.”
Community building as a use case is also on the rise. Beside education, health care and wellness have led some interesting use cases. This is a good article on reuse and healthcare, albeit from a US perspective.
So what CAN’T we do at home that requires a physical location that can absorb the available office spaces? Creative labs and maker studios come to mind, especially combined with distance learning.
What is the commonality of these new use cases? And how will this concept grow?
As we go back to the office, the process of not only being there but being productive there needs to change. In order to engage the employee, the supplier or the customer to come into the corporate or region office, they have to be able to successfully do their business when and how they are comfortable with doing it.
Taking a holistic approach to building the tech stack, smart orchestration should be a core component of the digital infrastructure that underpins the built environment, as a means to utilise a richer data set around space and building usage that allows us to work smarter and more comfortably.
Some already call a portion of this workplace experience management. But in order to manage the experience, there has to be an orchestration of workflows that go with that experience set. How the different experience management tools harmonise together to create the necessary processes for productive work.
When we come to an office, we want to know:
Availability of people and resources. This involves open scheduling, collaborative tools and change management resources.
Status of physical areas and their hygiene. This includes digital signage, capacity data being communicated, and personal preferences to heat, light and air quality.
Capacity of environments in terms of usage. Can I come in? Can others still join?
Procedures and protocols for visitors, suppliers, procurement of goods and services, etc.
Changing regulations about how we engage with the environment, including cyber security protocols.
Role of sensors and edge computing in orchestration
The underlying aspect of knowledge is data, and we have to be able to gather the necessary data to create the knowledge and communicate it to the right stakeholders in a timely fashion. The tech stack on which decision making sits is made of both internet of things (IoT) and operational (enterprise quality) technology.
Both for IoT and operational technology (OT), the common characteristics of these technologies is that they are based on decentralized architectures and they use edge computing. There is an explosion of sensors, devices and compute at the edge, and that is bringing in new types of artificial intelligence (AI) usages at the edge for real-time analytics that enable decision making.
Orchestration is harmonized with other key factors in workplace design as visibility, light penetration and communication potential; we should examine workplace tools, data analytics, sensor technology, and smart algorithms will impact how we design and what we design, to help shape the workplaces of tomorrow.
In a week full of stress and uncertainty, one thing is certain. We require new infrastructures to support the heavy load of all online all the time. And one thing I have learned from this week is that most video concall platforms are not scaling very well. They all meant well in offering free trials for 90 days and so on to take advantage of the online need, but cracks are showing in most platforms in terms of peak periods and performance.
Except for Zoom, I understand. Where Skype, WebEx, Google Hangouts, MS Teams are occasionally overburdened, most folks using Zoom have not had the same experience. In fact, many are turning to Zoom as the platform of choice for real life experience in the age of social distancing. Education in the form of classes (academic and practical) are springing up all over the Web.
There is a great opportunity here, assuming Zoom continues to scale, to base business models on the Zoom as a Platform (ZaaP). Let’s call it being ZaaP’d. Will Zoom become the next Facebook as the must have app to reaching and communicating with customers?
In reading an article on energy efficiency, I was interested in the discussion on vehicle to vehicle networks (V2V). These are defined as ad hoc information exchanges between vehicles for a variety of information on blind spots, traffic, etc.
Given the US policy makers are looking to mandate this from 2017 according to the Wikipedia article linked above, my question would be the ability for a vehicle to opt out of the network. This can be for a variety of privacy reasons, and some of them might be a question of ownership and safety for the owner, and some reasons might be less honest as to a get away car or other non-legal issues (not properly taxed or licensed, etc). For example, in the US the driver is insured, and in Belgium the vehicle is insured. Will the status of insurance or ownership impact the information provided?
But are we talking about adding intelligence to our networks, our objects, or our infrastructure? In Belgium, like other countries, we already get free infrastructure traffic flow information both in terms of signage and free reports on radio and internet as to the status of the network. It is also dispensed over social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc).
I am curious to the development of V2V (or VANET) given its choice of bandwidth and its regulation/implementation. Will this only end up being a national occurrence, or something that evolves per country in a different manner? Adding intelligence into the mix is good, if managed well and if it adds value.
Those pundits at Gartner are trying to coin a new phrase (like they did with portals) and have starting discussing the term “digital risk officer” (DRO). They state that the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) now will develop a different profile to the DRO, as the CISO will focus on enterprise network security and compliance, while the DRO will oversee the CISO and focus efforts on the risks from digital innovation.
In a word, bullcookies.
The real issue is the evolution in the business model from IT being structurally a separate function to technology being the underpinnings of the whole business. The risk from any activity these days has digital components to it, and the additional endpoints that internet-enabled objects (IoT) bring to the firm is the same risk that humans that have internet ability bring, as all of them can be hacked or compromised. So you have many more endpoints to protect — this is not new. But the depth and breadth of what is in the operational frame of control is the question.
The COO needs to assess operational risk, both structurally and in terms of perimeter security. Risk is both strategic and operational, so digital risk is a vague term as it covers both strategic direction (loss of intellectual property) and operational effectiveness (security breaches, etc). From a public company perspective, the question is who is liable for the risk if not addressed?
Security needs to be baked into process, procedure and infrastructure so that all digital assets are securable. THAT is the message that needs to come out, not new titles and hierarchical job functions. #justmytwocents
For many more years than I would like to admit, I have been a technology market analyst. I never covered the commodity products (PC, phones, printers) but that more complex infrastructural issues (mainframes, storage, middleware).
My problem with this right now is that I feel I belong in a parallel universe to my industry colleagues. Social, collaborative and mobile business has driven all of them into the world of SXSW, Uber, WhatsApp, etc. But the next hot thing, whatever it is, is still about customer experience and retention. And guess what? Cannot do that without the decent infrastructure. But plumbing only appears sexy to other plumbers, and even those plumbers are having less and less knowledge about what is under the hood. You cannot run an app if the infrastructure to do so isn’t working properly, or protecting your data and privacy, or giving you a decent signal strength. Less and less people seem to care about infrastructure and outsource it, which can also be seen on national highways, domestic roads and other utilities. Cheap and not so cheerful? I want to make the fundamentals better, and I appear to be in limited company with the quest. Sigh.
For me, technology is more than an enabler, it is a critical element of the business process. When I see other firms predicting trends for the next year, I have to wade into the fray with my own thoughts on the matter. Hashtags are integrated in for Twitter usage…. 🙂
#Predictions for 2014 P1: It’s not about the size of the data, but what it looks like during analysis. #datavisualization
Data gets bigger and bigger, but you have to see the forest for the trees to react in a timely and efficient way. Visualization tools will be one of the hotter properties in 2014.
#Predictions for 2014 P2: For business models being disrupted, it will be about the risk, not the reward. #riskybusiness
A number of industries are undergoing fundamental transformations, including journalism, tourism, retail and energy. Business model shifts involve a great deal of risk, and the rewards are not so easily apparent. How you handle the risk says a great deal about the firm’s strategy and manageability.
#Predictions for 2014 P3: Network infrastructural capacity will be a limitation businesses will creatively work around. #maxheadroom
Case in point: The downtime yesterday (23 Dec) of the Belgian payment network. Some creative retailers quickly offered alternatives to pay (invoice for later bank transfer, registering the transaction locally and transferring data once online systems were restored, etc.) to not lose the business this close to the holiday. Many infrastructural systems are near capacity, or quite fragile when stretched. Creative workarounds may soon be come the norm.
#Predictions for 2014 P4: Data ingestion or data indigestion? Rate of data consumption critical for reflection& analysis #bigdata #eatwell
If you cannot properly consume, you may not see the trends quickly enough to react.
Hope these insights give you a taste of what I am working on for 2014 — happy holidays!